The Study Of the DDA Park suggests itself to be developed as an “Archaeological Park”. This is supported by the existence of many structures of heritage importance and the fact that it was the site of the deserted capitals, Llkot and Rai Pithora, from the 8th to the 12th century
This Project proposal originated and is an outcome of the research done in the report “INTEGRATED CONSERVATION OF MEHRAULI HERITAGE ZONE”. The proposal tried to communicated research findings about a specific part of Delhi by converting it into an “ARCHAEOLOGICAL Park”. In this way a new interpretation is given to a very historic area so as to be relevant in our contemporary times. It is hoped that just visiting the “ARCHAEOLOGICAL Park”. Will help in increasing awareness and heightening the perception of the people towards the city’s rich past. This will result in a positive attitude towards the past, which in long term will contribute towards conservation of the heritage of Delhi.
This Proposal has to be seen as a synthesis of the multi-disciplinary studies carried out during the study. It fits within the overall context of the report both in its approach and implementation strategy. It complements the concepts of “rediscovery of architecture”, holistic integrated conservation, asd decentralized planning which enhances public participation.
URBAN ISSUES ADDRESSED BY THE PROJECT
This project proposal is relevant today because it addresses a chain of crucial a urban issues identified by the report “ INTEGRATED CONSERAVATION OF MEHRAULI HERITAGE ZONE”. If left unaddressed these issues will form a vicious circle of actions that will snowball into the destruction of our heritage.
First, the migrant population that Delhi had to absorb from west Punjab and later from neighbouring states is the cause of the people’s general lack of awareness about their heritage. Most Citizens are aliens in their historic city. Second, accompanying socio – economic problems of such a phenomenon cause pressure to the historic areas as they absorb the incoming flow. The historic areas are continuously deteriorating because of the total absence of maintenance and upgradation programmes.
Third, the lacuna in our knowledge about our city’s historic architecture. For example, the 16th century chaumachi Tomb would have been lost even before we had documented an important period of Early Mughal architecture.
The general lack of awareness among people and lacuma in information about built heritage has resulted in the new development and architecture being detrimental to the historic fabric. This has resulted in the loss of Delhi’s historic architecture even before it has been “rediscovered”.
THE MEHRAULI HERITAGE ZONE
The study defined the extent and nature of the Heritage Zone for Mehrauli and identified Mehrauli as an area of special historic significance. The study utilized a “holistic” approach which considered architectural and natural environment in an integrated manner.
The Heritage Zone of Mehrauli consists of three distinct concentric zones with definite heritage characteristics requiring different techniques for conservation. Zone 1 comprises of the settlement of Mehrauli as per the administrative boundary. The emphasis was on architectural conservation and was managed by the local authority. Zone 2 consists of the kutb Complex, the area enclosed by the Lalkot walls, including jog maya temple, the mango orchards, the Hauz Shamsi, the DDA Park, the area east of Chattarpur road, including the numerou historic structured, the Metcalfe follies etc. The majority of the area is a designated park. Zone 3 is a buffer zone or a zone of transition between the historic settlement and the rest of the city.
Within the Heritage Zone numerous recommendations concerning efficient management strategy and major tasks such as upgradation of Historic housing areas, comprehensive identification of heritage, compilation of inventories were identified. The organization required for management was a totally decentralized one called the Integrated Conservation unit which relied on local community participation. This unit also tied up with the Delhi Administration’s departmental setup.
The problems already identified in Mehrauli will have to be first resolved if Mehrauli is to continue as a living, normal settlement. The dangerous trends observed such as indiscriminate commercialization slowing changing the residential character has to be stopped before the situation becomes irreversible. Therefore an analysis of zone 2 is essential.
The Mehrauli report confined itself to just one part of zone 2 namely the DDA Park. However, the richness of the findings in the DDA Park suggests that the entire are has to be carefully studied and documented.
DDA PARK – SUMMARY OF STUDIES CONDUCTED IN THE REPORT
The DDA Park was a case study area in the report. Three types of studies were conducted to understand the park. The first was a study of the historical development, second an inventory of landscape analysis. Later special areas such as Thomas Metcalfe’e Dilkusha estate with its gardens, Hauz Shamsi, and Jharana a Late Mughal garden were studied to some detail.
Present day Mehrauli can be perceived as a series of influences going back over centuries forming a complex socio-cultural mosaic. The base layer is formed by the natural topography on a spur of the capitals of Lalkot and Rai Pithora extened over the eastern gentle slopes and on a high ground on which was situated the citadel. The third layer spans the 13th -18th century when the capital. The third layers spans the 13th-18th century when the capital shifted to siri some distance to the north during the regin of sultan Allaudin Khilji. It is in the 18th-19th century with the Late Mughal patronage the Mehrauli regained Its Importance but this settlement was situated on top of the ridge above the gentle slopes of Lalkot and Rai Pithora,. This unique historic development pattern of continious shifts and change in habitation has resulted in the deserted capitals which suggests that it be developed as an “Archaeological Park”.
