The State Government is considering to enhance the grant-in-aid being provided for restoration of religious shrines of heritage importance from existing Rs. 25 thousand to Rs. 3.00 lakh. Prem Kumar Dhumal said it in the meeting of Dev Sanskriti Charitable Trust, Kullu.

Chief Minister added that there were a large number of temples and other shrines of heritage importance in the State which were in dire necessity of restoration to honour of devotional sentiments of devotees attached to such shrines. He said that some of the prominent ancient temples in the state had been taken over by the Archeological Survey of India for restoration and maintenance purposes out of which some were in dilapidated conditions. He said that the State Government would consider to enhance the grant in aid to Rs. three lakh to local Temple Committees from Rs. 25000 being given at present and added that this would go a long way in restoring the rich devotional heritage of the State to a greater extent. He announced grant of Rs. 3.00 lakh for restoration of Pashi temple in Kullu valley and Rs. 1.00 lakh to Beas Rishi Nirman Mandir Samiti.

In the meeting, Prem Kumar Dhumal underlined the need for constitution an effective Trust to manage the devotional affairs of deities in Kullu valley by associating all associations formed by Kardars from different parts of the valley and carry devotional activities in traditional form to preserve rich cultural heritage of the State. He said that the State Government had been considerate towards genuine demands of the Kardars and had been enhancing ‘Nazarana’ regularly year after year. He said that the State Government had also been providing traveling and daily allowances to the deities participating in International Dussehra Festival. He said that sanctity of the shrine and deity needed to be upheld by devotees which were necessary for preservation of the devotional culture in the valley. He said that with a view to provide reasonable boarding and lodging facilities to the devotees of deities participating in the Dussehra Festival, an impressive Dev Sadan building had already been made functional and another Atal Dussehra Sadan building had been proposed to be constructed not only to provide housing facilities to the devotees but parking, accommodation, halls and research centre etc. to other visitors in Kullu. He said that a provision of Rs. 2.00 crore had already been made to start construction of the project while more funds would be made available with the progress of the work on the project.

Chief Minister advised district authorities to make proposed Trust broad based by associating prominent Kardars as its office bearers and members to regulate devotional activities in the district. He underlined the need to work in close coordination with local communities to preserve rich cultural heritage of the state. He said that it was moral duty of the Trust Management to honour devotional sentiments of residents of valley by upholding rich traditions of area. He thanked Language and Culture Academy for bringing out important publications on the history of the local deities and hoped that publication on deities of Kullu valley would be ready very shortly.

Khimi Ram Sharma, Forest Minister, thanked Chief Minister for increasing ‘Nazrana’ of deities and providing funds for construction of Atal Dussehra Sadan as all such activities would strengthen devotional traditions in the valley.

Gobind Thakur, MLA, said that preservation of traditional devotional services was on the priority agenda of the State Government and underlined the need for upholding the rich devotional heritage in right perspective.

Kishori Lal Sagar, MLA, supported the demand for constitution of Charitable Trust in the district to vouch for devotional rights of the people.

Manisha Nanda, Principal Secretary, Language and Culture, welcomed the Chief Minister, and thanked him for convening the meeting with the ‘Kardars’ of district Kullu, which represented the entire devotional community in the district. She said that exhaustive research was underway to find out historical facts about the history of local deities and a publication would soon be brought out by the Academy of Language and Art. She said that Dev Sadan was dedicated in year 2008 and Atal Dussehra Sadan would further add to the facilities to the deities participating in Dussehra Festival.

Rakesh Kanwar, Director of Language and Culture, conducted proceedings of the Meeting and apprised Chief Minister of various activities being undertaken by the Department in Kullu valley. He assured the Chief Minister that the devotional sentiments of the people would be upheld at all costs. Om Prakash Sharma and Dot Ram Thakur and other office bearers of Kardars also spoke in the meeting. P. Mandal, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu was also present in the meeting.