Union Finance Minister Tmt. Nirmala Sitharaman visited Adichanallur, an ancient and historical Iron-age burial site located in Thoothukudi District Tamil Nadu on Saturday, set along the banks of the Tamirabarani (Porunai) river. This archaeological site was one of five declared to be developed as ‘Iconic Sites’ in the Union Budget 2020-21.
On the occasion, the Union Finance Minister also laid the foundation stone for the ‘Iconic Site Museum’ at the Adichanallur site.
Distinguished guests included Tmt Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, Member of Parliament, Thoothukudi Constituency; Thiru Anitha Radhakrishnan, Minister for Fisheries-Fishermen Welfare & Animal Husbandry – Government of Tamil Nadu; The District Collector of Thoothukudi Dr. K. Senthil Raj and the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Thiru KK Basha, Director (Archaeology) ASI Dr. T. Arun Raj participated.
Tmt Sitharaman, in her remarks during the ceremony, noted the unique and rich history encapsulated by the Adichanallur site. Various objects dating back to 467 BCE and food grains such as millets and paddy dated 665 BCE have been unearthed here. The upcoming ASI Museum will showcase all these artefacts ‘in-situ’, providing a world-class experience to visitors and researchers alike.
The Finance Minister reminded the public that the Central Government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, has committed funds to develop this museum, fulfilling an initiative outlined in the Budget 2021. The government envisions this site as a stop for pilgrims travelling to Tiruchendur, contributing to the cultural heritage and tourism of the region.
The FM shared that plans are in place for the ASI to construct an amphitheatre equipped with a light and sound show to further enhance the visitor experience. This initiative aligns with the broader efforts of PM Modi’s government to ensure the cultural integrity of the nation by celebrating and organising events such as the Kashi Tamil Sangaman and Saurashtra Tamil Sangaman.
As part of a concerted effort to preserve India’s rich cultural heritage, Tmt Sitharaman shared that the government is working tirelessly to repatriate artefacts belonging to Adichallanur from abroad, with a focus on items currently held in Berlin. Thus far, the government’s efforts have resulted in the return of over 350 ancient artefacts and items of historical importance to India.
Union Finance Minister highlighted various comprehensive efforts of the Central Government to honour, preserve, and showcase India’s rich cultural heritage for present and future generations.
Under PM Modi’s leadership, numerous heritage sites, including the Somnath, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and more, have been revitalised. In line with this, several tourism circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, such as the Buddhist Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Desert Circuit, and Himalayan Circuit, are being established to promote tourism and bring due recognition to these places.
The Finance Minister also spoke on the ongoing development of five sites, known as ‘Panchtheerth’, based on Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life, along with the construction of the National War Memorial and National Police Memorial in Delhi, a tribute to India’s security forces. Tmt Sitharaman also mentioned that ten new Tribal Freedom Fighter Museums are being established across the country.
Union Finance Minister further highlighted that in the realm of knowledge preservation, over 3.3 lakh manuscripts containing 3.4 crore pages have been digitised. Furthermore, a plan for a new National Museum in Delhi, with 950 rooms spread across the North and South Blocks, has been announced. This National Museum will feature eight thematic segments, showcasing India’s civilizational culture spanning over 5,000 years.
Union Finance Minister also said that the ‘Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya’, another notable project, has been established as a tribute to every Prime Minister of India since Independence. This museum serves as a narrative record of their contributions to the nation’s development over the past 75 years.