In brief: Ancient monuments in India
What is Ancient monument?
- Ancient Monument means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years.
- It includes
- Remains of an ancient monument
- Site of an ancient monument
- Such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument
- The means of access to, and convenient inspection of, an ancient monument
Protecting Ancient Monuments
- Ancient monuments in India are protected by Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
- The Archeological Survey of India is the body entrusted with the responsibility of declaring and protecting ancient monuments in the country.
- Currently, there are 3693 protected ancient monuments in India.
- The states with highest number of ancient monuments include UP (745), Karnataka (506) and TN (413)
- In December 2018, ASI declared the following 6 new sites as monuments of national importance
- Old High Court Building – Nagpur
- Haveli of Agha Khan – Agra
- Hathi Khana – Agra
- Neemrana Baori – Rajasthan’s Alwar district
- Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail – Odisha’s Bolangir district
- Vishnu Temple – Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand
In brief: Archaeological Survey of India
- The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an attached office under Ministry of Culture.
- It is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of cultural heritage of India.
- The Archaeological Survey of India was established as a distinct department in 1871.
- Alexander Cunningham was the first Director General of ASI.
Functions of ASI
- Conducting archaeological explorations and excavations
- Maintenance, conservation and protection of ancient monuments, archaeological sites and their remains
- Implementation of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972
- Epigraphical and numismatic (coins) studies
- Training in Archaeology