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the historic cultural landscape of Sabli

Discover. Deconstruct. Reclaim.

Sabli, once an important sacred site in India, now lies desolate and abandoned. The design challenge aims to revive this historic site, while becoming an example for many similar ones in the country.

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Sabli, is a site of historic significance that now lays desolate and abandoned, under the layers of time.  Located in the northern part of the state of  Gujarat in India, the site that comprises of temples and water structures, lies close to the edge of a village that was once sacred, lying 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 those who travelled from one city to another.


The historic structures of Sabli today seem to encapsulate not only those memories and imprints of the ancient but also those of the recent eras. As water levels rose due to the construction of the Guhai dam in 1980, 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 dam.


'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 Challenge

Citylabs India invites design solutions to address the challenge of reviving/ redeveloping the site of Sabli.
The litmus test of the design proposal will lie in its
ability to address the issues, raise pertinent questions and establish a fresh perspective on a forgotten landscape such as Sabli. The participants need to revive or redevelop the area through an architectural or/and landscape intervention. While the program of the intervention is left open for the participants to define and articulate, the new intervention should aim to bring the area under the public eye.

The Design intervention can be of any scale or size. However, it should be limited to the area just between the tank and the temple. (refer to the red box in site plan in dossier) .

It could deal with any issue that participants feel is relevant for the project. By imparting meaning to the site, the intervention should respect and enhance not only its ecological condition but also take into consideration the nearby communities and other stakeholders in its revitalization.




Citylabs India. Provost and Dean, SEDA Navrachana University, Vadodara, India


Founder Matharoo Associates  Ahmedabad, India

Seema Khanwalkar


Social Scientist and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, India


Head of Urban Development and Design, TU Darmstadt, Germany

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