The building blocks of heritage

Nov 19, 2018, 08:12 IST | Snigdha Hasan

Led by an art historian, an interactive session aims to introduce children to the architectural history of India, starting at the venue

The building blocks of heritage
The Discovery of India building at Nehru Centre

If you visit Nehru Centre in Worli on a weekday, it's likely that you would find queues of schoolchildren snaking their way through the Discovery of India building. With the tangible and non-tangible heritage of India depicted in its 14 galleries, the venue is a treasure trove of three-dimensional replicas of the country's major architectural and artistic works, photographs, dioramas and audio-visuals.

Sanchi Stupa
Sanchi Stupa

And yet, the need to complete the tour of the building within a stipulated time or a lack of guidance in engaging with the exhibits could result in students merely walking past a fascinating nugget of history. To help children discover some significant elements of the architectural history of India, the Museum Society of Mumbai is organising an interactive programme at the centre, suitable for seven- to 12-year-olds. Titled Introduction to Indian Architecture, it will be led by art historian Dr Sofiya Karanjia.

Dr Sofiya Karanjia
Dr Sofiya Karanjia

"Learning about one's country's heritage is the first step towards not losing it. But as a parent, I didn't want to take a dry and scholastic approach. And these interactive exhibits would help pique a child's interest," says Dr Karanjia, who completed her PhD in Art History (Department of Asian and African Art) at Russian State Institute of Art Studies, and is also a guest faculty member of the Academy of Architecture Rachana Sansad and JJ School of Architecture.

By taking children through the traditional architecture of Maharashtra seen in its wadas, Buddhist architectural style through the example of the Sanchi Stupa, and the palaces of Rajasthan, Dr Karanjia will help them discover how ancient Indians learnt architectural art, the traditional materials they used, the kind of houses and buildings they built, and why colours are important in Indian architecture.

ON November 25, 11 am to 1 pm
AT Nehru Centre, Worli 
Register museumsocietyofbombay63@gmail.com; sofiya@karanjia.net
FREE

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