Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday said the state would provide all assistance for the development of the Roerich Art Gallery, set up by Russian painter and philosopher Nicholas Roerich in 1927, near Kullu town as a major centre of art and culture.
For this, the state would send seeks grants also from the Union Ministry of Culture, he said.
Thakur was presiding over the 18th meeting of the International Roerich Memorial Trust where Russia's Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev was also present.
The Chief Minister said the memorial trust, which manages Roerich's estate that owns 8,126 artefacts, is playing a pivotal role in fortifying the relations between India and Russia. The state was determined to protect and preserve Roerich's heritage.
He said the Roerich Memorial estate in Naggar was the anchor point for the Roerich trust which had been attracting the hearts and minds of the Russians and Indians as the spiritual quintessence of relationship between the two countries.
He remembered that it was during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that a grant of Rs 2 crore was provided to the trust to strengthen its activities.
He said India and Russia had been contributing significantly to the maintenance and development of this trust.
Russia's Ambassador Kudashev said the Russian embassy was willing to cooperate closely with the state to handle the maintenance, preservation and restoration aspects of the museum.
It was decided at the board meeting that the International Roerich Memorial Trust complex would be developed for maintenance of Roerich's heritage as well as the construction of guest houses for artists, scholars and experts.
It was also decided that Roerich Memorial Museum complex would be created by incorporating the restoration of Roerich house.
Some 300 paintings have been donated by various artists to the trust. Prints of these selected painting would be auctioned.
The Roerich estate is located in Naggar, 25 km from Kullu town, where Roerich came in 1927 from St. Petersburg. He made the village his home for more than two decades.
Roerich's wife Helena, a famous writer, and sons Yuri, a prominent Oriental scholar, and Svyatoslav, a well-known painter, and Svyatoslav's wife Devika Rani all stayed with him in Naggar.
Roerichs' estate comprises the premises of the Indian-Russian Memorial Complex, the Gallery of N.K. Roerich, Helena Roerich Arts College and exhibition halls in the buildings of the Urusvati Himalayan Research Institute.
(With inputs from agencies.)