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The Venkata Bhavan of Domakonda Fort.
| Photo Credit: Arrangement

Telangana scored a double win at the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation with a Distinction of Merit for the restoration of the stepwells inside the Qutb Shahi Tombs Complex in Hyderabad and an Award of Merit for the conservation work on the Domakonda Fort in Kamareddy district. The awards were announced today at Bangkok.

The 17 th century stepwells inside the Qutb Shahi tombs complex were in a state of ruin and were disused. It was only after the Aga Khan Trust for Culture signed an agreement with the State Government that the wells were restored, beginning with the Badi Baoli. The latest restoration was that of the eastern baoli whose restoration function was attended by Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development K.T. Rama Rao.

“It is an incredible feeling that AKTC has won an award for the third year in running. There is a nature and culture linkage that heritage sites demonstrate. They can address climate change with net-zero water requirement. The restoration of wells show how conservation of heritage sites can have multiple objectives,” said Ratish Nanda, CEO of Aga Khan Trust for Culture which is restoring the Qutb Shahi Tombs Complex with a private-public partnership model which includes the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Tata Trusts, US Ambassadors Fund and other partners.

In contrast, the Domakonda Fort is a private property and was built in the 18 th century with an amalgam of styles including stucco work, arched pillars, flat ceiling, and a courtyard with a water garden pond. The fort was part of the celebration of the marriage function of Upasana Kamineni (a scion of the family that built the fort) and actor Ram Charan in 2012.

“I am feeling very proud as it was a challenging project and its has been a rewarding experience. I worked with local craftsmen, sourced local materials, so that it is a sustainable project with low-carbon footprint. We trained the craftsmen and had workshops from the time I began working on the project in 2011,” said conservation architect Anuradha Naik about the award for Domakonda Fort.

The citation for Domakonda fort recognises: “The project applied original construction techniques and authentic materials and trained local artisans in traditional building skills. The involvement of villagers during the restoration process and in the operations of the fort ensures direct benefit for the community.”



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