The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi reviewed the work in progress at the site of the National Maritime Heritage Complex at Lothal, Gujarat with the help of a drone via video conferencing today.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister expressed happiness about the rapid pace of the project. Recalling his address from the ramparts of the Red Fort where he spoke about the ‘Panch Pran’, the Prime Minister underlined ‘pride for our heritage’ and stated that our maritime heritage is one such heritage handed down by our ancestors. He pointed out, “There are many such tales of our history, which have been forgotten and ways have not been found to preserve them to pass them on to the next generation. How much can we learn from those events of history? India’s maritime heritage is also a topic that has been talked about inadequately”, he said. The Prime Minister highlighted the vast spread of India’s trade and business in old times and its relations with every civilization of the world. However, the Prime Minister lamented that thousand years of slavery not only broke that tradition but we also grew indifferent towards our heritage and capabilities.
Highlighting the rich and diverse maritime heritage of India that has been around for thousands of years, the Prime Minister talked about the Chola Empire, Chera Dynasty, and Pandya Dynasty from South India who understood the power of marine resources and took it to unprecedented heights. The Prime Minister further added that it led to the strengthening of the naval powers of the country while also expanding trade from India to all parts of the globe. The Prime Minister also spoke of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj who formed a strong navy and challenged foreign invaders. “All this is such a proud chapter in the history of India, which was ignored”, Shri Modi added. The Prime Minister recalled the time when Kutch used to flourish as a manufacturing hub for building big ships and stressed the commitment of the Government to revamp sites of historical significance. “Large ships made in India were sold all over the world. This indifference towards heritage did a lot of damage to the country. This situation needs to be changed.”
The Prime Minister mentioned that archaeological excavations have unearthed several sites of historical relevance. “We decided to return these centres of India’s pride, Dholavira and Lothal, to the form they were once famous for. Today we are seeing rapid work on that mission”, he said. Lothal, he continued, was a thriving centre of India’s maritime capability. Recently, during the excavation near Vadnagar, the temple of Sinkotar Mata has been unearthed. Some such evidence has also been found from which information about maritime trade from here in ancient times is available. Similarly, evidence of having a lighthouse in Jhinjhuwada village of Surendranagar has been found, he added.
The Prime Minister remarked that a lot can be learnt today from the urban planning of the remains of the cities, ports and markets recovered in the excavation from Lothal. “Lothal was not only a major trading centre of the Indus Valley Civilization, but it was also a symbol of India’s maritime power and prosperity”, he said. He noted the grace of both Goddess Laxmi and Goddess Saraswati on the area and said that there was a time when Lothal port was marked by the flags of 84 countries and Valabhi was home to students from 80 countries.
The Prime Minister informed that the National Maritime Heritage Complex at Lothal will act as a centre for learning and understanding India’s diverse maritime history. He further elaborated that the heritage complex in Lothal is being built in such a way that the common man of India can easily understand its history. In this, an attempt is being made to revive the same era by using very modern technology. The Prime Minister said that the efforts to bring back the glory of Lothal are not limited to the complex but Gujarat’s coastal area is seeing many modern infrastructure projects that are coming up. He also mentioned the upcoming semiconductor plant. “Our government is working with full force to make this area developed again as it was developed thousands of years ago. Lothal which fills us with pride because of its history will now shape the future of the generations to come”, the Prime Minister said.
Pointing out that a museum is not just a means of storing and displaying things or documents, the Prime Minister said that when we cherish our heritage, we preserve the feelings attached to it. Highlighting the tribal heritage of India, Shri Modi threw light on the Tribal Freedom Fighter Museums being built across the country and mentioned the contributions of our tribal freedom fighters in the freedom struggle of India. The Prime Minister also invoked the sacrifices laid down by the war heroes of India and mentioned the National War Memorial and the National Police Memorial which is a testament to the brave sons and daughters who laid down their lives to protect the country. Speaking about the power of democracy in India, the Prime Minister mentioned the Prime Minister’s Museum which gives us a glimpse of the journey of 75 years of our country. The Prime Minister further added that the Statue of Unity in Kevadiya, Ekta Nagar reminds us of the efforts, tenacity and penance for the unity and integrity of India. “The heritage developed in the country in the last 8 years gives us a glimpse of the vastness of India’s legacy”, the Prime Minister remarked.
The Prime Minister assured that the National Maritime Museum being built in Lothal will be a matter of pride for every Indian when it comes to the maritime heritage of the country. “I am sure the Lothal will come before the world with its old splendour”, the Prime Minister concluded.
Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Bhupendra Patel was present on the occasion with Union Ministers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya and Shri Sarbananda Sonowal joining the event via video conferencing.
Lothal was one of the prominent cities of the Harappan civilization and is known for the discovery of the oldest man-made dockyard. A maritime heritage complex in Lothal is a fitting tribute to the city’s historical legacy and heritage.
National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) at Lothal is being developed as a one-of-its-kind project to not only display India’s rich and diverse maritime heritage and also help Lothal to emerge as a world-class international tourist destination. The boost to the tourism potential through this project will also augment the economic development of the region.
The complex work which began in March 2022, is being developed at a cost of around Rs 3500 crores. It will have several innovative and unique features such as Lothal mini recreation to recreate Harappan architecture and lifestyle, four theme parks – Memorial theme park, Maritime and Navy theme park, Climate theme park, and Adventure and Amusement theme park. IT will also house the world’s tallest lighthouse museum, fourteen galleries highlighting India’s maritime heritage starting from the Harappan times till today, as well as a Coastal states pavilion displaying the diverse maritime heritage of states and UTs among others.