At the heart of the ancient city of Nagaur, one of the first Muslim strongholds in northern India is the fort of Ahhichatragarh, built in the early 12th century and repeatedly altered over subsequent centuries. The project for its rehabilitation, involving the training of many artisanal craftsmen, adhered to principles of minimum intervention.
Materials and construction methods of an earlier era were rediscovered, paintings and architectural features conserved, and the historic pattern of access through seven successive gates re-created. The finding and restoration of the intricate water system was a highlight: 90 fountains are now running in the gardens and buildings, where none were functional at the project’s outset. The fort’s buildings and spaces, both external and internal, serve as a venue, stage and home to the Sufi Music Festival.
The capacity for transformation of architectural heritage is embodied in the Ahhichatragarh Fort. Although the built environment has been restored to what it was, now it comes into the public realm rather than being a private edifice. Its cultural significance can be a part of a museum. A link between the historic past and the probable future is established here. Conservation implies that the monument is fit for use in the future, hopefully for generations to come. The past is assigned a new function, not only as a tourist attraction but also a live research site. The scope for interpretation is extensive in such work, where accurate history is missing. The site's conserved conditions will have a latent power to "plug into" the history.