Monuments dwarfed by encroachments


By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, April 20 |
Alhough Agra could not celebrate World Heritage Day on April 18 due to the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, conservationists and green activists have once again highlighted the failure of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to free the string of monuments in the city of encroachments that were seen as a major threat to the health and safety of these precious properties.

“The increasing visual pollution was another cause of concern,” warned environmentalist Devashish Bhattacharya, adding that high-rise buildings coming up in all parts have gravely distorted the original ambience around several structures.

With three world heritage monuments and half a dozen other historical structures, Agra continues to remain India’s number one tourist centre, drawing more than seven million visitors annually (before the pandemic).

The local bodies however failed to restrict illegal constructions around these buildings, thus compromising the architectural integrity of the city, Bhattacharya added.

Almost all Mughal monuments here have now been dwarfed by encroachments. While restricting space and cluttering up and thus destroying the beauty of the historical buildings, these encroachments now have reached such levels of proliferation that the very survival of some monuments is at stake, said Shravan Kumar Singh of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.

The Taj Mahal, surrounded by mohallas of the Taj Ganj locality, has been able to breathe easily because of the Supreme Court judgments seeking its conservation; international concern for its safety has also aided the cause of the preservation of the heritage monument.

Lesser monuments, however, have not experienced such luck.

The Delhi Gate, close to the Raja Mandi station, finds itself threatened by new constructions, mostly private nursing homes and garages that were not there before.

Mughal emperor Akbar’s deserted capital, the Fatehpur Sikri complex, continues to be threatened by the illegal activities of the mining mafia, which has been carrying on operations without fear, even though the Supreme Court has given a categorical directive to district authorities to stop mining in the area.

The pre-historic caves with paintings in the vicinity are under threat. If the Union Culture Ministry did not act fast, these could be lost to posterity, said Bhattacharya, who is leading a one-man crusade to protect these valuable assets.

The ASI has been regularly writing the district authorities to draw attention to the flagrant violation of the 1958 Ancient Monuments Act, but there has never been any positive response.

The ASI has circulated a list of about 50 monuments in Agra that come under the purview of the Monuments Protection Act. The Agra Development Authority (ADA) is responsible for ensuring there were no new constructions around these buildings.

ADA authorities, however, privately confess that demolition of all illegal structures was beyond their capacity. Political pressures would prevent any major offensive against encroachers.

The city of the Taj has numerous monuments which come under the protected list. Over the years, because of governmental indifference and corrupt practices, no action has been taken against people who built houses and places of worship around these monuments.

The Roman Catholic cemetery near the Civil Court is now surrounded by a movie hall, a petrol pump and a shopping complex.

Other historical buildings or remnants like Jodhabai’s Chatri, Jaswant Singh ki Chatri, Chini ka Roza, Humayun’s mosque, Mariam’s tomb, Babar’s Ram Bagh, Barahkhambha, and scores of other valuable architectural pieces are under threat, as encroachments creep up on every inch of space.

Some of the dilapidated landmarks are being used as cowsheds, or as havens for anti-social elements.

The Yamuna floodplains that nourished and provided the natural ambience had been encroached upon all over.

“It’s been almost a decade that the National Green Tribunal, hearing a petition on this, had come out with a clear cut verdict. The situation is the same in Mathura and Vrindavan, where the river banks are under threat from encroachers,” said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of the Friends of Vrindavan.

One wonders what happened to the newly constituted National Monuments Authority (NMA) which was mandated to come down heavily on illegal structures near protected monuments, said Surendra Sharma, president of the Heritage Conservation Society and a senior hotelier of Agra.

Source: IANS

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How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil : 5 Ways to Getting Nourished, Shiny Strands

How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil : 5 Ways to Getting Nourished, Shiny Strands

There are very few hair care ingredients that are as amazing and trusted as coconut oil. For centuries, coconut oil has been used as a hero ingredient and grandmothers of Indian households swear by it. The buttery, thick oil has managed to make quite an impression among the international fashionistas worried about the health of their hair as well.

Coconut oil brings to you an impressive resume of natural beauty advantages for both the scalp and hair.

