Opportunities in historic core of pilgrim towns: case of PandharpuR

Author: Ashwini Kulkarni | KRVIA – Post Graduate Program | 2021

Historic cities have their own distinctive form and cultural heritage. Histories are fragments of the past that are a window to look at the century’s old feelings in each context. In Pilgrim destinations, they need to cope with the ever-increasing influx of individuals focused at a particular location. This needs frequent extension of existing facilities. The pilgrim destinations have varied spiritual cycles from seasonal, yearly to periodical (such as Kumbh Mela) where mass gatherings take place. Therefore, the management of this inflow varies taking into account the seasons and different factors.

Infrastructure needs to be provided for pilgrims, temporary or permanent depending on the rhythms of pilgrim flow. There are environmental or ecological health and safety issues related to such sites that necessitate planning, observance and management. The conservation of the environment and the cultural heritage at such places are neglected and therefore it must be taken in accordance with the living conditions of the inhabitants. Historic buildings by their layout, type and materials usually provides a sense of place and identity (COMPENDIUM OF GOOD PRACTICES Urban Heritage in Indian Cities, by Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage URBAN HERITAGE in Indian Cities 3, 2015).

There are landmark buildings, like temples, mosques, city halls or distinct typologies of settlements that give reference points within the native built landscape. The local environment is the immediate setting for the lives of individuals who reside in these historic settings. Historic areas neglect this human scale interaction which is often not found. In contemporary times, the cultural context of the community and its perspective is neglected and rarely features indecision for development of town, considering only the pilgrims or the tourist visiting. For holistic development of these pilgrim towns, it is vital to engage stakeholders and also take into consideration the key stakeholder i.e., the local residents. The resident community isn’t merely a recipient, however additionally a key stakeholder in shaping the identity and character of a place.

This study looks into identification of factors that associate a user within a setting that connect it with the almighty. Thesis intended to study the association of user (local, pilgrim and tourist) with the built environment and natural environment of the historic core for a holistic approach to conserve the historic core with all its physical and dynamic structural attributes, dealing specifically with the case of historic town of Pandharpur, Solapur. The proposal has taken into account the land, the resident and the pilgrims, the built heritage, natural heritage, cultural heritage and their interactions in the past and present

Text & Image Credit: Ashwini Kulkarni | KRVIA – Post Graduate Program | Urban Conservation


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