Documentation and Archival Centre

The Deccan region of India is home to thousands of monuments of historic, artistic, and architectural significance dedicated to several faiths, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Christianity, Buddhism, etc., in addition to several other non-religious monuments, such as forts, palaces, water storage and irrigation systems, etc. Unfortunately, at the pace with which India is growing, whole landscapes are undergoing transformation, threatening the very existence of these monuments. It is not just landscapes that are transforming, livelihood patterns and the very cultures of whole communities are changing at the risk of the significance of these monuments being forgotten.

The DHF recognizes this unfortunate reality and has established a Documentation and Archival Centre in July, 2019, in order to document its severely threatened built heritage including temples, tombs, mosques, forts, palaces, etc. and to consolidate the research scholarship of eminent scholars working on the Deccan. Initially, the former is sought to be achieved by photogrammetry and hyperspectral imaging of threatened monuments and the latter by the digitization of photographic documentation by scholars such as pictures and photographic slides.

A set of 1,200 photographic slides, part of Dr. Helen Philon’s documentation of sites in North Karnataka in the 1970s and 1980s, had been digitized till December 2019, only a couple of months before the Covid lock-downs affected operations. 

Photographic documentation of monuments for the Documentation Centre began with the drone photography, and photogrammetry of  monuments in Bidar, Karnataka, that exhibit glazed tiles on their façades. These included the Mahmud Gawan Madrasa, Tomb of Alauddin Ahmad Shah, Takht Mahal inside the Fort and Sherza Gateway. The glazed tiles on these monuments contribute significantly to their magnificence and are under severe threat of damage and loss and hence have been visually documented on priority.