A Captivating View Of Heritage

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   (2012-07-11 00:00:00)

NEW DELHI:As a melting pot of many cultures, the country offers a wide range of architectural designs, each reflecting an era and a civilisation associated with it. While some Islamic monuments such as the Taj Mahal stand out on the popularity meter across the globe, the canvas is both large and largely unexplored, according to film-maker, art historian and photographer Benoy K. Behl.

An exhibition of Mr. Behl’s photographs titled “Islamic Monuments of India” was inaugurated by Union Culture Minister Kumari Selja at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here on Tuesday.

The exhibition, a part of Mr. Behl’s project of the photography of the Islamic heritage monuments of the world covering 42 countries, features mosques, tombs, madrassas, palaces and fortresses – each having a history that resonates with local architectural talent which was inspired by designs from far off lands such as Iran, Arabia and Central Asia.

The exhibition provides a glimpse of what the organisers describe as “…a vast, rich and varied heritage of Islamic architecture”. The photographs reflect not only the impact that the Islamic empire had since the 12th Century onwards but also the links that the major dynasties had with other countries.

While most major monuments from the Mughal era – the crème de la crème of Islamic empire and architecture – feature in the exhibition, this offers variety in the form of mosques and dargahs of places as far and wide as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kashmir and other parts of India. Some monuments from the Southern parts of the country exhibit the confluence of cultures which took place here.

The iconic Taj Mahal at Agra, the Humayun's Tomb built in the 16 Century, the Bidar Fort in Karnataka and the Jama Masjid, Junagarh, on the foothills of the Girnar Hills in Gujarat are among the many monuments being showcased at the exhibition.

Mr. Behl has travelled extensively within and outside the country and taken over 35,000 photographs of Asian monuments and art heritage. He has also made documentaries on art history. His work has been well received in 28 countries across the globe.