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Mukhi Delu: Conserving a legacy

As a part of the Spring 2023 Architectural Conservation Studio at CEPT, I along with five other classmates studied and developed conservation proposals for the Mukhi nu Delu, Dharmaj. As this site is an active CEPT Conservation Site School, our documentation was supported by data previously collected and work done at the site. We completed manual documentation of all accessible areas along with thorough photo documentation and compiled archival data about the site through multiple oral narratives cross-referenced by historical records. Further, condition mapping and assessment were done to understand the cause-and-effect relations between various conditions and factors that have led to the present condition of the site. Due to the presence of the Site School established by CHC, it was much easier to navigate the stakeholder consultation for a proposed public-use building. Following this, a conservation proposal was prepared by each student that best respected the values identified and the significance assigned to the site. Through this intensive process, we came out with six distinct proposals, and a multilayered understanding of the structure and its context – physical, historical, and social. This project enriched my knowledge of timber construction and joineries, and how to analyse structures and materials in a critical manner. It helped me gain a greater understanding of how to process various factors together like visual observations, documented data, material knowledge, climate, archival information and usage patterns; to determine the most appropriate way of intervening with a structure. The on-site data forms a base set of information that can be expanded upon and would aid the Site School in arriving at an appropriate conservation approach. Further, if this work is presented to the community, it could inspire some interest and help in starting a fruitful dialogue about conservation in Dharmaj.



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