American Express, World Monument Fund (WMF), and the Indian National Trust of Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) recently announced that the restoration of Balaji Ghat, a historic landmark in Varanasi, had been completed. To commemorate the occasion, a museum and cultural centre was inaugurated at the historic site for tourists.
In 2012, Balaji Ghat was nominated by INTACH for the World Monuments Watch, a program created by WMF, to call attention to the cultural importance of the site and its conservation needs. At the time, American Express announced a grant of Rs 1.5 crore for the restoration.
Speaking on the occasion, Manoj Adlakha, SVP and CEO, American Express Banking Corp., India, said, “As one of the leading players in the payments and travel industry, American Express recognises that no industry has a greater stake than ours in preserving the world’s historic monuments, cultural heritage and environment. It is a matter of great pride for us to be associated with preservation of India’s rich cultural heritage. Balaji Ghat was in urgent need of conservation and I am delighted to see that the historic site has been fully restored and a museum and cultural centre has been established.”
According to Lisa Ackerman, Executive Vice President & CEO, World Monument Fund, “WMF and American Express have worked together since the mid-1990s to protect cultural heritage sites throughout the world. We are especially grateful to American Express's unwavering support for heritage conservation activities in India, which have included important sites throughout the country. Balaji Ghat was nominated by INTACH and was included in the 2012 World Monuments Watch to call attention to the cultural importance of the site and its conservation needs. The support of American Express provided essential support for INTACH to restore this site back so that it could once again serve the Varanasi community and visitors.”