Delhi, India, 22 November 2011 -- Humayun’s Tomb, one of India’s 26 World Heritage Sites, is visited by over 300,000 school children every year. But until recently, they did not have a child-friendly guide book to the site.
With the launch of “Let’s Explore Humayun’s Tomb”, that is set to change. The guidebook, authored by Dr Narayani Gupta and illustrated by Ms Anitha Balachandran on behalf of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, was printed with support by the Ford Foundation. Over 60,000 copies – 30,000 each in Hindi and English – have been published by the Archaeological Survey of India.
On the occasion of the book’s launch, India’s Minister of Culture, Kumari Selja, said, “I hope the guidebook will help involve children in the preservation effort from an early age and inspire many of them to become archaeologist, architects, and historians as we need many more people to become involved in protecting and presenting India’s built heritage or at least to be concerned about protecting what our ancestors built before us.”
AKTC has been working at the Humayun’s Tomb site for over a decade. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Indian independence, AKTC decided to sponsor the restoration of Humayun’s Tomb Gardens - a four-part paradise garden (chahâr-bâgh) – in what was the first privately funded restoration of a World Heritage Site in India. Completed in March 2004 through the joint efforts of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the aegis of the National Culture Fund, the project restored the gardens, pathways, fountains and water channels surrounding Humayun’s Tomb according to the original plans of the builders.
Following the successfully restoration of the Humayun’s Tomb gardens, AKTC began work on a more ambitious project to improve the quality of life in surrounding areas. The Humayun’s Tomb - Sunder Nursery - Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal Project, which began in 2007, integrates conservation, socioeconomic development and urban and environmental development objectives in consultation with local communities and relevant stakeholders. The non-profit partnership includes the Archaeological Survey of India, the Central Public Works Department, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the Aga Khan Foundation and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Since its inception, the project has attracted additional partners and received co-funding from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, Ford Foundation, World Monuments Fund, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, the Embassy of the United States, J.M. Kaplan Fund, amongst others.