If you haven’t yet discovered the wonderful benefits of coating your strands in coconut oil, you are probably wondering why this oil is considered a hair care mainstay. Keep reading to know how exactly coconut oil can nourish your hair and the best ways to apply it for brilliant results.

What is coconut hair oil good for?

How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil
How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil

Here, take a look at some of the reasons that make coconut oil reign supreme in the department of hair care.

  • The oil is super moisturizing for your hair strands. The low molecular weight of coconut oil allows it to easily penetrate the shaft of your hair and get absorbed quickly, much better than other oils.
  • The oil has a high moisture content naturally, and therefore, it is effective in conditioning and moisturizing the strands. The oil doesn’t just sit on top of it.
  • The oil will also help your hair to retain protein because it contains a specific type of fatty acid, known as lauric acid. Nick Stenson, a celebrity hairstylist and Matrix’s artistic director, says that strands hold to proteins better when they are coated in coconut hair oil.

If you need more reasons – coconut hair oil is affordable and found ubiquitously, and does not contain any chemicals.

How to apply coconut hair oil for maximum benefits?

The application of coconut oil to hair entirely depends on how you wish to use it. For instance, a deep conditioning hair mask needs a different application than a split end treatment or detangler.

You’ll find below 5 ways to apply coconut oil.

  1. As a treatment of the scalp

Are you interested in a tension-relieving, relaxing scalp massage? Sounds interesting, right? You can relieve your tensed scalp after a tough day of work by wetting the pads of your fingers with coconut oil. Apply the oil gently onto your scalp and massage it gently for a few minutes. This will help the coconut oil to moisturize your scalp and promote healthy hair growth. A relaxing scalp massage using coconut oil is going to make your hair follicles happy and this will result in speedier and also healthier hair growth.

The reason why scalp massages promote hair growth is because they encourage blood circulation. This helps in delivering your hair follicles all the essential nutrients and also oxygen.

  1. As a hair mask

Coconut oil for hair is known to work wonders when it comes to deep conditioning hair treatments. You can create a DIY at-home hair mask by melting a few tablespoons of the oil over low heat and then transferring the oil to a bowl. Section your hair to properly massage warm coconut oil into the roots of your hair and saturating your strands throughout the tips. After that, use a wide-toothed comb to run through your entire hair so that your hair detangles gently. Then, cover your hair with a warm towel or shower cap, and relax for ten to thirty minutes. You can use your regular or mild shampoo to wash out the oil. Make sure to rinse properly.

Remember not to sleep while you are relaxing. You need to wash out the oil to prevent any build-up.

  1. To define your curls more prominently

Coconut oil is a worthy styler and it can help you look your best. Even if you don’t have the right outfit for the day, your hair is surely going to make heads turn!

A lot of people are partial to wash-and-go or an air-dry. If you are one of them, you can slide the oil through the strands of your hair after taking a shower. The oil will help to define the pattern of your curl while also reducing frizz and moisturizing your hair.

If you want your curls to keep their spring, you can make use of coconut oil in between washes. Your curls will be replenished and have a beautiful shine.

  1. To prevent your hair from tangling or to detangle 

A physical barrier is required for all hair types before detangling the strands, especially for those who have more breakage-prone, drier hair. Coconut oil is a brilliant detangling hair care product that you can use to prevent your hair from breaking. You can apply warm oil or you can use a spray bottle to spritz oil on your hair before detangling.

  1. To treat split ends 

Honestly, you cannot mend split ends forever. There just isn’t a way. You can snip them from time to time, but you cannot say goodbye to them forever. Another way to manage your split end problem is by applying coconut hair oil products. The oil will help to seal the cuticle and make your hair look shinier, healthier, and also less brittle. You might even notice density to your strands, especially if you have been noticing that your hair is tapered toward the bottom and looking thin.

The takeaway

Do you think that your hair can benefit from the use of fatty-rich coconut hair oil? You can give it a try in any one of the 5 ways above. And if anybody was wondering, the oil can also be used straight up on your strands.

However, if you are allergic to coconut in general, you might want to stay away from using this oil. In such cases, applying the oil may result in causing irritation.


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