From Lucknow’s historic Residency, a place of key events during the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, to Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace in Porbander, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is gearing up to hoist the national flag at the sites of 150 of its monuments on Independence Day, officials said on Saturday. Besides, logistical work is also being done for the illumination of 150 monuments in a tricolour theme, which is expected to start in a few days.
“Our national flag would be hoisted at ASI sites spanning the length and breadth of the country in the true spirit of India’s diversity and the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. They will be hoisted at Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort in our Agra Circle. In Delhi, the tricolour will flutter high at the ruins of Kotla Feroz Shah and Purana Qila,” a senior official told PTI. Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is not in the list of monument sites where the national flag would be hoisted on August 15, he said.
The main Independence Day celebrations takes places annually at Red Fort where the Prime Minister hoists the national flag on the ramparts of the Mughal-era monument. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, besides Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, in Delhi. The national flag will be hoisted at 150 heritage sites across India on Independence Day to mark the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, an ASI official had said on Thursday.
Freedom fighters and Padma awardees will attend the programmes and flag hoisting ceremony, it had said. The central government has launched a ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign under which people are being encouraged to hoist the tricolour at their houses as part of the 75 years of India’s Independence. Among other sites where the tricolour would be hoisted include British-era Residency in Lucknow, Faizabad’s Gulab Bari, Fort Vellore (Chennai Circle), Warangal Fort (Hyderabad Circle) and Fort, Chitradurga (Bangalore Circle), the official said.
“Our national flag would also be hoisted at Gandhiji’s birthplace in Gujarat’s Porbander, Akhnoor Fort, Ramnagar Palace, iconic Thiksay Monastery in Leh, Ajanta Ellora Caves site, Harappan-era Dholavira site, and several other monuments,” the official added. The flags at these 150 sites would stay there beyond August 15, though it has not been immediately decided if they will become a permanent fixture, officials said.
Other sites include Daulatabad, Shergarh, Bhangarh, Jaisalmer Fort, Daman Fort, Diu Fort and Pavagarh. On the illumination of 150 monuments, the official said, trials are underway at newer sites. Hundred monuments were lit up when India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme had crossed the 100-crore milestone of doses being administered, and that experience has come handy, as we know already the exact pattern we require in consonance with the architectural glory of the monument, the official added. For UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there area guidelines which are followed, sources said.
There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the ASI. Also, as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the Union culture ministry had announced free entry for visitors, domestic and foreign, to all ASI-protected monuments and sites across the country from August 5 to 15.
Besides, flag hoisting and illumination, 37 circles of ASI will conduct different programmes such as tree plantation drives, school ‘samvaads’, lectures, and raising awareness among school children, as part of the celebrations.