The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Culture, was established in the year 1861 is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation. Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI. Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country is divided into 24 Circles. The organization has a large work force of trained archaeologists, conservators, epigraphist, architects and scientists for conducting archaeological research projects through its Circles, Museums, Excavation Branches, Prehistory Branch, Epigraphy Branches, Science Branch, Horticulture Branch, Building Survey Project, Temple Survey Projects and Underwater Archaeology Wing.
A BRIEF NOTE ON JAIPUR CIRCLE
Rajasthan (Lat.24°30’-30°12’ N.; Long. 69°15’-76°45’E.), erstwhile Rajputana, popularly known as the land of princes, fort and palaces; is the largest state of India. It is bounded on the north and north-east by Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh; south-west by Gujarat; south-east by the Madhya Pradesh and north-west by Pakistan. The state of Rajasthan as it stands today comprises thirty three district covering an approximately 3, 42,239 sq.km. area with part of Thar Desert (Marusthal) and uneven topographical features. It has its own identity in terms of mythology, spiritualism and geographical set-up, traditionally known as Marusthal (eastern part of Thar Desert) comprising nearly sixty percent of the total area is arid or semi-arid consisting mainly sand and sand-dunes. Mewar has series of hills, elevated plateau, and central track of fertile plains and rivers which helped in shaping the history of the region.
In 1985, the Jaipur circle was created after the bifurcation of already existing two circles i.e. Delhi and Vadodara for the better preservation, conservation and maintenance of the 152 nationally protected monuments of Rajasthan. After that, 9 more monuments have been declared to be of national importance. At present, the Circle is looking after the maintenance and conservation of 161 monuments/sites. These monuments and archaeological remains of diverse nature are located in the region since prehistoric times to the present and are scattered from Dholpur in the east to Jaisalmer in the west and Ganganagar in the north to Banswara in the south of Rajasthan.
Jaipur is the head quarter of the Circle headed by the Superintending Archaeologist. For proper administrative control and distribution of work, the jurisdiction of Jaipur Circle is divided into nine sub circles –
The Sub-Circles are headed by Conservation Assistants. There are total 03 nos. of ticketed monuments i.e. Ranthambhore Fort, Kumbhalgarh Fort and Dig Palace under the jurisdiction of Jaipur Circle.
These monuments of Rajasthan could be broadly classified as protohistoric and early historic sites, i.e. remains of Brahmanical and Jain temples, Buddhist caves and idols, mosques, tombs and idgah, chhatris, forts, palaces, havelis, sarai, towers and minars, tanks, bunds, ghats and baoris (steped-wells), gardens, pavilions and torans, colossal images, monoliths, pillars, inscriptions, paintings and battle-fields. Jaipur circle of Archaeological Survey of India is making best possible efforts for regular conservation and preservation of various centrally protected monuments in the state as per the archaeological norms by their own professionals under the supervision of Superintending Archaeologist of the circle. The conservation challenges in the region are manifold owing to its diverse geographical and respective ecological conditions. The region experience very low to scanty rainfall and Jaisalmer is the hottest place of the country, which itself is a major factor for cause of decay and damaged to the historical monuments and sites. Besides, sand bearing winds with high speed hitting the stone surface of the monuments, fluctuation in day and night temperature are also the factors responsible for damaged to the monuments and sites.
The measuring taken is mainly structural conservation. Resetting of the bulged out members, scientific clearance of debris for exposing the buried parts of the ancient structures, restoration of damaged ancient enclosure and fortification walls, lime punning, restoration of damaged and missing stone jalis, fountains and chhajja stone, underpinning, pointing and water tightening of the masonry of the bastions and fortification walls, beside, correcting the original position of the tilted structure with the help of jacks. To safeguard the sites from the encroachments, dwarf wall with MS railing were provided at some of the monuments. The works related to laying of approach pathway including levelling and dressing within the premises of the monuments, display of sculptures/architectural member on pedestals, construction of sculpture shed, store-cum-inspection rooms have also been attendant to a number of monuments and sites recently.
The Circle has carried out major conservation works at Kumbhalgarh, Bhatner fort, Jaisaler fort, Chittaur fort, Group of temple at Arthuna, Mandore fort, Ranthambhor fort, Deeg Palace, Kama, Bhangarh, Bayana etc. ASI has also taken up initiative in providing approached pathway including levelling and dressing around the monuments, display of sculptures/ architectural member on pedestals, construction of sculpture shed, store-cum-inspection rooms near the sites, etc.
The basic public facilities like drinking water, toilets, bi-lingual notification tablets, bi-lingual cultural notice boards in matching sand stones, stone benches, dustbins, wheel chairs, suggestions box, slogans boards, direction boards and guide maps are provided at frequently visited monuments/sites of the Circle.