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Mumbai's Watson's Hotel in endangered structures list

June 21, 2005 23:42 IST

Dalhousie Square in Kolkata, Watson's Hotel in Mumbai, Dhangkar Gompa in Himachal Pradesh and Guru Lhakhang and Sumda Chung Temples in Ladhakh are in the 100 most endangered sites 2006 list of the World Monuments Watch.

The biennial list was released in New York on Tuesday by World Monuments Fund, a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving historic, artistic and architectural heritage worldwide.

Also on the list are Ernest Hemingway's house in Cuba, Patan Royal Palace Complex in Nepal, Mian Nasir Mohamad's graveyard in Pakistan and Sonargaon-Panam City in Bangladesh.

This is the first time World Monuments Watch has listed an entire country's cultural heritage as at risk -- Iraq. The country's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi, was present at the event.

By bringing world attention on the sites, World Monuments Watch, launched in 1995 with seed money from American Express, helps raise funds and often spurs local governments to take an active role in protection of these landmarks. American Express has committed $10 million to World Monuments Watch over the last 10 years. Selection is through nominations submitted by governments, NGOs and individuals.

Nominations for India come from the Archeological Survey of India, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, and individuals, including some former Maharajas, John Stubbs, vice-president for programmes, World Monuments Fund, said in reply to a question.

World Monuments Watch lists sites that range from those in conflict zones such as Iraq, modern buildings threatened by apathy, pollution, sacred sites that have lost their congregations such as Ladakh's Guru Lhakhang and Sumda Chung temples, and pressures resulting from development as in the case of the Mexico City Historic Center, World Monuments Fund president Bonnie Burnham said.

Previous lists have included the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Valley of the Kings (now part of the West Bank 2006 list). Among previous Watch-list areas where WMF is currently working are the Angkor temples in Cambodia, St Georges Bloomsbury in London, and the Chateau of Chantilly in France, a press release said.

World Monuments Fund has distributed about $35 million since 1996.

Monika Joshi in New York