The initiative is a project of the Aga Khan Development Network

"The Trust has shown how culture can be a catalyst for development. The Trust’s support to historic communities demonstrates how conservation and revitalization of the cultural heritage - in many cases the only asset at the disposal of the community - can provide a springboard for social development. We have also seen how such projects can have a positive impact well beyond conservation, promoting good governance, the growth of civil society, a rise in incomes and economic opportunities, greater respect for human rights and better stewardship of the environment."

- His Highness the Aga Khan

The Nizamuddin Basti is one of Delhi’s oldest inhabited areas which evolved around the dargah of the 14th century Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya who, promoted universal peace and tolerance among people of different faiths. The Nizamuddin area has had significant cultural impact on a very wide expanse—across Central Asia and beyond—for over seven centuries.
This cultural heritage comprises not only the built heritage but also a living culture represented by the traditions at the Dargah, the famed cuisine, music and handicraft traditions. Sadly, rampant inappropriate developments over the last three decades have reduced the perception of Nizamuddin Basti from that of a cultural hub to a ghetto, discouraging visitors and encouraging crime.

Our Goal
Our Goal

Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti is part of a larger religio-cultural region of the sub-continent and has a life beyond the territory of Delhi. The Basti is intrinsically linked the way of life and tradition of the sub-continent people.

The objective of the cultural revival programme is to develop it into the historic and cultural center of Delhi by sensitively exploiting the rich cultural assets of the Basti, which in turn, will spark its socio-economic development and provide sustainability for the physical upkeep and uplifting of the traditional substance of the Basti. The Cultural Revival programme has also focused on documenting, interpreting and disseminating the legacy of its various cultural icons, whose literature, music, beliefs have been an influential impact on present day ‘Hindustani’ culture.

Our Programmes
Musical Initiatives
Aalam E Khusrau

Amir Khusrau was a 14th century poet, musician, courtier and historian par excellence. A cultural figure without parallel, he holds an exalted position in the international literary and cultural domains from Istanbul to Isfahan and Kabul to Rangoon.
Commenced in September 2009 with support from the Ford Foundation, Aalam-e-Khusrau programme worked on the documentation and dissemination of the multifarious contributions of the legendary Amir Khusrau through archiving, research, public performances, discussions and seminars, audio visual exhibitions, publications and fellowship and scholarship programme.

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Heritage Awareness Programmes
Celebrating Rahim

Abdur ‘Rahim’ Khan I Khanan or popularly known as Rahim, was one of Emperor Akbar’s navratans and a world renowned poet whose couplets continue to be taught even today.
Celebrating Rahim programme is aimed at disseminating Rahim’s literary works, including his dohe, and enhancing the understanding of both Rahim and culture of the early Mughal era, AKTC in partnership with InterGlobe Foundation undertook an intense cultural revival programme. Coupled with the conservation effort and the cultural programmes will enhance the city of Delhi and become a model for our shared tangible heritage to be conserved and presented in context and together with our remarkable pluralistic intangible heritage.

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Promoting Nizamuddin’s Culture
Heritage Awareness Programmes

Generating awareness on the tangible and intangible heritage of Nizamuddin area especially amongst school children and residents of Delhi has been a key project component.
The heritage walks led by the trained community members of Sair E Nizamuddin group has proved a success in imparting the relevance of cultural heritage to the visitors in the present context and establishes a continued relationship with the past. The community volunteers with a sense of great pride represent the cultural identity of the area which allows the visitor a different experiential learning. Over the years the heritage awareness programme has been established with many government and private schools in Delhi and NCR.

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Promoting Nizamuddin’s Culture
Promoting Nizamuddin’s Culture

The area adjoining the Dargah is dotted with monuments representing over 700 hundred years of building traditions.
The project documented Nizamuddin Area’s tangible and intangible heritage to understand the cultural assets of the area. The basti is intrinsically linked the way of life and tradition of the sub-continent people. Through initiatives like the Apni Basti Mela, World Heritage Day, and cultural mapping of the area, the project is working towards developing Nizamuddin into the historic and cultural center of Delhi. These initiatives will spark the socio-economic development of the residents and provide sustainability for the physical upkeep and uplifting of the traditional substance of the basti.

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How we work

In order to accomplish its objective of urban renewal, AKTC has negotiated partnerships between diverse stakeholders, including artists’ factions, residents, the local administration, and government agencies in charge of conservation.
Forging and balancing such partnerships is vital to realizing the broad scope and scale of projects entrenched in local realities.

How to get here or book a heritage walk

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Our Collaborators
  • Central Public Works Department
  • Aga Khan Trust for Culture
  • InterGlobe Fundation