The Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in the presence of Chairman, Aga Khan Development Network, His Highness the Aga Khan laid the foundation stone of a Site Museum at the Humayun’s Tomb Complex in New Delhi today. Humayun’s Tomb is one of the 25 Adarsh or “model” monuments recently designated by the Union Ministry of Culture. Construction of the Site Museum is expected to take 30 months.
Appreciating the efforts of Aga Khan Development Network(AKDN) in around the Humayun Tomb complex, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that it is a classical example of synergy between the government and a non-profit organisation in preserving the heritage of the country and taking it to the world. The Minister said that the Site Museum will be a recognition of cultural heritage of the country and help promote tourism. India has a rich cultural heritage but we have not been able to bring it fully before the world, Dr Sharma added. The Site Museum will be one such effort to portray the great Indian history, the Minister elaborated.
His Highness the Aga Khan appreciated the government support to the path-breaking initiative of AKDN , the Urban Renewal Initiative, in revitalizing and unifying the three historical sites of Humayun’s Tomb, Nizamuddin Basti and Sunder Nursery into one unique heritage precinct. The Site Museum will provide a gateway to all the three and will give an insight into history of the Mughal empire, His Highness the Aga Khan explained.
The Archaeological Survey of India called for the creation of a Site Museum In response to the dramatic increase in visitors to the Humayun’s Tomb complex. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) – which has undertaken conservation works on over 50 monuments in Delhi, including the restoration of Humayun’s Tomb – proposed the construction of a state-of-the-art site museum to be built at the entrance to the World Heritage Site. The Ministry of Tourism has pledged Rs 49 Crores (US$ 8.0 million) towards the construction cost of the Site Museum.
The purpose of the Museum is to provide a better understanding of Mughal architecture and building craft traditions and it will also shed light on the development of the Nizamuddin area over the last millennium. Perhaps most significantly, it will highlight the area’s pluralist cultural traditions.
The Site Museum will include a permanent exhibit, galleries for temporary exhibits, an auditorium for film screenings, a souvenirs shop and a café. Live demonstrations of building crafts such as stonework and plaster work, as well as other prominent Mughal crafts, will be a permanent activity.
The sunken, low-profile design, which was inspired by the traditional baolis of northern India, ensures that the visual aesthetics of adjacent 16th century monuments, such as the Sabz Burj, Isa Khan’s Tomb and Sundarwala Burj, will not be disturbed.
Two million people visit the Humayan’s Tomb complex annually, including over 500,000 children. An even larger number of pilgrims – from across the world and of many faiths – visit the adjoining Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century Sufi saint.
Secretary Culture Mr Ravindra Singh, Secretary Tourism Dr Lalit Panwar and senior officials of Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Tourism and AKDN were present on the occasion.
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