Conservation and Landscape Restoration of the Batashewala Complex Supported by the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation

Standing to the north of the Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site, the 11 acre “Batashewala Complex” includes two Mughal era tomb-garden enclosures within which stand three tombs, of national importance, and protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). They are a significant part of the 16th century Mughal necropolis adjacent to the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, the 14th century Sufi saint who has been revered for seven centuries. The tomb of Mirza Muzaffar Hussain, grand-nephew of Emperor Humayun and son-in-law of Emperor Akbar, is the principal tomb in the complex.
The Chota Batashewala and the domed Mughal tomb can be considered contemporary because of their location in the complex and their architectural character.
In addition to their historical significance, their association with the Mughal royal family and the architectural significance of the unique plan for all three structures, the tombs stand within a significant archaeological zone comprising of other 16th and 17th century garden-tombs.

Impact
  • Conservation works have ensured long term preservation of three monuments of national importance. The tomb-garden setting of these monuments has also been restored.
  • Recovery of architectural integrity as a result of conservation of attached structures such as the enclosure walls.
  • Conservation works paved the way to expansion of the World Heritage Site boundaries which now includes the Batashewala complex into the Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site.
  • Conservation works carried out here using traditional tools and building techniques generated 100,000 man-days of work for traditional craftsmen.
  • The conservation effort provided on-site training opportunities for conservation professionals, students and craftsmen.
  • With linkages to Sundar Nursery, the conservation effort will help towards restoring linkages with other contemporary 16th century garden-tombs situated in Sundar Nursery.
  • An 11 acre space, rooted in history, yet up till now inaccessible to the public, has been returned to the people of Delhi.
  • Establishing a model conservation process and philosophy for India thus ensuring a revival of craft skills and creating employment opportunities for master-craftsmen.
  • Reviving lost craft techniques such as making glazed Mughal tiles and in turn establishing an internationally acceptable conservation policy.
  • Setting standards for archival research and documentation which would be available to a global audience.
Our Team

The restoration of the 11-acre “Batashewala complex” – undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey of India with a grant from the U.S Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. The complex includes three 16th century garden-tombs, including the tomb of Mirza Muzaffar Hussain, grand-nephew of Emperor Humayun and son-in-law of Emperor Akbar. The Complex, which is adjacent to the Humayun’s Tomb world heritage site, had suffered from decades of neglect and inappropriate development. The conservation efforts on the complex by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture began in 2011, following a US$ 750,000.00 grant from the U.S Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. The multi-disciplinary team worked towards reversing the damage through a painstaking, craft-based effort aimed at restoring the historic architectural character of the site. Traditional materials and building techniques were employed in order to replace 20th century alterations carried out with modern materials, such as cement. Portions of the structures and the enclosure walls – demolished in 1989 to create a camp site – were reconstructed. The Mughal char-bagh landscape design of the two enclosed gardens was restored. Trees favoured by the Mughals – mango, neem, citrus, amongst others – were planted.

  • Archaeological Survey of India
  • Aga Khan Trust for Culture
  • US Ambassadors’ Fund for Cultural Preservation
Upcoming Workshops and Events