Two conservation projects in Telangana bag UNESCO awards

The conservation project at Golconda created a renewed appreciation for the continued relevance of heritage-based solutions for sustainability. 

Published: 27th November 2022 05:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th November 2022 05:38 AM   |  A+A-


UNESCO (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Edging past 287 entries from 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, two projects in Telangana have been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation for the year 2022. The awards recognise conservation efforts of private individuals.

While the Domakonda Fort project won the Award of Merit, the Award of Distinction was bagged by the stepwells of Golconda. In a release, UNESCO said that 13 projects from six countries – Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Nepal and Thailand – were acknowledged for the awards by an international jury.

Restoration of Hyderabad stepwells a long-term vision, says UNESCO

Since 2000, the programme has been recognising the efforts of private individuals and organisations in restoring, conserving, and transforming structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. The awards are aimed at encouraging others to undertake conservation projects within their own communities, either independently or through public-private partnerships.

The UNESCO’s profile of the award-winning project stated that the restoration of the stepwells of Golconda was an ambitious, long-term vision for renewing the extensive complex of architectural and social spaces within the 16th century Qutb Shahi necropolis.  “In recovering the stepwells and associated water channels from a state of neglect and partial ruins, the project has revived the historic waterworks of irrigating the surrounding orchards and forests, thus enabling the holistic restoration of the historic landscape,” the profile said.

The conservation work was based on research and understanding of the original engineering technology and was carried out with careful attention to the appropriate use of traditional materials and techniques, it said. The conservation project at Golconda created a renewed appreciation for the continued relevance of heritage-based solutions for sustainability.  UNESCO said that the Domakonda Fort conservation effort is a private initiative that has successfully restored cultural space for the community, and the project has generated appreciation for creating community pride.

Expressing elation at the award, Anil Kamineni, one of the descendants of the erstwhile Domakonda Samasthan family, and his wife Shobana Kamineni, said that they obtained the required permissions from the Archeological department to take up the conservation of Domakonda Fort.

For the project, conservation architect Anuradha Naik was appointed the chief consultant. She commenced work at Domakonda Fort in 2011 and has completed most of the work by 2022. Local craftsmen were trained to a high level of proficiency and locally sourced material used to the greatest extent, Anil Kamineni said.

Anuradha Naik said: “The past decade has charted a challenging but very worthwhile journey, and this recognition by UNESCO is inspirational.”

“The process is truly sustainable with linkages between arts, crafts and culture, which is being promoted through our Domakonda Fort and Village Development Trust,” said Shobana Kamineni. “Conservation work is an ongoing process which was started a few decades ago by my father K Umapathy, and there is still work to be done,” said Anil Kamineni.


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