Restoration of the Gagan Mahal Pavilion, Anegundi (Karnataka)
The specific objectives of the Gagan Mahal project were to:
- Restore the historic monument in an authentic manner;
- Highlight the building as an example of the finest Vijayanagara architecture;
- Showcase the monument as a center of art, history, pluralism, tolerance and women’s empowerment for which the Vijayanagara dynasty was known;
- Revive the palace as the locus of village life and as a space for local women to showcase and sell their wares;
- Implement the standards of conservation set for the preservation of world heritage sites as per the World Heritage Convention.
Several hidden architectural details of the monument were uncovered during the course of its restoration. A large wall painting of an elephant, hidden beneath several layers of lime coating, was brought to light. The basement of the monument was excavated to the original ground level revealing the probability that Gagan Mahal had once been an elaborate gateway into an important district of the settlement. A staircase leading up the tower of Gagan Mahal was also unearthed.