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Vote for the Oval precinct

Today, this paper supports the Urban Design and Research Institute (UDRI) in its push to give Mumbai its third UNESCO World Heritage site. Mumbai’s Oval precinct, which includes the Oval maidan and the art deco and Gothic-Victorian styled buildings on both sides of the maidan, is being touted as one of the contenders for UNESCO’s stamp.

Experts have stated that the area is a worthy nominee for the honour as the precinct is a unique and arresting blend of two contrasting styles of architecture, a construction cocktail rarely seen in any other city in the world.

This paper’s campaign, which kicks off today, urges readers and proud citizens to go to the website and vote for the UNESCO bid. It is another step which could help the city get its moment in glory. Mumbai already has CST and the Elephanta Caves listed as world heritage sites.

While heritage experts and those involved with the bid are naturally keen to see it through, we hope all citizens are fired up with similar enthusiasm. A city is a blend of bricks ‘n’ mortar, heart ‘n’ soul. If Mumbaikars do not push for their city, who else will?

First, it is important that Mumbaikars have a working knowledge of the precinct that is being pushed for the World Heritage title. A bit of reading on the Oval, its history and different styles of architecture (all available on the Internet and in specific books on the city for those interested) is in order.

Our current pace of life, its hurly-burly, leaves little time for us to notice our city’s architectural splendour. Only awareness and understanding will help people develop a healthy respect and the urge to preserve, conserve, and in their own way, help push the proposal through.

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