The current guidelines for programs like HRIDAY focus on creating urban infrastructure for heritage assets in the city. While these are essential components for upgrading heritage zones and public spaces, such interventions will be more sustainable if informed by an understanding of the historical layers, associations, ritual processes and activities that have, and continue to shape these spaces. This was intended to be the principal focus of the study of the walled city of Ajmer and nearby Pushkar, Rajasthan, a project supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) through a Research Networking Grant for “Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India”. The
research was jointly conducted by Cardiff University, SPA Bhopal and DRONAH Foundation from January through December 2016.
Through the course of the research, prototypes of digital tools to contain images and information about the city, its history and heritage were created to allow reflection, exchange and dialogue among different groups. In a direct way, the research addresses the tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the context of rapid urbanisation in India. It integrates architectural history into the exploration, and prioritises the heritage conservation imperatives of urban planning. Recommendations for Adaptive Reuse of private historic structures emerging from the research project are intended to strengthen the HRIDAY objectives and support ongoing HRIDAY works in the area.