The other unique characteristic is the constantly changing status of Mehrauli. From capital to ordinary settlement to Imperial retreat to local administrative headquarters to an “urban” village. The inventory proved that even when the capital shifted the DDA Park area continued to grow and thrive inferring from the numerous structures in the park.
Inventory of standing structures
About seventy structures were observed in the DDA Park ranging from the earliest slave time to colonial times. Most of the structures date before 17th century. Beautiful water structures were observed namely baolis, wells and tansks. Mosques range from Kutub Mosque being the largest to numerous wall mosques. Different kinds of historic gardens were identified the most famous being the landscape garden of Thomas Metcalfe. Runis and fragment were dotted all over the park. Stables and other service structures were also found. The park also has its share of tombs and graves of a wide variety. The range and type of buildings demonstrate that the park supported a large population judging by the capacity of the surviving mosques. Very few residential structures were identified.
A general landscape analysis of this park showed that this area contained substantial quality of significant spaces, high points, view points, heritage trees, archaeological and architectural structures in the landscape, water structures and hydrological features. There are also many gardens both of the Mughal period and colonial. At least three different orchards were observed.
The interpretation and evaluation of the findings resulted in the entire are be renamed as an “ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK”. These studies revealed many fascinating aspects such as the true nature of its archaeological and architectural value. It potential for the city of Delhi. Also its richness in natural qualities should not be underestimated. But the greatest discovery was the the historic structured within the park utilized its landscape potential to the maximum.
THE NEED FOR AN “ARCHAELOGICAL PARK”
A New identity is requited for the DDA Park because with its current designation and management policy, the archaeological and architectural heritage content within the park is gravely threatened. The interventions presently carried out by the Horticulture Department of DDA is presently carried out by the Horticulture Department of DDA is detrimental to its cultural values. Even in horticulture aspect the historic planting patterns have to be first Understood. Planting bourgainvillia as a blanket planting policy is limited. Also it was strongly felt that in this site the built heritage takes first priority and the natural / environmental values only complement the cultural.
Definition of “Archaeological Park”
An Archaeological Park can be defined as a park where historic structures and built heritage takes priority over nature, Built heritage is inclusive of underground heritage, archaeological sites, standing monuments and historic structures. The high priority given to built heritage ensures the underground areas to be protected till resources can be found for excavation. The historic gardens have to be carefully conserved. In the Archaeological Park the heritage will be interpreted and communicated to the visitors.
The Archaeological Park at Mehrauli Will serve the city.
The deserted capitals of Rai Pithora and Lalkot Will become The Archaeological park for the people of Delphi. The surviving structures and vegetation can tell us many stories:
Walls and gateways:
The military architecture and the grim wars that were fought.
water storage & distribution system of 12-14th centuries
Gardens & orchards:
historic landscapes and ingenious use of site features such as high point
THE PROJECT SITE
The Ideal situation will be to extend the Archaeological Park on all sides so as to cover the entire Zone 2. The legal status of the land within zone 2 varies; the kutub complex is owned by the Archaeological Survery of India (ASI) while the large tracts around the Jogmaya temple belongs to the temple Trust. The DDA Park is owned by Delhi Administration.
The site for the proposed Archaeological Park will be confined to the DDA Park due to the convenience of already being designated as a District Park and under the ownership of Delhi Adminstration. This is treated as an experiment and I is hoped that the success of this project will persuade private owners to cooperate and develop the adjoining areas which are as historic as the DDA Park.
In recent times there has been an increasing awareness to the importance and relevance of traditional historic areas in our contemporary lives. The extension of the planning process to integrate historic areas of the city will establish a sense of continuity in our lives. This is crucial to cultural survival in our rapidly changing society.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
The main aim of this project is to introduce the past to THE PEOPLE through innovative and enjoyable ways. To perceive the city as a pluralistic entity with layers of heritage. To be able to experience and perceive the city unfold itself in its many layers. This will build a positive attitude towards the city amongst the people.
It is hoped that introducing the historic, environmental, traditional housing areas, man-made landscapes, urban and old village facets of Mehrauli will enhance perceptual, evaluative, experiential amd analytical capacities of the people.
Numerous organization and institutions, both private and government, have joined the “conservation movement”. Commercial packages in the form of auio visuals, glossies, television series and coffee-table books are doing brisk business and earning good money for entrepreneurs. However, they have limitations as their targets are cofined to tourists and elitists.
Unfortunately, no real breakthrough can be observed in the attitude towards heritage among the ordinary people. The professional in the field of urban conservation are highly prescriptive and talk a lot about “ awareness” to built heritage but this is restricted to lip service. There is agreement in the fact that historic areas are fascinating, They have a lot to give. Only knowledge of the past planning and building techniques nicely integrated with modern amenities can produce good quality contemporary environment. This task of “finding our” is complex and requires researchers. The knowledge thus obtained is to be simplified and interprteted and made available to others in a variety of ways.
We all know that positive participation in city development activities is the solution. But this will occur only when a thorough knowledge about our historic buildings and areas is gained through a methodical and sustained “rediscovery of Indian Architecture”. This implies massive research and then its interpretation and communication to the people.
