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Six-year Project: Behind Rahim’s tomb restoration - 1,75,000 man-days and 3,000 craftsmen

22 December 2020

In New Dehli, Rahim Khan’s tomb was opened to the public earlier this week after six years of restoration work - perhaps the largest conservation project ever undertaken for any monument of national importance in India. In 2014, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) started the conservation of Rahim’s mausoleum. "Intense discussions with the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) led to the approval of a final conservation plan. The monument was at risk of immediate collapse at the time,” said Ratish Nanda, CEO of AKTC India. Over 3,000 individual craftsmen, including stone carvers, masons and lime plasterers, are estimated to have spent 1.75 lakh man-days on this massive conservation effort. But Nanda says supervision is critical in conservation work, and at Rahim’s mausoleum, it was even more critical as the intricate ornamentation needed to be restored and the condition of the building required complex underpinning of foundations and stitching of cracks.