In brief: Ancient monuments in India

In brief: Ancient monuments in India

What is Ancient monument?

  • Ancient Monument means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years.
  • It includes
  • Remains of an ancient monument
  • Site of an ancient monument
  • Such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument
  • The means of access to, and convenient inspection of, an ancient monument


Protecting Ancient Monuments

  • Ancient monuments in India are protected by Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  • The Archeological Survey of India is the body entrusted with the responsibility of declaring and protecting ancient monuments in the country.
  • Currently, there are 3693 protected ancient monuments in India.
  • The states with highest number of ancient monuments include UP (745), Karnataka (506) and TN (413)


Latest addition

  • In December 2018, ASI declared the following 6 new sites as monuments of national importance
  1. Old High Court Building – Nagpur
  2. Haveli of Agha Khan – Agra
  3. Hathi Khana – Agra
  4. Neemrana Baori – Rajasthan’s Alwar district
  5. Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail – Odisha’s Bolangir district
  6. Vishnu Temple – Pithoragarh district, Uttarkhand



In brief: Archaeological Survey of India

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is an attached office under Ministry of Culture.
  • It is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of cultural heritage of India.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India was established as a distinct department in 1871.
  • Alexander Cunningham was the first Director General of ASI.

Functions of ASI

  • Conducting archaeological explorations and excavations
  • Maintenance, conservation and protection of ancient monuments, archaeological sites and their remains
  • Implementation of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972
  • Epigraphical and numismatic (coins) studies
  • Training in Archaeology