AMASR ACT: Archaeological Sites & Ancient Monuments in India

9 Mar 2023  Read 2116 Views

With one of the greatest civilisations in the world, that is, the Indus Valley civilisation and with the emergence of many subsequent empires and kingdoms, India became one of the world’s archaeological gems with thousands of these archaeological sites, many of which are accessible to travellers & tourists. So, undoubtedly, these monuments are like a treasure for our nation and a symbol of pride for their civilisations. 

Therefore, these need to be protected as they remind us of our heritage. Otherwise, the situation of these gems would become similar to that of the Taj Mahal like the acid rain reacting with the marble of the Taj Mahal is deteriorating its colour. The AMASR Act is the one which was passed in 1958 for the preservation of these archaeological and historical monuments in India. So, what exactly is this AMASR Act?

This is what's discussed in this article, along with the list of archaeological sites & ancient monuments and the need for the amendment of the AMASR Act etc. So, let’s get started.

What is the AMASR Act 1958?

The AMASR Act was first passed in 1958 to preserve archaeological and historical monuments and sites, regulate excavations, and safeguard sculptures, and carvings, with other objects. No construction activities in an area of 100 meters around protected monuments can be done, this measure was taken in order to protect such monuments from any damage, which can be extended by the Central Government whenever & wherever it is needed. However, an amendment to this act was proposed in 2017 with the aim of enabling the government to undertake public works in these prohibited areas.

This was the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment) Bill, 2017, introduced in Lok Sabha on 18th July 2017 by the Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dr Mahesh Sharma. The Amendment Bill amends the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958, which was passed in 2017 but after the changes suggested by the Select Committee at that time, the bill is now expected to be re-introduced in the second half of the Budget Session (from March 13th).

What do you mean by “ancient monument” and “archaeological sites”?

As per the original 1958 Act, “ancient monument” is defined as “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”.

“Archaeological sites and remains” means “any area which contains or is reasonably believed to contain ruins or relics of historical or archaeological importance which have been in existence for not less than 100 years”

List of Archaeological sites in India

Here’s a list of a few of the famous archaeological wonders of India:

1. Kumbhalgarh Fort

Source: tripsavvy

Kumbhalgarh Fort is one of the largest hilltop forts in the world, ruled by a Rajput clan called the Sisodia Rajputs, and one of the six spectacular Hill Forts of Rajasthan included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

2. Jaisalmer Fort

Source: Jaisalmertourism

Jaisalmer Fort- This was constructed by a Bhati Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal in the 12th century AD, who named the fort after himself. The Rajputs ruled Jaisalmer until it was captured by Alauddin Khilji and his forces in the 13th century, who ruled there for 9 years. Then again, this fort was captured in the 16th century, but this time by the Mughals under their emperor Humayun.

3. Meenakshi Amman Temple

Madurai's Meenakshi Amman temple to ban use of cell phones from March 3
Source: dnaindia

Meenakshi Amman Temple- This was one of the highlights of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Parvati, the companion of the deity Lord Shiva. Madurai has been inhabited for more than two thousand years. It is not only one of the oldest cities in India but even the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

4. Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho, Where Each Caress Lasts a Century
Source: thewire

Khajuraho Temples- The famous Khajuraho group of monuments can be found in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, specifically in the town of Khajuraho, which is famous for its erotic sculptures. These temples were built in the 10th and 11th centuries by the Chandela Rajput dynasty. Most of these temples are dedicated to Hindu deities or the Jain sect. 

5. Konark Sun Temple

Konark Sun Temple: The Architectural Marvel Where The Deity Is Not Worshipped!
Source: travelandleisureasia

Konark Sun Temple is also called the Black Pagoda in Odisha; as per the name itself, it is dedicated to the Sun and is built in the shape of an Indian chariot with wheels carved beside the temple. The Eastern Ganga Dynasty built the temple during the mid-13th century. The temple is listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites and is significantly one of the 7 Wonders of India. 

6. Nalanda University

Source: archaeowanderer

Nalanda University- One of the oldest centres of higher learning & education and an ancient Buddhist Monastery in India, is located in Bihar (which was the ancient kingdom of Magadha). The University was constructed by the Gupta and the Pala Empires, which flourished later as a significant learning centre before the Mamluk Dynasty destroyed it. It was an important trade site in Magadha visited by Gautama Buddha, Lord Mahavira & the Jain Tirthankaras.

8. Hampi Village

Source: Karnataka Tourism

Hampi is located in Karnataka and is popular for containing one of the largest archaeological sites in India. It is also another of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Hampi Village is home to the ancient ruins of Vijaynagar city, which was the capital of the ancient Indian Vijaynagar Empire. It is said to have had a rich archaeology of the once prosperous city of the now-extinct kingdom Virupaksha Temple.

List of ancient/ historical monuments in India

State Monuments City Who Built it?



