Delhi's Nizamuddin Basti gets two UNESCO recognitions

The revitalisation and conservation efforts undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture were awarded the Unesco Award of Excellence 2021 and special recognition for sustainable development.

Published: 02nd December 2021 12:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2021 08:04 AM   |  A+A-

Conseravtion efforts underway at Nizamuddin Basti

Conseravtion efforts underway at Nizamuddin Basti (Photo | Aga Khan Trust for Culture)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Urban revitalisation and conservation efforts initiated at Nizamuddin Basti, one of the oldest and historical settlements in the national capital, has received twin UNESCO recognitions: Award of excellence 2021 for cultural heritage conservation and recognition for sustainable development.

After migration from Badayun in UP sometime in the 1240s, noted Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya settled in a Delhi village Ghiyaspur, located on the tributary of River Yamuna, and later buried in the vicinity. The settlement that developed around his shrine came to be known as Nizamuddin Basti.

(From top) The Jama’at Khana masjid in
2008 and post renovation in 2018

“I am delighted to bring to your attention that UNESCO has conferred two major awards for the conservation efforts at Nizamuddin Basti, undertaken by Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in partnership with South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation and dargah committee and resident groups of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti,” said Ratish Nanda, CEO, AKTC.

The Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative was the only award-winning entry from India. The jury applauded this project for its “outstanding achievement in placing heritage at the heart of the sustainable development agenda” and noted that “through an innovative People-Public-Private Partnership model, the project overcame major socio-economic challenges, particularly for women and youth.”

The jury further stated: “It is notable that the development initiatives preceded the conservation efforts, which encompassed meticulous restoration of over 20 historic monuments around the 14th-century mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint. From conserving monuments to reviving local crafts, to improving the urban environment and creating new jobs, the project has brought about the revitalisation of the living historic urban landscape in its truest sense.”

Under the programme conducted by the AKTC, heritage buildings including prominent tombs such as Humayun’s Tomb, and its attached structures, gateways, pavilions, and enclosure walls, have successfully been conserved. Major works were undertaken to halt the deterioration that had set in as a result of past repairs with modern materials.

In a nutshell 
The Nizamuddin Urban Renewal Initiative was the only award-winning entry from India. The jury applauded this project for its “outstanding achievement in placing heritage at the heart of the sustainable development and through an innovative People-Public-Private Partnership model


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