Sabz Burj is prominently sited and can be precisely dated to the onset of Mughal rule in Delhi. It is unique for its architectural style and treatment and as with most of the monumental tombs standing in Nizamuddin area. it suffered from neglect and vandalism reducing the magnificent structure to a roadside ruin. Conservation works being undertaken here are aimed at enhancing the architectural significance of the monument using traditional tools and techniques to recover the lost grandeur of this important structure, located within the buffer zone of the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb.
Following the completion of conservation of the Baoli, conservation effort a now focussed on the western facade where in addition to planned conservation works of Gogabai Tomb, Chini ka Burj, alterations to a residential structure are being carried out to restore the arcade seen in archival images.
The project will follow an urban conservation approach by integrating conservation works with redevelopment of the Sabz Burj roundabout to act as a connection and a grand point of entry to the Nizamuddin heritage zone. The roundabout will act as grand urban junction with an extended pedestrian plaza to announce the cultural and historical importance of the area, acting as a gateway to this historic district of Delhi.
Following the UNESCO revision of the world heritage site boundaries in 2016, Sabz Burj is now in the buffer zone of the Humayun’s Tomb World Heritage Site. Therefore, conservation works to be undertaken here will be guided by prevalent national and international norms and charters. The proposed works will follow a craft based approach to conservation and employ the use of traditional materials and craftsmanship to undo the loss of original fabric due to decay, neglect and inappropriate 20th century intervention.
The conservation works will be preceded by a systematic and scientific documentation of the monument, archival research and detailed condition mapping – using 3D laser scanning technology - to understand the extent and nature of the decay, informing a Conservation Plan for the complex, with inputs from a multi-disciplinary team.
Conservation of Sabz Burj will allow the learnings from the Humayun’s Tomb Conservation project, especially the revival of tile making traditions to be practiced by master craftsmen trained in the skill by Uzbek master craftsmen, employed by AKTC.
The urban conservation of the proposed project area presents a unique situation, especially when there are no urban conservation references or models of such grand scale executed anywhere in India. A very complex and layered historic area, the conservation approach will be informed by an approach that is effective, viable and sustainable.
At the entrance to the Interpretation Centre/ Site Museum stands the early 16th century monument of Sabz Burj, possibly the earliest Mughal structure in Delhi. Over 6 million individuals view the magnificent yet presently ruinous structure located on the busy Mathura Road every year. AKTC is seeking from Havell’s co-funding to undertake the conservation of Sabz Burj. This initiative brings together world class professional capabilities in all relevant areas and combines a visionary approach with local contexts and complexities. It is establishing an archetype for participatory conservation-led development with respect for historic cities and their human, cultural, and physical assets, and showcasing a unique and effective approach to the revitalisation of historic urban centres by simultaneously focussing on conservation of protected and unprotected monuments, public space enhancement, environmental upgrading together with the physical upgrading of adjacent living areas, vocational training, employment generation, upgrading essential facilities such as in the education and health sectors, amongst key proposed interventions.