Tangible Heritage

A step-well in Iran

his is a major and expensive part of the Parzor Project. The work on preservation of Tangible Heritage & Heritage sites will require interaction with technical advisors archaeologists and local custodians of the sites. Under Tangible Heritage protection two types of activities are envisaged. The first is protection of sites, objects and historical monuments. The second is the restoration and preservation of photographs and other visual material of heritage value.Development of some Heritage sites as places of tourist interest could fulfil the needs of preservation as well as maintenance on a long-term basis. Infrastructure for such promotion will need Government assistance, tax exemption and policy planning. A good example to follow has been the restoration and preservation, which has been done for Havelis in Rajasthan which are now under the Heritage Hotel Scheme.

The ultimate aim of the Heritage Project would be to create a museum on the Parsi Zoroastrians, which would be of international standards and evoke international interest and response.

 

Unused Tower of Silence -Dhakma at Diu – Courtsey ASI

This is a major and expensive part of the Parzor Project. The work on preservation of Tangible Heritage & Heritage sites will require interaction with technical advisors archaeologists and local custodians of the sites. Under Tangible Heritage protection two types of activities are envisaged. The first is protection of sites, objects and historical monuments. The second is the restoration and preservation of photographs and other visual material of heritage value.Development of some Heritage sites as places of tourist interest could fulfill the needs of preservation as well as maintenance on a long-term basis. Infrastructure for such promotion will need Government assistance, tax exemption and policy planning. A good example to follow has been the restoration and preservation, which has been done for Havelis in Rajasthan which are now under the Heritage Hotel Scheme.

The ultimate aim of the Heritage Project would be to create a museum on the Parsi Zoroastrians, which would be of international standards and evoke international interest and response.

 

Unused Fire Temple at Diu – Courtsey ASI

The Heritage Sites Project has an international dimension, as many of the original sites are located in Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia along the Silk Route. Contact has been established with local research bodies and community members as well as governments in some of the countries.A very important discovery in the field of tangible heritage was the ancient water harvesting system, the Tanka. At Bharuch the Project stumbled upon the Tanka system of water harvesting which is still functional in a few houses. The Parzor Project requested Mr. Rohinton Jambusarwala, an expert practitioner of the correct methodology of this type of ancient water harvesting, to share his knowledge with the NGO Development Alternatives. Their report of the purity of this water, which meets WHO standards, makes interesting reading. The late Mr. Anil Agarwal of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had discussed the need to explore this system further, for while many systems of water harvesting provide storage water, this particular system provides pure drinking water. The purity is as high as that of bottled mineral water. This type of Tanka may owe its origin to ancient Persian systems of water management and further studies need to be carried out before a complete picture and understanding can emerge.The Parzor project has started creating awareness about the importance of protecting this important tangible heritage of the Parsi Zoroastrians. Interest in researching the Tankas in greater detail and their potential use in a water-starved world has been the focus of discussion with various researchers and organizations.
 
Prof. Kavas Kapadia, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, identified the need to explore the linkages between water harvesting of the Tanka System of Bharuch and the water systems of Yazd and Kerman.
 
Click here to read details about “Water harvesting: The Tanka in the Zoroastrian homes of Bharuch, India.” The presentation given by Prof. Kavas Kapadia at the Third World Water Forum at Kyoto, Japan. A during the Pre-Forum Colloquium on Water and Cultural Diversity on Saturday, 15th March, 2003.

 

The Tanka System. Farida Jambusarwala at Gulshan Tanka Bharuch: Pipes lead form all parts of the roof to the first Boiya a copper colander, which is covered with layers of white muslin cloth when water is collected.
Tankas are carefully planned to prevent any type of contamination.

Another success story in the protection of tangible heritage is that of Begum Vadi in Bharuch. The Vakharia family was motivated by the Project to protect the invaluable heritage site of Begum Vadi.Anquetil Du Perron, the young Frenchman who had many adventures during his quest for Zoroastrian knowledge, lived for many years in Surat. His house in Surat has been located, visited by the team and photographed. This has been of interest to scholars since Perron was the first European to study and translate The Avesta.

At the Meherjirana Library in Gujarat, Tangible Heritage has been protected in that the building has been painted and repaired.

Certain tangible heritage items such as medals, clothes such as Ijars and Jhabalas, photographs and books have been donated to the Project.

The multi cultural history of India is intermingled with the history of Bharuch, one of the oldest cities in the world. The Zoroastrian Bharucha Agyari dates to 1255 AD. The Project has discovered Dutch tombs dating 1664 and Irish and Portuguese presence in this city. A history of Bharuch needs to be written from this multi cultural point of view.

The architecture of the Parsi Vad of Navsari has been identified, as needing preservation. The Navsari Parsi Vad is also the birthplace of Dadabhoy Naoroji, Jamshetji Tata and Sir Jamshetji Jeejeebhoy. The protection of the Parsi Vad can be linked with the protection of these homes.

One of the long-term aims of the project is to start work on the development of the Diu Fire Temple and Dakhma, which have been handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Since they are now unconsecrated, they can both provide a major focus of interest regarding the community among fellow Indians and foreign tourists.

At such Heritage sites, traditional Zoroastrian arts, crafts, food items, published material about the community can be made available to stimulate interest and generate income. This may even help revive certain arts and crafts, which are in danger of extinction.

Parzor has received an offer of help from Prof. B. M. Pandey of the Archaeological Department, who has worked on Parsi Monuments in Diu. The ASI is in charge of a de-consecrated Fire Temple and two Towers of Silence. With ASI support and the expertise of Prof. Pandey and Prof. Kapadia, the next module will explore possibilities of taking up the ambitious task of restoration of these historical sites, which are at present in a state of decay. We would like to find partners who can support this work and help develop it into a tourist attraction.

In digital restoration Indiapicture and E-soft Visual have done some examples of digital restoration and this will need to be followed up once we can raise the funds. The restoration of photographic material is a specialized task and expensive but necessary considering the valuable visual material that is being donated to the project.