Deccan Heritage And Conservation Trust Strive To Conserve City’s Treasures

Deccan College Pune

Pune has a number of heritage and cultural sites that are endangered and in need of restoration. The city, quite recently, has seen the demolition of a heritage chowkey outside the Savitribai Phule Pune University. Heritage is under a constant threat from the ongoing civic development but more importantly from ignorance.

Deccan Heritage and Conservation Trust (DHCT) was formed in September 2017 by Vishva Mohan Sharma, a civil engineer, with several of his colleagues and associates.

“There are members in this trust who come from versatile backgrounds. Some are architects, archaeologists and academicians including 14 Vice Chancellors from different universities in India. We have noticed that there isn’t much ground work done on a scientific basis with respect to heritage. It is almost always limited to research. There aren’t many engineers or field experts and that is what is lacking.”

One of their first projects that is scheduled to begin early December is conserving the main building of Deccan College Post Graduate and Research Institute. “It is a very timely process. We have conducted extensive research and planning to go about executing it. We may also partner an institute in Austria, for a cloth painting workshop at Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum. There are a lot of projects in the pipeline,” explains Sharma, President, DHCT.

Speaking of the untapped sites and structures in Pune, he adds that there are many in the city and the country that need recognition and preservation.

“There is a temple in Rasta Peth which is made from very unique basalt stones. The area around it has been encroached so it is being looked into. Ghorpade Ghat is another such ignored site. There is a samadhi of Ahilyabai Holkar next to Holkar Bridge as well.”

Pune is also listed as one of the smart cities. Development regarding this has already begun but only in areas like Aundh and Baner. But what about bringing in heritage to co-exist with the smart city initiative? On this, Sharma says, “It will be very challenging for the civic body to develop along the Peth areas. I would suggest they revive the old water supply used in earlier times, since that meets their 24-hour water supply plan. The smartness needs to be effective.”

Not limiting their work to just Pune, DHCT is also planning projects beyond the city. “Our base is in the city, but we would like to take our work to different parts of the world. We have started from here, but we are moving forward. We are seeking ways to get more funding for projects and further investment.”

Vijayta Lalwani

Vijayta Lalwani

The young lady from Lagos has always been keen on a career in journalism. Pune365 was hence the right stop. We agree.
Vijayta Lalwani