Golghar Patna British Govt.
Pathar Ki Masjid Patna Pervez Shah
Sher Shah’s Tomb Sasaram Mir Muhammad Aliwal Khan
Vishnupad Temple Gaya Rani Ahilyabai




Feroz Shah Kotla Delhi Ferozshan Tughlaq
Hauz Khas Delhi Alauddin Khilji
Humayun Tomb Delhi Empress Bega Begum
Jama Masjid Delhi Shahjahan
Jantar-Mantar Delhi Sawai Jai Singh
Khirki Masjid Delhi Ghyasuddin Tughlaq
Lakshmi Narayan Temple Delhi Birla Family
Moti Masjid Delhi Aurangzeb
President House Delhi British Govt.
Purana Qila Delhi Sher Shah Suri
Qutub Minar Delhi Qutubuddin Aibak
Red Fort Delhi Shahjahan
Safdarjung Tomb Delhi Shuja-ud-daula


Sabarmati Ashram Ahmadabad Mahatma Gandhi



Jammu and Kashmir


Charar-E- Sharif Budgam Zainul Abedin
Nishat Garden Srinagar Asaf Ali
Shalimar Garden Srinagar Jahangir


Gol Gumbaz Bijapur Yaqut of Dabul




Ajanta- Ellora Caves Aurangabad Gupta rulers
Bibi Ka Maqbara Aurangabad Aurangzeb
Elephanta Cave Mumbai Rashtrakuta rulers
Gateway Of India Mumbai British Govt.
Kanheri Fort Mumbai Buddhists



Jagannath Temple Puri Anantavarman Ganga
Sun Temple Konark Narasimhadeva I


Golden Temple Amritsar Guru Ramdas






Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra Ajmer Qutubuddin Aibak
Bharatpur Fort Bharatpur Raja Surajmal Singh
Ajmer Sharif Dargah Ajmer Sultan Shyasuddin
Dilwara Jain Temple Mount Abu Siddharaja
Hawa Mahal Jaipur Maharaja Pratap Singh
Jaigarh Fort Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh
Jodhpur Fort Jodhpur Rao Jodha
Nahargarh Fort Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh
Vijaya Stambha Chittorgarh Maharana Kumbha

Tamil Nadu

Saint George Fort Chennai East India Company




Char- Minar Hyderabad Quli Qutub Shah
Makka Masjid Hyderabad Quli Qutub Shah


Uttar Pradesh


Agra Fort Agra Akbar
Akbar Rsquo Tomb Sikandra Akbar
Anand Bhawan Allahabad Motilal Nehru
Aram Bagh Agra Babur
Bada Imambara Lucknow Asaf-ud-daula
Chhota Imambara Lucknow Muhammad Ali Shah
Deewan-E- Khas Agra Fort Shahjahan
Fatehpur Sikri Agra Akbar
Tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daula Agra Nurjahan
Jama Masjid Agra Shahjahan
Moti Masjid Agra Shahjahan
Sati Burj Mathura Raja Bhagwan Das
Shish Mahal Agra Shahjahan
Taj Mahal Agra Shahjahan



West Bengal


Shantiniketan West Bengal Rabindranath Tagore
Belur Math Kolkata Swami Vivekananda
Victoria Memorial Kolkata British Govt.

Why does the government want to amend the AMASR Act?

The Central Government stated that, the “prohibition of new construction within prohibited areas of a protected area or protected monument is adversely affecting the various public works and developmental projects of the central government”.

What is the present status of the AMASR Amendment bill?

This Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in 2017 & passed in 2018, which was then referred to a Select Committee in July 2018, headed by former Rajya Sabha member Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe. In its report, the Select Committee recommended deciding the area limit for prohibiting construction on a case-by-case basis rather than bringing a fixed blanket limit of 100 metres as provided in the original 1958 Act.

  • The Select Committee even looked upon the definition of public works specified in the Amendment Bill, and noted that it does not cover public utility projects such as the Metro construction. 

  • After the examination, the committee submitted its report in February 2019 and recommended the passage of the Amendment bill after consultation with central and State governments along with various relevant departments. 

  • So, the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) (Amendment) Bill is expected to be reintroduced in the second half of the Budget Session by the central government only after the recommended changes has been made. 

Key Features of the Act

1. Construction in Prohibited Areas

As per the act, the prohibited areas are defined as those areas that are within 100 metres of the protected monument and the central government is empowered to extend this area

2. Public Works

The act introduces the term known as the “Public Works”. This includes the construction of infrastructure as planned by the Government of India & such infrastructures must be in compliance to public safety and security.

3. Impact Assessment

The National Monument Authority must do an impact assessment before executing the public works. The authority must conduct three types of impact assessments such as the visual impact, archaeological impact, and heritage impact.


The AMASR Act was amended in the year 2010, which brought the National Monument Authority. The amendment is being introduced as the original act prohibits new construction within the monument, thus, affecting the developmental works in the national monuments. The major objective is to amend Section 20A of the act which hinders development activities. So, what do you think? Is this amendment needed or will it hinder the preservation of such monuments?

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 269 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Manager at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course). She is a patent analyst & had also done advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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