Delhi, India, 17 December 2020 – The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), in partnership with the Archaeological Survey of India and the InterGlobe Foundation, completed the conservation of Abdur Rahim Khan-i-Khanan’s Mausoleum in Delhi, India, today.
Rahim, Commander-in-Chief of the Mughal army, was not only a noble in the court of Emperor Akbar, but he was also a statesman, courtier, linguist, humanitarian, patron and, above all, poet. However, it is the mausoleum he built in AD 1598 for his wife, Mah Banu, that is the grandest of his surviving buildings – inspired by the architectural style of Humayun’s Tomb and, in turn, inspiring the Taj Mahal. On his death, Rahim was also buried in this mausoleum.
Commenting on the project completion, Ms Rohini Bhatia, Chairperson, InterGlobe Foundation, said, “India is known for its cultural heritage, hence the preservation of our art and culture is essential for our identity. At InterGlobe Foundation, we strive to conserve the cultural heritage of our nation. Through restoration projects like Rahim’s tomb in Delhi and Indra Kund stepwell in Rajasthan, InterGlobe Foundation has impacted thousands of lives while successfully preserving the historical and cultural values that bind us as a nation”.
Ratish Nanda, CEO, Aga Khan Trust for Culture, added, “Conservation at Rahim's tomb has been possible with a public-private partnership. Not only has a significant monument been conserved for posterity but dignity has been restored to the resting place of the cultural icon, Rahim. Conservation in the Indian context can benefit from thousands of years of building craft traditions and recourse to an inter-disciplinary scientific approach. 175,000 craft days of work has helped restore this grandeur”.
When AKTC began work on the mausoleum, it was a ruin. Despite its immense historical, architectural and archaeological significance and its prominent location in central Delhi, Rahim’s mausoleum was risking collapse. In 2014, the inter-disciplinary AKTC team – with the support and partnership of InterGlobe Foundation and the Archaeological Survey of India – commenced a six-year conservation effort. This became the largest conservation effort ever undertaken at any single monument of national importance in India. It was also the first ever privately undertaken conservation effort under the “Corporate Social Responsibility” banner.
Conservation works commenced with challenging structural repairs – to fix the cracks that threatened the building with structural collapse and included restoration of the intricate ornamentation – in stone and lime plaster. Collapsed portions of the building were reconstructed using traditional materials and building crafts. Restoration of marble cladding was limited - to strengthen the base of the dome and to indicate to visitors the original finish of the dome. In all, 175,000 man-days of work by master craftsmen were undertaken as part of its conservation.
The conservation effort on the monument has included celebrating Rahim’s cultural legacy. Two major publications, “Celebrating Rahim” and, “Abdur Rahim Khan-i-khanan – Kavya, Saundarya, Sarthakta” have been produced.
For further information, contact:
Ms Ujwala Menon, AKTC: +91 firstname.lastname@example.org
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InterGlobe Foundation (IGF) is the CSR arm of the InterGlobe Group – a leader in Aviation, Hospitality and Travel related services. IGF is committed to building a society that is just, equitable, inclusive and utilises resources in a sustainable manner.
The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), has been working for over 20 years in the Nizamuddin precinct to conserve cultural heritage, improve quality of life of local communities and enhance visitor experience.