Jammu & Kashmir’s rich art and culture will soon have a new and exotic address in the multi-facility Tehzeeb Mahal, the foundation stone of which was laid by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah near Tourist Reception Centre on Tuesday.
With this, the uncertainty dogging the construction of Tehzeeb Mahal for decades has finally come to rest. A modern cultural centre to showcase rich art, cultural and literary heritage of the State was being planned since 1970s and in 1982, foundation stone of Tehzeeb Mahal was laid in the Emporium Gardens. However, the project did not move any further until recently when the Chief Minister approved its construction adjacent to the Tourist Reception Centre.
The Tehzeeb Mahal is a huge Rs. 64.89 crore project of the J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages. Another Rs. 23.47 crore will be spent on relocation of the State Road Transport Corporation at Nowgam and cost difference of the land to be paid to the Corporation as former owner of the present site.
Secretary J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, Khalid Bashir Ahmad said the ground floor of the3-storeyed building will have auditorium with a seating capacity of 600, Folk Replica Centre, Art Gallery, Administration Space and Intimate Theatre Studio with seating capacity of 200. The first floor, he said, will house Auditorium Balcony, Exhibition Hall-1, Handicrafts Display Room, Library and Conference Hall while the second floor will have Exhibition Hall-2 and Heritage Museum. An Open Air Theatre and Sculpture Garden will be other facilities available at the Tehzeeb Mahal, he said, adding, the basement of the building measuring 46,123 sq ft will be used for parking and housing services.
The building, Khalid said, will have special architectural finishes in tune with local heritage architecture including maharaji bricks,deji dewari look, devri stone cladding, khatamband ceiling, pinjra and jaffri work, paper machie and sozni work on walls and log bridge and heritage fort wall.
Pertinently, the Academy has a rich collection of manuscripts, paintings, miniatures, sculptures, artefacts, reference books, photographs etc. which due to present limited space could not be displayed for public viewing except occasionally by holding limited exhibitions. The Tehzeeb Mahal will resolve this problem and make possible round-the year display of the State’s magnificent heritage besides turning into the permanent and colourful address of the State’s culture.
The project to be completed in 39 months, is being executed by J&K Projects Construction Corporation Ltd.