New Delhi: Flora and fauna, different festivals and rituals, and Mandala-style art are some of the themes of the decorative murals lining the Pragati Maidan tunnel which opened on Sunday. Commuters traversing the stretch will witness a colorful palette that seeks to highlight the theme of ‘celebrating life through India’s six seasons’ through decorative murals on the walls and central column .
When entering the tunnel from the Purana Qila end, a giant image of a peacock, the national bird, greets commuters leading them to a section interspersed with visuals of birds, flowers and signs depicting various festivals such as Bihu, Baisakhi and Christmas among others. Vivid colors such as yellow, orange and green are widely used to represent the lively festivals that are celebrated in the country in different seasons. Besides surface painting, murals were also carved and painted on steel sheets.
While the tunnel remained closed to regular traffic on Sunday, passers-by and staff associated with the project were seen clicking selfies and photos of the art in the tunnel.
After inaugurating the tunnel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid a visit and said the artwork was unique. “I got out of the jeep because I was tempted to look at the works of art that lined the tunnel. I saw different parts of the artwork and liked it… I can say it is a good education center that demonstrates the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’,” Modi said .
He said the tunnel had perhaps one of the longest works of art. “After looking at the artwork, I can say that it is possible that such a long mural inside a tunnel cannot be found anywhere else. The tunnel has become a long art gallery. If someone wants to understand India and its diversity, its moments of joy and excitement, they can travel through the tunnel,” Modi said.
While appreciating the diversity demonstrated by the artwork, the Prime Minister suggested that traffic through the tunnel could be halted for 4-6 hours and schoolchildren could take a walking tour of the tunnel on Sundays or weekdays. where the volume of vehicles was reduced. less. “The provision of technology-assisted guides and audio guides can also be made. A ticketing mechanism can also be put in place,” Modi said in a post-inaugural speech.
Him Chatterjee, the project’s art consultant, said a team of professionals worked on the mural and it took more than two years of painstaking work to bring his designs to life. “Over the whole mural, flora and fauna according to different seasons, and different festivals and rituals across the country were performed with perfect symmetry and precision…These murals were painted by hand. handcrafted and crafted on sheet steel to indigenize the ambience of the tunnel. They are a feast of various styles of Indian cultural celebration, painted in exquisite cohesion. The approach is that of art as expression of cultural nationalism,” said Chatterjee, who is chair of the visual arts department at the University of Himachal Pradesh in Shimla.
He said that the main tunnel steel works cover more than 7,000 square meters and after taking into account the painted area, the total art covered area is nearly 2,8991 square meters, which “is a record”. “Going through the tunnel will be a feast for the eyes and everyone will have sweet, small memorable moments,” he said.