Hyderabad, March `14: The prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation will be presented to Chowmahalla Palace here on Tuesday, March 15. UNESCO representative Takahiko Makino will formally handover the plaque and certificate to Princess Esra, former wife and GPA holder of Prince Mukarram Jah Bahadur.
Members of the Nizam family, heritage lovers and officials would be present at the programme. The award will be presented at a simple but glittering function in the lawns opposite the Khilwat Mahal.
Originally the UNESCO director general was supposed to come down here in November last to present the award to Prince Mukarram Jah, grandson of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan. But due to preoccupation, the UNESCO chief could not come, it is said.
Chowmahalla Palace, the royal seat of the Asaf Jahi rulers, bagged the coveted award after edging out heritage sites in 43 countries. UNESCO appreciated the restoration of the palace and efforts to rescue ‘an extraordinary complex from years of abandonment'.
The project has restored a ‘cultural oasis' in the heart of Hyderabad providing the public a glimpse into the lives of the Asaf Jah rulers, the citation says. Restoration of the sprawling palace became a reality thanks to the keen interest of Princess Esra.
The conservation project got underway in August 2000 with a multi disciplinary team of architects, urban designers, conservationists, art consultants, museum experts, historians, textile restores and scholars getting down to work, said G. Kishan Rao, palace director.
Rahul Mehrotra, who is associated with the restoration efforts, will give a presentation on how the palace was renovated. Conservation architects and heritage experts will also make their presentations on preservation of heritage.