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Sabli Conservation*



Sabli is a site of historic significance that now lays desolate and abandoned, under the layers of time. The site
that comprises temples and water structures in a setting that is now on the edge of a village was once most
sacred one, lying as it was on the historic trade routes of the region. With its temples and tanks that were
commissioned by wealthy merchants as acts of piety, the precinct provided relief and shelter to passing
merchants who travelled from one city to another. 

The historic structures of Sabli today seem to be encapsulate not only those memories and imprints of the
ancient but also those of the recent eras. As water level rose due to construction of a dam in the 1970s, part of
the site is now submerged under water. What remains are a few structures on the higher ground; temples and
a beautiful five storey deep kund just besides the large water body formed due to the construction of the

The historic site of Sabli now lies in a state of Suspended Animation. Ravaged by the rhythms of time, the
precinct needs perhaps a fresh lease of life,  a new sense of purpose, lest it withers away from public
consciousness and memory 

The new intervention in the site may address one or more of the themes below

1. Landscape and Memory
The idea that landscape setting is a harbinger of memories of the place, people and their stories is often
overlooked in the fast paced development of our cities and the countryside. If one were to view landscape as a
repository of memories that how do we tread this landscape? Should we even touch the place and if at all we
need to how shall we engage with the land

2. The idea of Nature
The history of the arid region of Gujarat and Rajasthan is one of frugal living, working around natural resources
and an acknowledgement of the forces of nature. The five storey deep tank is a classic example of this
approach; a complex water engineering structure that best encapsulates the relationship with nature back
then. How should we view nature now and what would be an expression of that engagement? 

3. Agriculture and Community
It is important to acknowledge the existence of an economic life around the heritage structure in form of
agricultural practices. The presence of fields all around these structure also have a potential to create a
mutually beneficial relationship that can be further explored as part of the design and development strategy.
Rather than look for ways of involving communities in conservation of heritage sites, the agricultural setting
around the heritage structures presents an unique opportunity that offers an excellent opportunity of public


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