In 2011, World Monuments Fund began working with the Madhya Pradesh government to realize a project that would document and conserve a selection of sites across the state. The Madhya Pradesh Cultural Project is a multi-disciplinary undertaking that also seeks to build local capacity through peer collaboration and skill-building workshops. Among the sites deemed most suitable for primary intervention were the palaces, temples and cenotaphs, or chhattris, in the town of Orchha, located along the Betwa River. The group reflects the diversity of the state’s heritage, with buildings and fortification walls that span a number of significant time periods in Indian history.
How We Helped
As part of the Madhya Pradesh Cultural Project, WMF has completed total station surveys and site plans, architectural documentation drawings and inventories, condition analyses, and conservation plans for many of Orchha’s most significant sites. Working with the government of Madhya Pradesh, WMF is now supervising a range of conservation projects. At Unthkana, believed to have been built in the late sixteenth century and used as a baradari, or outdoor pavilion, WMF repaired the terraces, paving, and finishes. At Hammam Khana, a bath house, WMF cleared vegetation and trees that were affecting the structural integrity of the building. In addition, conservation projects are underway at Laxmi Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, Two Khandar, Chaturbhuj Temple, Raja Mahal, and Radhika Raman Temple. Work is expected to continue through 2017.
Why It Matters
The Madhya Pradesh Cultural Project will serve as a model for the sustainable management of conservation projects in India and around the world. The state of Madhya Pradesh has a large number of cultural resources and given its proximity to Delhi and Agra has a great potential for tourism. WMF’s work on a portfolio of important heritage sites in the state in partnership with the government is a significant first step toward securing some of Madhya Pradesh’s most important monuments, many of which are located in Orchha.