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Thag Baba Shrine Retrofit PDF Print E-mail

The Shrine of Sheikh Ibrahim or the Shrine of Thag Baba Sahib, located in Safa Kadal, one of the oldest mohallas of the old Srinagar city has immense architectural significance, considering its context. The structure is part of the Jhelum Riverfront which is a demarcated Heritage Zone since 1988. The structure is also important as it is a rare example of Mughal style architecture in the region. Thus, even though the structure is an isolated one, it is part of the whole traditional fabric of the waterfront. The shrine is located in a traditional urban precinct woven within the lanes of old town Srinagar. It is one among the many prominent spiritual centres located and accessible directly from the river. The access to the river is from a ghat, again a traditional embarkation point for river based transport.

The structure is not a mosque but a mausoleum of a saint and is not used for offering prayers or worshipping. As with other such structures, the community, at large, visits the Shrine frequently for paying their respects. The devotees are largely Kashmiri Muslims. The Thag Baba shrine was already in a poor state of conservation when the earthquake took place in the year 2005. The earthquake may have caused increase in the size of the already existing cracks in the structure in addition to developing newer ones. Major causes of concern to the structural stability are major cracks that have developed on the internal dome, along the arched openings and the walls due to the earthquake. The foundation of the structure is also showing signs of differential settlement.

The Prince Claus Fund (http://www.princeclausfund.org/) recognized the significant cultural worth of the Shrine and the damage it incurred and offered to support its emergency restoration under their Cultural Emergency Response initiative. The project is time-bound and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010. The following activities are ongoing:

• Detailed Architectural and Structural Assessment

• Recommendations for restoration.

• Project delivery for structural and architectural repairs and restoration.

• Community participation in maintenance and upkeep of the property.

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