Sunder Nursery Heritage Park, New Delhi
Developed by: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
In India, the idea of heritage spans a wide and eclectic spectrum: from the monuments and iconic sites to the cultural continuities in everyday life. In a city like Delhi, where layers of history are juxtaposed on the land, the idea of conservation and restoration is often confronted with questions of authenticity, legibility, and contextual relevance. One can view the monuments and sites as relics and preserved ruins akin to objects in a museum or one can imagine these historic landscapes as spaces to encounter and contemplate a shared past.
The Sunder Nursery Heritage Park is a part-restoration, part-rejuvenation and part-landscape project undertaken continually over years by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Government and a network of experts, consultants, and stakeholders; agencies that have worked in numerous domains to re-vitalise a historic parcel of land and to enable it to be accessed, used, and cherished by the citizens of Delhi.
While the set of carefully planned interventions help cultivate a sense of shared ownership towards the numerous monuments and sites (tombs, gardens, plantations, and geographical features); the new programmatic additions (fountains, waterbodies, lawns, amphitheatre, and public utilities) bring renewed meaning and vitality to the space for the citizens. The project is also able to cohesively amalgamate the otherwise neglected structures in the vicinity of the Humayun’s tomb.
Following a model for a public-private partnership, this project presents a unique precedent – a model for mobilisation of resources and public will in the favour of conservation and revitalisation of heritage. Through persistent collaborative efforts and a long-term vision, a forgotten landscape is brought back into public imagination and therefore, the project for Sunder Nursery Heritage Park is a Citation Project for The Merit List.
Images & Drawings: courtesy Aga Khan Trust for Culture