World Heritage Day passed by on April 18 and I realized it only today (Thanks to UDC for the heads up)! Brings back into focus some hotly debated questions: What is heritage? What is history? History versus development? Questions that are too big to answer maybe, but need to be asked now nonetheless. What makes a house a home? Use and age. Faded paint and some stain on the wall, tastefully (and not-so-tastefully) arranged clutter maybe? And people too! (Home is where the heart is, no?) I guess that is why I love old cities. They have a sense of ‘place’ about them. A sense of having been lived in and been witness to events big and small. People, yes! Clutter? Yes! And a lot of it too! All of it adding to a heightened sense of being. Sometimes, history is considered to be only for looking at – a manicured masterpiece in a landscape. Looking is over-rated. It is also about touching, feeling, learning. It is about living. The old and the new changing and improving each other.
What do you think? Pictured here is the Hindu temple town of Srirangam, located in Tamil Nadu, India. Conceived as a city with 7 concentric enclosures and 21 gopurams (temple towers), Srirangam today is a major pilgrimage destination.