Opened in 2018, the 90-acre Sunder Nursery, with its many gardens and monuments, has become Delhi’s great escape. Created and managed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, it has quickly grown to contain the multitudes of Delhi and has become a little city of its own; and like all cities, it has its landmarks, neighbourhoods and communities. There is the 30-acre Wilderness zone. The air is full of birds and butterflies, and of secretive lives scurrying about in the dense undergrowth. There are 150 people who tend to the park; gardeners, masons, stone craftsmen, cleaners, and guards. The women employees wear saris with glowing colours. At 1pm sharp, they all open their lunch boxes in their working areas, turning the whole garden into a canteen. There is also a tiny amphitheatre at the edge of the Wilderness that has been the meeting point of the so-called Silent Book Club. Members go there with their own book of the day, and where they all sit together, reading.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has accepted a request by the Afghan government to include the western city of Herat among world cultural heritage sites. The city of Herat, with many historical sites and heritages, especially from the Islamic period, has always been one of the main destinations for foreign tourists in Afghanistan. Over the past two decades, renovation work has been done on a series of sites in Herat with the help of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF). There are several prominent sites in the city, including the shrine of Saint Khawja Abdullah Ansari, also known as Qal'ah-i Ikhtiyaruddin fort. “We are very happy that the activities that were carried out by the Aga Khan Foundation in recent years paved the way for Herat to be registered among the world heritage list,” said Arash Bostani from AKF.
The Resident lists an exhibition at the Aga Khan Centre as a main attraction in London in July 2021. Making Paradise is a new group exhibition exploring the concept of Eden through Islamic garden design at the Aga Khan Centre. The show brings together 19 international multimedia artists, each of whom will present an interpretation of the concept of Al-Jannah – the Garden of Eden, or Paradise in Islam – and will feature digital reproductions of classical miniature paintings from the Aga Khan Museum’s permanent collection alongside other depictions of elements associated with Paradise. The central focus of the show is a silent fountain, designed by renowned Islamic garden designer Emma Clark. From this will spring a bespoke paper-cut installation of organic forms, created by American artist Clare Celeste Börsch. The exhibition will also feature an installation of birdsong and nature sounds.
Over the weekend, Londoners were able to get a glimpse into the orient as artisan vendors were selling goods from countries along the historic Silk Road trading route. Supported by the Aga Khan Foundation, the bazaar was staged to compliment the similarly themed open-air photography exhibition currently featured in nearby Granary Square in London’s Kings Cross. Silk Road: A Living History documents photographer Christopher Wilton-Steer’s 40,000 kilometre journey along the world’s oldest trade route. Comprised of over 160 photographs, the exhibition invites viewers to take a journey from London to Beijing. The bazaar is a pilot project but both organisers and vendors say there is scope for it to happen more regularly.