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Understanding and Recreating Historical Landscapes through Oral History, Architectural and Archival Research—A Methodology: The Case of the Royal Gardens of Rajnagar, Bundelkhand

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Bundelkhand lies in the central part of India including 6 districts in northern Madhya Pradesh and7 districts in southern Uttar Pradesh (13 districts in total). In Bundelkhand, a series of walled gardensof similar type (presumably of second half of the eighteenth/beginning of the nineteenth century) can beseen all across the region. These gardens are part of the social and cultural life of the Bundeli people,but still their historical and cultural values cannot be ascertained. Thus, in order to understand thesegardens, a very detailed understanding of the regional landscape needs to be developed. This researcharticle aims to understand and regenerate the cultural landscape of Rajnagar in Bundelkhand based onarchival research, architectural documentation and oral history narratives.The article elaborates upon the methodology followed to obtain sufficient information about theoriginal planning, design and functions of the gardens, and the sociocultural spatial configuration ofhistorical Rajnagar. Architectural and oral surveys were undertaken to generate data at settlementand garden level along with the archival research. Survey of the oral history regarding the settlementand general association with the gardens immensely facilitated to position the gardens in the historicalcontext, given the lack of archival evidence. The interpolation of the three sources of data allowed tounderstand the pattern of evolution of the historical settlement of Rajnagar and the connections withthe royal gardens within the settlement. Apart from furthering the understanding about these uniqueurban landscape phenomenon, the survey results contribute to the preparation of a sustainable tourismdevelopment plan for the royal Bundeli gardens of Rajnagar by Indian National Trust for Art and CulturalHeritage (INTACH) Belgium. The multiple oral and architectural surveys also raised awareness withinthe town about the historical Bundeli garden landscapes.
Journal: Journal of Heritage Management
ISSN: 2455-9296
Issue: 2
Volume: 2
Pages: 202 - 220
Publication year:2018