The 157-year-old Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) finally got a dedicated and state-of-the-art headquarters in Delhi on Thursday. After surviving in a makeshift facility in the premises of the National Museum, Janpath, for almost 60 years, its brand new building at Tilak Marg was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi in the presence of Union Culture Minister, Mahesh Sharma.
The 1.32 lakh sq.ft.-large and four-storeyed building stands next to the erstwhile Belgian Embassy office and has been designed by HUDCO to reflect the colonial architecture of Lutyens Delhi. Its pillars and arches mirror the structural design of the Belgian Embassy.
Jubilant officers of ASI said the building houses all the departments of the agency — from conservation, planning and antiquity to exploration and excavation. It is also studded with photographs of monuments from across India, under the protection of ASI, such as the Sanchi Stupa, Khajuraho temples and Shravanabelagola of Karnataka.
Spokesperson, D N Dimri, said, We are most happy that our library is now more accessible to us. Earlier, it was located in a different building and our students found it difficult to visit it. PM Modi also had some important advice for ASI during his inaugural speech on Thursday.
The ASI must re-look into all its discoveries and findings in the light of new technological innovations that are coming up every day. As science progressed, so did space technology and the same has vanquished many unscientific historical theories, he opined.
For example, many believed that River Saraswati never existed and it was a figment of somebodys mind. Then space technology showed the course of the river and proved that theory wrong. Many historians also said that Aryans came from outside India. Space technology has changed the changed the discourse on many historical subjects, the PM said.
Union Minister for Culture, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, applauded the efforts of ASI which is now taking care of about 3686 monuments in India and said it is now delivering conservation services in countries like Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Cambodia as well.