Delhi has several monuments dating back to the Mughal era decorated with traditional tile work - predominantly blue Persian tiles - that are in need of conservation and restoration.
A week-long workshop organised by UNESCO has now thrown open several possibilities of exchange of conservation practices between countries, which may be helpful in restoring the magic of the by-gone era.
A hallmark of the Mughal style of architecture, these tiles were brought all the way from Iran (Persia in those days). The exchange programme is a shot in the arm for conservationists because neither the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has the expertise to conserve and restore these tiles in the authentic way nor do any local manufacturers have the same quality of tiles.
According to DG (ASI) KN Shrivastava, the workshop focuses on identification, conservation and site management. As many as 38 experts from 10 countries — Afganistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and India — are part of this workshop on ‘Conservation and Management of Mughal, Timurid and Mughal Architecture’, where they are exchanging views and sharing expertise on conservation and site management practices.
Keeping in line with the theme, experts from Iran and Uzbekistan spoke on conservation of such tiles carried out by them and the prevailing practices in their respective countries.
“This kind of interaction has paved the way for a possible exchange in the future wherein we can think of either bringing in their experts or sending our people to these countries for training in conservation of tile work,” officials said.
UNESCO representative Dr Roland LIN Chih-Hung told Hindustan Times, “We are looking at enhancing conservation sphere by working on four Cs - conservation, cooperation, communication and capacity & community - through such workshop.”
The experts visited the Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar on Tuesday. The team will also visit the Red Fort and three places in Agra, including the Taj Mahal, during the workshop.