Restoration of Bihariji Temple, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Project Scope: Overall conservation of the site Detailed condition survey and documentation as well as physical conservation - consolidation of the structure, and restoration. Provision of Signage, interpretation and lighting for the site

Client: Amber Development and Management Authority, Co-funded by World Monument Fund

Project Brief: The Bihariji Temple was constructed in early 17th century during the reign of Mirza Raja Jai Singh 1 who was renowned for his architectural contributions to the town of Amber. There seem to be no later additions to the site and the fabric though in ruins retains its original historic layer. The site is a significant representative of temple architecture. The temple originally housed icons of Lakshmi Narayan, but currently lies in disuse. The site is also a historic marker as one of the existing layers from the time of famous Mirza Raja Jai Singh I and associated with the famous court poet Bihari from that period. Strategically located, the site with its high plinth creates an interesting dialogue with the step well of Panna Mian ka Kund across the street, thus adding significantly to the urban fabric. The temple was in an abandoned and ruined state. The octagonal corbelled roof of the colonnaded hall had completely given way. The sunshades were missing in a number of places, the plaster and stone requires cleaning and there was vegetation growth on the external surfaces. The condition of the site reflected the discontinuity of use to be a major cause of deterioration as that resulted in a lack of maintenance by the community. The site was in an urgent need of consolidation. Conservation measures were also required to control the effects of natural ageing on the structure. In the late 1980’s, Jaipur was expanding, and the low property values in nearby Amber led to an influx of people. The ruins of Amber were used as habitation or as source of materials for new structures being constructed. This equation changed after the number of essful attempts at restoration of the ruins in the later years, as tourist influx increased conrably and so did the need to fulfill infrastructural requirements for the same. Hence, such pressures posed a threat to the site and its environs, through new construction around the site or pilferage of material for restoration works.

Project Cost: 100,000 USD

Project duration: July 2007 Onwards

Project Status: Completed