German Embassy signs MoU with INTACH to restore historic Oont Kadal
SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 01: Deputy Ambassador, Dr Jasper Wieck, and Cultural officer, Federal Republic of Germany Thomas Schmidt today signed an agreement with Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) at Shalimar Garden Srinagar for restoration of OontKadal in Dal lake. Commissioner Secretary Culture Saleem Shishgar, convener J&K chapter INTACH Saleem Beigh, ex-VC LAWWDA Irfan Yaseen and other members of INTACH and other officials were present on the occasion. The Deputy Ambassador said that restoration of Oont Kadal, a stone masonry bridge built in Dal Lake in 1670s during Mughal era, will bring focus on the significance of the Dal Lake as part of the global cultural and natural heritage. Highlighting the importance and need for restoring the structure, Jasper Wieck said that a large number of tourists take a boat trip for taking pictures at Oont Kadal as reminds them of part of the famed Mughal landscape of the historic gardens and the Dal lake. He added that the structure lies in the midst of the Dal lake as an isolated feature adds to its charm. Considering the historic and contextual value of the Oont Kadal, an elaborate conservation plan prepared by INTACH was send to German Embassy, New Delhi for its restoration. After INTACH’s request for considering funding for restoration of Oont Kadal, Political Minister Counselor, Embassy of FRG in India, Arno Kirchhop, visited Srinagar for on spot inspection of the feasibility and potential of proposed project. On the occasion Convener J&K INTACH said that in 2010, the Nishat Garden, along with six other Mughal Gardens was placed on the UNESCO’s Tentative List of World Heritage Sites and as such the Kadal is considered as an integral visual component of the Nishat Garden and is delineated as part of the potential World heritage property of Nishat Bagh and as such part of the outstanding Universal associated with Nishat Bagh. He said that INTACH has been working with Cultural Division of the Embassy of Germany in New Delhi for the last few years, during which the Embassy has provided financial support for restoration of Paper Mache Ceilings at the black Pavilion of the Mughal Garden Shalimar Bagh in 2015. Based on the high degree of professionalism displayed by INTACH, Kashmir chapter in implementing the project, the German Embassy, New Delhi, desired that further proposals for funding by the Embassy in India for restoration of other significant cultural properties could be considered by them. They also inspect the sight of restoration of Paper Mache Ceiling at the black Pavilion of the Shalimar Garden. Convener J&K briefed the team about the work done by INTACH. Later they visited the Oont Kadal in Dal Lake.