Saturday, February 21, 2009

Should Taj Mahal be preserved?

Some years back I was watching this documentary in discovery channel about Angkor Vat temple complex in Cambodia. The initial pictures of discovery of the temple complex by the French showing a giant head peering at you through the thick canopy of tropical trees was breathtaking. Gradually they showed deformed edifice of temple heaving in sigh at the upheaval caused by the growing roots and branches of trees, the cracks in the walls with lush Peepul jutting out of those cracks making my imagination go wild. I wondered what the original temple would have looked like, awesome! Unfortunately the clinically restored temple did not meet my expectation, I longed to see that hidden piece of debris decaying gradually in the wilderness. I realized that restoring or preserving an historical monument is a bad idea.

We should let the Taj wither naturally. Let wild trees grow around it and in time let the minarets crumble naturally, its edifice turn and twist with every move of the roots of large trees deforming it irrevocably. Let the shining dome be partially hidden behind the thick foliage and snakes, scorpions make home in the cracks of those beautiful walls. The best strokes of genius are the strokes of nature and imagination always better than the real thing.

Let us allow these monuments live their natural life without any interference from us and then disappear. We will create new monuments in time and the cycle will continue. Every space deserves vibrant renewal.