Dwarka Dheesh Mandir Temple is one of the oldest surviving haveli, or house-temple, complexes in Ahmedabad. The structure boasts two ornate wooden havelis, which are now called the Old Temple and New Temple. Both portions were remodeled by members of the Hindu Vaishnav sect in 1670, and the temple is still a pilgrimage destination for Vashnavites. Over time, lack of maintenance and imperfect repairs had undermined the structural integrity of the site. While the stability of the structure was already threatened by this decay, an earthquake in 2001 compounded the problems that required attention, as subsequent roof damage allowed water to penetrate the interior and accelerate the rotting of teak decorative carvings, columns, and brackets.
2002 World Monuments Watch
While the Shri Dwarkesh Smruti Navsanskaran Trust proposed to restore and stabilize both the New and Old Temples of Dwarka Dheesh Mandir to arrest the severe damage caused by the 2001 earthquake, the group struggled to secure the full funding necessary to complete all the conservation work. In 2003 WMF provided support through the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage to prepare a conservation management plan. This plan identified the work and continuing maintenance practices required to protect the site over the long term. The conservation program began in 2004, with work focusing on the Old Temple. The brick bearing walls and structural elements were consolidated, and the façade’s balcony railings, columns, and carvings were then reassembled in their original locations. The work was completed in 2006.
Dwarka Dheesh Mandir Temple is one of India’s oldest surviving havelis. It is also one of India’s few remaining examples of wooden temple architecture in an urban setting. The architecture of the temple is distinguished by the delicately carved teak wood ornamentation of the façade, which includes exceptionally crafted beams, brackets, columns, and cornices.