The city of Delhi contains a multitude of important historic structures, including the World Heritage sites of Qutb Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Red Fort. Other significant monuments, such as the Old Fort and Jama Masjid, are on popular tourist circuits, and yet many equally significant sites are tucked into the sprawling city, lying outside of most visitors’ itineraries.
How We Helped
In preparation for the XIX Commonwealth Games, held in October 2010, the Delhi Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) proposed the creation of a network of heritage routes to highlight the city’s rich history. WMF sponsored this initiative through a grant awarded by American Express. The plan featured landscape upgrades and improved signage for the monuments along the route from Humayun’s Tomb to the Red Fort. This “heritage route” extends across a distance of six miles and connects the numerous heritage sites along the way. Clean-energy “hop-on, hop-off” buses along the route streamline the flow of visitors and reduce congestion in a city plagued by traffic jams and smog. The project has included the design of walking tour booklets and brochures on individual sites, and the introduction of improved visitor amenities. In addition, some thirty tour guides will be trained to give heritage walks. An exhibition titled Delhi: A Living Heritage, showcasing the diversity and integrity of the city’s heritage, was mounted at the Indira Gandhi Center for The Arts in conjunction with the games. In February 2013, at a ceremony at the Delhi Secretariat, representatives from WMF, INTACH, and the city government commemorated the publication 20 booklets and 18 walking maps that cover the entire gamut of heritage sites in Delhi
Why It Matters
The Delhi Heritage Route represents a visionary approach for the understanding of the mechanics of tourist circulation around a city that, for most visitors, has conjured up images of romantic chaos. WMF has worked closely with local partners in Delhi to develop this much-needed heritage route, and the project has succeeded in fostering the participation of many stakeholders. At a time when Delhi has been undergoing major infrastructure improvements, this sustainable tourism effort has been a valuable initiative, allowing a smooth flow of tourist traffic to important monuments dotted throughout the massive city.