Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday presented the Union Budget 2020. In what was her second Budget speech, the 60-year-old minister beat her own previous record of delivering the longest Budget speech ever. Sitharaman in her speech proposed that five archaeological sites will be developed as iconic sites with onsite museums. According to the Budget speech, the five iconic sites are Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh), Shivsagar (Assam), Dholavira (Gujarat) and Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu).
So, what is special about these five iconic archaeological sites that the government of India has proposed to develop?
The village is situated in the north Indian state of Haryana and it is the site of pre-Indus valley civilisation settlement going back to 6500 BCE. The village is located in Hisar district which is situated 150 kilometres away from the national capital New Delhi. According to the Global Heritage Fund (GHF), the site is one of the 10 most endangered sites in Asia.
Hastinapur is an ancient city located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The place is described as the capital of Kuru Kingdom in the Hindu texts, Mahabharata and Puranas. The place also finds a mention in the ancient Jain texts. The city dates back to the period of Mahabharata and is situated in the Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh.
Shivsagar or Sivasagar is an ancient city located in the Sivasagar district of Assam. The city was the capital of Ahom Kingdom from 1699 to 1788 at the time when Ahoms ruled Assam for six centuries. The city fell to Burmese invaders in 1819 and the ruling class was wiped out before it was conquered by the British in 1825.
Dholavira is an archaeological site situated in the western Indian state of Gujarat's Kutch district. Dholavira is one of the five largest Harappan sites belonging to Indus valley civilisation. The site was discovered in 1967-68 and has been under excavation since 1990.
Adichanallur is an archaeological site located in theThoothukudi district in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Carbon excavated from the site has revealed that they belonged to the period between 905 BC and 696 BC. Skeletons dating back to 3,800 years were unearthed from the site in 2005.