Dehli Newsline
Express News Service
November 22, 2004

Capital venue for Aga Khan architecture award

New Delhi, November 22: This weekend will see the environs at Humayun’s Tomb come alive with an evening of history and architectural excellence. The tomb has been chosen as the venue for the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2004.

The awards mark the completion of the ninth cycle of the programme (2002-04) and will be announced by His Highness the Aga Khan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the chief guest at the ceremony.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 by His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, to ‘‘enhance the understanding and appreciation of Islamic culture as expressed through architecture’’. The venue of the award ceremony has gained significance over the decades (see box), chosen as they are for their historical importance in the Muslim world. Humayun’s Tomb fitted the bill, besides being an architectural benchmark.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture has contributed immensely to the beautification and maintenance of the historical structure. Now, authorities in charge at the complex are leaving nothing to chance. A quick spruce-up is underway, with feverish activity to give the monument a facelift. Besides, the pathways to the tomb are getting a layer of coarse red sand, setting off the lawns and the landscaped gardens.

‘‘The monument is being retouched for the award ceremony which will be held on November 27,’’ said an official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). ‘‘The entire complex is also being spruced up for the occasion. The banquet which will follow the award ceremony will be held at the adjoining Arab ki Sarai. We are leaving nothing to chance at all. The whole place is being pored over in detail.’’

The award, which carries a prize sum of $50,OOO, is given to projects which have attained the highest international standards of architectural excellence while reflecting the values of the primarily Muslim societies the projects are intended to serve. The award ceremony will be followed by the unveiling of a stamp at Agra Fort to commemorate the historical monument and celebrate the 2004 awards.