World Monuments Fund

Project and Project Team

Adam Hardy has taken an interest in Ashapuri since his first visit in 2000 with Meera Dass (PhD, PRASADA 2001), then INTACH convenor for Bhopal circle. He returned in 2007 when Dr O.P. Mishra of the Madhya Pradesh Directorate of Archaeology showed him the recently discovered heaps of extraordinary temple remains on a hill near the village. In 2012 the Welsh School of Architecture signed an MoU with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Bhopal, under its Director Prof. Ajay Khare (PhD, PRASADA 2004), and chose Ashapuri as the focus for their first research collaboration. A Nehru Trust fellowship enabled Dr Vishakha Kawathekar from SPA to visit Cardiff in the summer of 2012 and this helped the planning of future projects.

In May 2012 Adam received a grant from the INTACH-UK Trust for an initial study of the site, focusing principally on the significance of Ashapuri for the architectural history of central India. This has been a very useful complement to the conservation project subsequently commissioned by World Monuments Fund.

In 2011 the Government of Madhya Pradesh formed an agreement with World Monuments Fund (WMF) to develop and implement conservation plans for 43 sites of architectural and archaeological importance in the state, and designated Ashapuri and Orchha as two priority sites: WMF set up its Madhya Pradesh Cultural Heritage Project. Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative (CRCI) were appointed as Project Coordination Team.

In April 2013 WMF signed a contact with Cardiff University for Research, Documentation and Preparation of Feasibility Reports (Phase 1) for Group of Temples and other Monuments, Ashapuri, Dist. Raisen, Madhya Pradesh, India. This the first of three planned stages, and is concentrating on three of the earlier (Pratihara period) temples.

The core project team are Adam Hardy (Project Leader), Vishakha Kawathekar (Principal Investigator at SPA), Ajay Khare (conservation expert), Ramesh Bhole and Shweta Vardia (conservation crchitects), Kshama Puntambekar (planner, database creator), Apoorv Srivastava (engineer). Associated experts include Shri M.M. Kannade (ex-officio Superitending Archaeologist and engineer), Shri C.V. Kand (structural and geotechnical expert), Shri Narayan Vyas (archaeologist), Dr O. P. Mishra (archaeologist).

The objectives of PRASADA's contract with WMF include the following:

  • Survey and mapping of site and surrounding areas, identifying sites of archaeological significance.
  • Detailed drawings of surviving portions of the temples.
  • Piece by piece photographic documentation with key measurements.
  • Typological (element by element) photographic documentation for whole site, with basic measurements, to build up overview and allow identification of stray pieces.
  • Monitoring salvage archaeology operations carried out by MP Department of Archaeology.
  • Detailed drawings showing theoretical reconstruction of the temples, with explanatory analysis and alternatives where original design is uncertain.
  • An electronic database for all the above.
  • Feasibility study/report, including options for arrangement/display/reconstruction (partial or full) of the temples in question, and an initial strategy for display and interpretation of the site as a whole and for infrastructural development.