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Divide Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Chennai Circle into 2 separate Circles.

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Dear Honourable Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Ministry of Arts and Culture,

Sub: Request to

1. Divide Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) ‘Chennai Circle’ into ‘2 separate Circles’

2. Digitize Estampages created for over 100 years before they are lost forever


I’m sure you are aware, The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is divided into 24 Circles for maintaining our ancient Monuments, archaeological sites and remains of National Importance.

South Indian States have the following number of significant Archaeological Sites respectively:

· Karnataka – 517 sites

· Tamil Nadu – 403 sites

· United Andhra – 37 sites

· Kerala – 13 sites

 Karnataka (with 517 sites) is divided into 3 circles (Bengaluru, Dharwad & Hampi) and every circle has its own Administration team and staff. Each circle has fewer monuments under its governance, therefore can focus and allot more attention and resources per-site for maintenance.

Tamil Nadu however has only one Circle with 403 sites. Administration, governance and maintenance is a big challenge with lesser staff and lots of restoration activity.

We request you to divide our Chennai Circle into 2, Considering “Tiruchirappalli” as the 2nd Circle, so that the Administration of each circle will become simpler with fewer sites under its wing and we can maintain the monuments better with more staff and resources.

This will in turn translate into better revenue in Foreign Currency for Tamil Nadu’s Heritage Sites, because well maintained monuments will surely attract more International tourists and project a much better impression of our South Indian heritage.

Our 2nd Request is,

I am sure you are aware that inscriptions of all forms on the walls/floor/ceiling of any heritage site is traced and documented for posterity and deciphering activity as an ‘Estampage’.

The last ASI published book of such Estampages from Indian Sites dates back to the pre-Independence era, almost a century ago.

However, over 70,000 more Estampages prepared since the last publication until about 1970 (or later) remain in a disorganised Paper-format in Mysore till today.

For almost 100 years, those documents have remained in hard-copy and they are under High-risk of being lost forever due to natural degradation and ageing of paper. The actual monuments from which the Estampages were traced have also eroded over the years and some have been re-painted for maintenance or spoiled by rogue tourists. So the original-inscriptions are also vanishing fast.

We request you, with great Urgency, to initiate the “Digitization” of these Estampages, prepared since the last ASI published book 100 years ago.

The collection of all Estampages are currently in Mysore and once we initiate storing them in a Digital format, we can start work on publishing them as a book.

We hope you will do the needful, at the earliest so that precious treasures of knowledge are not lost to destructive forces of Nature.

In Summary,

1. We urge you to divide Chennai Circle into 2, namely

a. Chennai Circle

b. Tiruchirappalli Circle

By doing so, Administration and maintenance of each circle will become easier with fewer Heritage sites to manage under one circle.

2. We request you to immediately initiate Digitization efforts for over 70,000 Estampages stored in hard-copies (paper) in Mysore as they are over 100 years old and likely to be lost forever. The original Monuments also don’t have the inscriptions in a very legible state due to natural degradation and maintenance activities.

Thanking you with regards,


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