J&K is getting a huge makeover in the wake of the upcoming G20 tourism meet in Srinagar later this month. The three-day event to be held between May 22 and 24, will put J&K on a global map as foreign delegates explore the picturesque valley and witness the transformations that underwent since August 2019. As J&K gets decked up for G20 meeting, the iconic Clock Tower in Srinagar's Lal Chowk is getting a facelift.
G20 Tourism Meet in Srinagar may be the first international event of such scale in a long time, the "Ghanta Ghar" facelift has become a crucial topic of discussion, and not for the right reasons.
Many WhatsApp forwards and posts on social media are claiming that the Lal Chowk Clock Tower's facelift doesn't leave any place for the Indian national flag atop. It is also alleged that the iconic structure is being converted into an Islamic symbol and that it is the work of "secular authorities" working under the noses of central and state administrations.
Drawing resemblance to Jama Masjid, it is being said that the new Ghanta Ghar takes away the patriotic element and its pluralistic ethos.
International Business Times, India reviewed the viral claims on social media platforms and investigated further to uncover the new design ethos. Through our investigations, it becomes clear that the old Ghanta Ghar isn't being dilapidated and restored to fit some Islamist agenda. In fact, the redesign is thoughtfully executed to commemorate Kashmiri architecture and more.
The restoration of Clock Tower is designed by Oasis Designs, which was also responsible for the designing of the Sabarmati Riverfront. The architects have used traditional Kashmir architecture of brickwork and roofing on the pattern of the traditional Buddhist Pagoda style, which is inducted into many temples and Sufi shrines. The facelift is one of the most prominent symbols of inclusive and composite architectural traditions, exclusive to the unique architecture of Kashmir.
The spire etc. is a creative synthesis and a material testament to the spiritual dynamics in Kashmir, which peacefully fuses the traditions of Kashmiri Shaivism, Mahayana Buddhism, Sufi Islam. The multi-tiered pyramidal roof topped by a spire is a symbol of the past Buddhist Pagoda architecture and Shaivite architectural skyline of Kashmir, which continued through Sufi tradition in Kashmir as are the various motifs like trefoil gables, multi-tiered roofs, etc, incorporated into the building elements of the clock tower. This celebrates the history and continuity of architectural heritage and celebrates the Buddhist, Shaivite as well as Sufi cultures together.
Addressing the major concern that the redesigned Clock Tower has no place for the national flag on top, IBTimes obtained the drawing for the new Clock Tower and found a clear and prominent place for the national flat on top of the structure. The structure will have a high mast with tricolor permanently placed. Additionally, the illumination has been designed in such a way that the grandeur of our tricolor fills the iconic Lal Chowk.
After reviewing the facts, it becomes clear that the Ghanta Ghar or Clock Tower facelift not only has a permanent place for the tricolour on top, it is also being redesigned keeping the Kashmiri culture and other traditional facts in mind.