Newsletter, January – March 2023
Greetings from the Deccan Heritage Foundation
We write with great pleasure to update you on our many activities since the last DHF newsletter, sent just as the global lockdown was announced. We were lucky to be able to continue work after only a short interruption and have completed our involvement at several sites, turning them back to their local communities. Read below to find out the latest on all of our endeavours, from conservation to tours and another successful annual lecture series.
As always, our work is informed by our unique vision and mission :
By partnering with experts and local residents, we protect, restore and promote the heritage of this rich region of South India through active architectural conservation projects that are socially minded and benefit those who live amongst them.
Our latest activities
This month we share the exciting news of our new website. Brimming with interesting content about our restoration projects, webinars and publications, this website is designed to be more user-friendly and engaging—and entice new supporters to join our efforts in the Deccan. Make sure to bookmark the address, https://www.deccan-heritage-foundation.org/, and watch our promotional video, “Introducing the DHF”.
Gagan Mahal Pavilion at Anegundi, Koppal, Karnataka
The Gagan Mahal pavilion in Anegundi is situated across from the ruins of the medieval city of Hampi Vijayanagara, for which the DHF is preparing an Archaeological Atlas. Restoration of this outstanding example of sixteenth century palace architecture was completed in the summer of 2022 under the direction of the Bengaluru office of the DHF. The building is once again the centre of village economic and social activity, and is available to the community of Anegundi for the enhancement of their skills and livelihood. The site also hosted Independence Day celebrations in August 2022.
For more about the Gagan Mahal, click here
Rang Mahal Gateway and Gardens at the Hyderabad Residency, Telangana
Since 2015, the DHF has been working to revitalize the campus of the Telangana Women’s University in Hyderabad, which started life in 1803 as the British Residency. The latest phase of this project turned to the Rang Mahal gateway and the adjoining gardens. These gardens once surrounded the Residency and provided a grand vista from the Musi River. Our research has revealed the original design of their plantings, fountains and walkways, and completion of the first stage of restoration was celebrated at an event on January 15, 2023.
To read more about the Residency complex and all the works being undertaken, click here
Annual Lecture Series with art historian Molly Aitken
Molly Emma Aitken was the distinguished speaker for the 2022-23 DHF annual lecture series. Turning her inquiring eye and unique scholarly perspective to paintings from the Deccan, Aitken gave lectures in Hyderabad and Bengaluru on the theme of ‘Dangerous Enchantments: The Painted Melodies of Yoginis’. The program in Hyderabad was fittingly hosted in the Rang Mahal garden, and Sri Ganesh, the DHF’s landscape consultant, was able to identify the plants and flowers in many of the paintings shown by Professor Aitken.
For an audience in Mumbai, Professor Aitken spoke on the topic of ‘Surface, Depth, Bewilderment: Propositions for Thinking about the Feminine in the Paintings of Mughal India’.
Pachala Someshwara Temple in Panagal, Nalgonda, Telangana
The magnificent Pachala Someshwara Temple is next on the list for the DHF. Located in Panagal (a two hour’s drive from Hyderabad), this 12th century treasure preserves a quartet of small, towered shrines. The DHF is seeking funds to implement the restoration of the temple in collaboration with the Department of Heritage Telangana–and your support is needed!
To find out more about the proposed works and funding model, click here
To raise awareness of the site, the DHF organised a tour of the temple by archaeologist Dr. Emani Sivanagi Reddy of the PLEACH India Foundation on January 16, 2023. DHF supporters also toured the Kakatiya-era temples of Palampet and Ghanpur on January 13, 2023.
For details on Palampet and Ghanpur, and the conservation plan previously proposed by the DHF, read here
Finally, this winter our founders spent time in India visiting current and prospective restoration sites, meeting with potential donors, and researching a new guidebook on Mysuru. You will find more about the fruits of their productive visits in the coming issues of this newsletter.