Oz heritage experts to help restore Humayun Mahal - 20 Feb 2020

The Times of India, Feb 20, 2020

Australian forensics and Tamil traditional building methods may soon find a creative meeting point at Humayun Mahal at the Chepauk Palace. AusHeritage, an Australian network of heritage experts and architects on Wednesday held discussions with the state public works department on restoring the building that suffered serious damages in a fire accident in 2012.

“The Australians use forensic methods to restore monuments, while we use traditional methods,” said C Kalyanasundaram, superintendent engineer, building centre and conservation, PWD. Before visiting the site, we had an elaborate discussion with the Australian delegates and exchanged ideas. We are looking forward to their involvement.”

K P Sathyamurthy, joint chief engineer, PWD, said Humayun Mahal and the palace which it is a part of were built using the best quality materials available 250 years ago. “We have decided to use traditional methods,” he said.

As he explained the method to the Australians, Sathyamurthy showed them the materials used — eggs, curd, aloe vera, palm jaggery and limestone ground using Kangeyam bulls.

“If the palm jaggery is wet and dripping, it is not to be used. It has to be dry,” said Sathyamurthy.

“This morning we spent half a day with officials sharing knowledge on traditional and intangible heritage. We were given a presentation on how colonial buildings are preserved in Australia, the methodology, the process and all aspects.

They also explained about their work and both parties got a sense of what each specialises in. We will soon work on the specifics,” said Vinod Daniel, chairman of AusHeritage.

“The idea is to exchange knowledge and do things in a better way. We want to collaborate and produce something that will have a legacy, like this monument,” said Munish Sharma, trade commissioner and consul, Australian government.

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