When tombs come alive

AKTC concluded a three-day conference on cultural heritage.

If you make some time and visit the Qutb Shahi tombs complex today, you’ll find yourself walking around those same tombs, but with a difference — some of them will have wooden beams set up around them, while some areas are cordoned off completely. That’s because since November 2013, the Aga Khan Trust For Culture (AKTC) has been leading restoration works, converting the area into what’s now known as the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park.

With a walk around the complex on Saturday evening, the AKTC concluded a three-day conference on cultural heritage and its conservation and restoration — titled Engaging Hyderabad with Conservation. It also explained that it would be restoring the complex to its former glory. The foundation is looking at keeping things as authentic as possible — with the use of traditional organic lime plaster instead of just cement alone.

“We’ve committed to restoring all the 75 buildings within the park boundaries as of now,” explains Ratish Nanda, director at AKTC. “But conservation can be leveraged to do other things, like connecting Golconda Fort to the Tombs for visitor access, and of course trying to reintegrate Deccan Park with the Qutb Shahi tombs complex,” he adds.

Taking a slight detour on the walk, Ratish showed a few patrons the level of flooring in the inner chambers of one of the tombs that has changed over the course of the 500 years of the tombs’ existence, something the AKTC plans on excavating and taking back to its original level.

“The walk was educative and because of the presentation earlier in the day, we have a deeper understanding of the techniques they’re following for the restoration,” says architect and professor at JNTU Sannihita Rao, who attended the conference and the walk. “There were instances during the conversation about adaptive reuse and how they could be used for cultural performances and more.” she adds.

The walk ended with a Qawwali performance by Pakistani singers Fariduddin Ayaaz and Abu Mohammad, something the foundation hopes to do a lot more of. “The vision is straightforward — to use culture as a tool for socio-economic development, just like education,” Ratish says.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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