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Cultural development - Overview

Cultural activities in India are undertaken by the the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). The largest cultural project to date has been the restoration and revitalisation of the Garden's of Humayun's Tomb, which has since expanded to the neighbouring Nizamuddin area, to Sundar Nursery and the restoration of a number of monuments in the historic district. In Hyderabad, a project to restore the Qutb Shahi tombs is also underway.

The Humayun’s Tomb - Sundar Nursery - Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal Project, in the heart of Delhi, India, combines a cultural heritage project with socioeconomic initiatives. The overall objective of the project is to improve the quality of life for people in the area while creating an important new green space for the people of Delhi and beyond.

The central water channel in the gardens of Humayun's Tomb Complex in Delhi.
AKTC / Christian Richters

Located in heart of New Delhi, the Nizamuddin heritage precinct comprises the areas of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, Sundar Nursery and the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb.

Named after the revered saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, who lived here in the early fourteenth century, the area has witnessed centuries of tomb building as it has been, and still is, considered auspicious to be buried near a saint’s grave.

Following the successful restoration of the Humayun’s Tomb gardens in 2004, the Urban Renewal project commenced with the signature of a Public-Private Partnership memorandum of understanding on 11 July 2007. 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. The project will unify the three zones into an urban conservation area of considerable breadth and cultural significance while improving the quality of life for resident population.

The project integrates conservation, socioeconomic development and urban and environmental development objectives in consultation with local communities and relevant stakeholders.  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. For more information, please see the independent Nizamuddin Renewal site.

Restoration of Humayun's Tomb, South Gate, New Delhi, India.