Therefore, this project tried to resolve the vicious circle of urban problem through an Archaeological Park. It has the potential of inspiring people positively. This project attempts to induce a long term process. Here the emphasizes the positive attitude of concentrating society Delhi to contribute towards presenting this historic site through a sense of rediscovery instead of criticizing what others are doing in the name of heritage management.
Hence, the project tries to link three areas that can bring about a positive public participation:
- Crucial problem of lack of info in Delhi
- Problem of lacuna about Built heritage
- A sense of rediscovery for the citizens
Active participation from all sections of community is essential to safeguard heritage of Mehrauli. This experiment involves interpretation and communication of research work done in architecture and urban history..
This project ARCHAEOLOGICAL PRAK AS A “PLAYGORUND” FOR REDISCOVERY attempts to intensify awareness in citizens to their city’s history. It is true that people have to be aware of the city if they are to participate and contribute in its future.
This project, instead of providing prescriptions, finds a positive way to increase awareness. Through a series of simple organized activities people will be given opportunities to observe, the “rediscovery of Indian architecture” is achieved by a first hand relationship with built environment and local heritage. Once this contact with built environment and pride in our heritage is established, we’ll have citizens who can participate actively and contribute responsibly in the development of the City.
DESIGN BRIEF FOR ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK
The Concept and priorities of the Archaeological park has been establish. Authenticity is an important aspect and must be followed. This part envisages the activities and the resulting requirements which will form the basis for his development.
The Various Structures, gardens have to be linked effectively through a system of pathways. The structures have to be communicated and present competently, hence a policy and system has to be workd out. Presentation of the military architecture of the old capitals in situ and in other media will stories to tell that can be imaginatively conveyed.
The different natural features such as circulation system. The tress have to be labelled. The spatial quality and diversity found within the park itself makes it an enjoyable experience.
Adequate visitor facilities provision. Parking for 500 cars a visitor Interpretation and orientation centre, Museums with displays linked to the site. Amenities for visitor.
Acitivities form active to passive to be provided. Nature and heritage trails of varying complexity for different the young and adventurous. Audio visual medium for the less energetic. It is possible for at least two exhibition displays on local architecture.
Some walks and trails through the park:
- Through the Archaeological Park.
- for the natural and walking only – up to the high points and down the valleys, streams and pools
- flora and fauna – trees etc
- a mix
- rock climbing
- Lalkot. Resource person RN
- Kutub Complex. RN
- The historic gardens
- The orchards
ROLE OF CONSERVATION SOCIRTY DELHI
As there are many different professionals who are members of the Conservation Society, a multi disciplinary core team comprising architects, landscape architects, historian will be formed to make a overall proposal, a master plan fulling the design brief mentioned previously. A set of drawings explaining the design with an accompanying written statement.
IDENTIFICATION AND ROLE OF AMERICAN PARK SERVICE
A project like this is complex and requires various specialists. Specialist input will improve the quality of the design. In some of the specialist areas mentioned, the American park Service has plenty of experience. The same expertise however is not easily available in India. It is hoped that this will infuse some new creativity in the design.
The special enter expertise evisages from the American Park Service can be summed up as follows:
- An Archaeologist with specialization in Madieval Indian Archaeology with a wide and varied experience in surface and urban archaeology.
- Specialist to help with the latest techniques in interpretive communication in visitor facilities and presentation of historic structures.
- Site management expert with long and pioneering experience in the development and management of complex sites.
- Economist. A very special kind of of economist with experience in quantifying the impact the park will have on the overall economic development of the region in terms of the generation of new employment trends.
- Museum expert. There will be at least two new museum as part of the visitor facilities, one on early Islamic Period and the other on the Late Mughal period (18th and 19th century).
The Conservation Society wull try to raise funds locally from the Delhi Administration for the preparation of the Mastreplan and its revision. It is yet to apply.
THE PROJECT TASKS
Analysis of Zone 2:
The problems already identified in Mehrauli will have to be first resolved if Mehrauli is to continue as a living, normal settlement. The dangerous trends observed such as indiscriminate commercialization slowing changing the residential character has to be stopped before the situation becomes irreversible. Therefore an B
The solution envisages a development area to be developed near the neighbouring Kishangadh village side to relieve commercial pressure in the central spine of Mehrauli. Some modifications in the physical boundary of Zone 2 is required to improve access to Mehrauli from the Jawaharlal Nehru Universty side.
The Archaeological Park, when developed, will act as an economic catalyst to the settlement.
Preparation of a Draft Materplan for the Archaeological Park.
The Draft Masterplan will comprise an interpretation of the design brief communicated through a set drawings and a written statement. This will be prepared by the Core Group of CSD.
The masterplan prepared by the Core Team will be discussed in different forums including citizens. A series of presentation tp experts identified and the specialist will be introduced to the task and input expected.
Submission of Specialist input by Experts identified.
Presentations will be made by the specialists and discussions will follow.
The core group will revise the masterplan after incorporating experts input etc. This final masterplan will be put forward to Delhi Administration for implementation.
This project proposal is submitted for approval. There is no doubt that this project has potential and the challenge it presents to the professional tremendous. Many points mentioned can be further elaborated but that can be done as an exrcise along with the master plan.