New Delhi: Restoration and conservation
efforts of Chausath Khamba, a 16th century Mughal-era monument
in Nizamuddin here has received a boost in the form of a
grant of Rs 96 lakhs by Germany.
German Ambassador to India, Thomas Matussek today
signed a memorandum of understanding with Aga Khan Trust for
Culture for restoration and urban renewal of Chausath Khamba.
"We are giving our own contribution for this holy
place of Nizamuddin which has rich spiritual heritage.
Religion has extended its peaceful message from this place and
we want to conserve this heritage for future generations to
see," said German Ambassador, Thomas Matussek.
Praising India`s multi-cultural society, he said,"its
an example for Germany as majority of Hindus live in peace and
harmony with minorities here. Our country is debating
multiculturalism. There is need to interact with different
communities. You cannot live in islands of isolation."
"We can learn from India as different religions have
co-existed here for centuries," he added.
Chausath Khamba is the tomb of Mirza Aziz Kokaltash,
the great Mughal emperor Akbar`s foster brother. It was built
in 1623-24 AD. The monument has suffered severe decay due to
excessive water seepage and inappropriate repair work using
modern material in 20th century.
"This is the only Mughal-era building fully made up of
marble. Its roof has a lot of deposition of concrete and its
foundation has also suffered. It needs full restoration. We
expect to complete the work in two years," said Ratish Nanda,
Project Director, Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Conservation of the tomb will also be coupled with
facade and housing improvement of the surrounding houses. The
project is the first of its kind to combine conservation with
environmental and socio-economic development while working
with the local communities and stakeholders.
"Our main purpose is to improve the quality of life of
the people living here. We are making roads, parks and school
here. Women are also being trained in handicraft work. In all,
we want to revive the culture and spirit of Ghalib and Amir
Khusrau," said Nanda.
The project will be undertaken as part of the
Humayun`s Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban
renewal initiative, a not-for-profit public private
partnership project of the Aga Khan Development Network in
association with the Archaeological Survey of India, Municipal
Corporation of Delhi and the Central Public Works Department.