The initiative is a project of the Aga Khan Development Network

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMSAR) Act 1958 amended in March 2010 made it mandatory for all monuments to have site specific bye-laws. The National Monument Authority (NMA) requested AKTC to prepare heritage bye-laws for 28 ASI protected monuments that stand within the Humayun’s Tomb sub circle. These monuments are spread across approximately 250 acres in the heart of the national capital. The most significant of these monuments is the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb. The Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya located in the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti lies at the core of the cultural history of this area. As it is considered auspicious to be buried close to the saint, many Mughal period tombs, including the UNESCO designated World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb, were built around the site making it one of the densest ensembles of medieval Islamic buildings in Delhi.


The heritage bye laws include ‘matters relating to heritage controls such as elevations, facades, drainage systems, roads and service infrastructure (including electric poles, water and sewer pipelines). The provision of preparing monument specific heritage bye laws gives an opportunity of preparing detailed site plans identifying potentials and challenges of the site and its surroundings. It also provides an opportunity for controlled and planned development in the context of historic settlements/ inner city areas and dense urban fabric.

Though the NMA rules prohibit construction within 100 m of a protected monument, AKTC aimed to define the property and this 100 m zone precisely. This required extensive surveys of almost 200 acres. Archival research associated with the exercise revealed that a majority of the monuments in the Humayun’s Tomb sub circle did not have the protected areas notified. The regulated area of the ASI protected monuments formed a contiguous stretch and has been proposed to define the property boundary of the Master plan designated heritage zone. An advisory group comprising Mr. E.F.N.Ribeiro, Mr. Ashok Khurana, Dr. Narayani Gupta, Dr. R.C.Agrawal and Prof. M.Shaheer was constituted which reviewed the existing planning norms and the monuments and their buffer zones within the project area of Nizamuddin.

The Process

A total of 29 ASI protected monuments, 2 State protected monuments and 72 MCD listed monuments were identified within the project area. Extensive mapping and documentation using a GIS platform (for Nizamuddin Basti) have also been carried out as part of the project based on which the National Monument Authority notified the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for developing the heritage Bye laws for the specific monuments of the Humayun’s Tomb sub circle.

As another outcome of the exercise, NMA recommended to DDA that an additional Archaeological Park be designated for Delhi stretching up to Purana Qila in the north.
The final document was submitted to the NMA for approval in November 2014.