12 Heritage Structures
The tragedy of the 2001 Bhuj earthquake in Gujarat took its toll on the rich architectural
heritage and culture of the region. The earthquake indiscriminately affected the historic and
the new, the rich and the poor, the religious and the secular. A detailed investigation of these
landmarks of history and heritage was conducted immediately after the earthquake. This chapter
presents a detailed account of this condition assessment by the Indian National Trust for Art and
Cultural Heritage (INTACH), New Delhi, and the members of the EERI Reconnaissance Team,
in particular for those structures not protected by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and
the Gujarat State Department of Archeology (GSAD).
EXISTING HERITAGE STRUCTURES
Gujarat, especially the Kachchh district, has been continuously inhabited since the days of
the Indus Valley civilization (3500-1500 BC) and hence some of oldest evidences of civilization
exist there. The Kachchh region has about 250 heritage towns and villages holding more than
15,000 heritage properties. It is a region with a rich cultural heritage. It is estimated that of the
approximately 15,000 heritage structures in Kachchh, about 1,500 are of Heritage Structure Type
I (i.e., of exceptional quality), about 3,500 of Heritage Structure Type II (i.e., of some merit) and
the remaining 10,000 are of Heritage Structure Type III (i.e., buildings with group values like
bazaars and historic housing stock). A detailed description of these heritage structure typologies is
given in Table 12-1. During 1988-92, INTACH studied and listed 128 of the total 5000 Heritage
Structures of Type I and II.
In all, it is estimated that about 10,000 heritage structures (approximately two-thirds of the total
15,000 structures damaged) of the State were either destroyed or extensively damaged during this
earthquake. In the entire State of Gujarat, there are about 350 protected buildings managed by the
ASI and about 650 by the GSAD, and are mostly of Type I. About 50 of these were damaged.
Among the greatest monumental losses are the complete collapse of Rao Lakhaji Chhatri in
Bhuj, built in 1761, and the severe damage to Limoji Mata Mandir in Delmal, Mehsana District,
built in the 11th century. The Rao Lakhaji Chhatri is the funeral memorial of the King. It has a
pillared hall covered by a dome. This tomb was reduced to rubble during the earthquake.
The Limoji Mata Mandir, an important Hindu temple structure, sustained partial collapse
during the earthquake. For the 650 buildings, mostly Type I, under the auspices of the GSAD,
the damage was not as dramatic as the collapse of the Rao Lakhaji Chhatri at Bhuj. About 200 of
these precious heritage buildings suffered extensive damage — of these, about 150 are moderately
damaged and about 50 are heavily damaged. Among them are the old temples of Kachchh from
the 9th-11th century like those at Purneshwar, Kanthkot and Kera, and buildings from the 17th
Century, like the Bhujia Kotha and Lakotha, at Jamnagar. The shikhar (the tower-like portion and
Heritage Structures 226
Table 12-1. Classification of heritage structures as per
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)
Type Definition Comment
I Buildings and precincts of national importance, Deserve careful
embodying excellence in architectural style, designs, preservation.
technology and material usage and/or aesthetics.
They are associated with great historic events,
personalities, movements or institutions.
They have been and are the prime landmarks of the
region. All natural sites are examples of
II Buildings and precincts of regional or local Deserve intelligent
importance possessing special architectural or conservation and may
aesthetic merit or cultural or historic significance, be sensitively reused.
though of a lower scale than in Type I Heritage
Structures. They are local landmarks that contribute
to the image and identity of the region. They may
be the work of master craftsmen or may be models
of proportion and ornamentation, or designed to
suit a particular climate.
III Buildings and precincts of importance for Deserve intelligent
townscape. They evoke architectural, aesthetic, or conservation, though to
sociological interest, though not as much as a lesser extent than
Type II Heritage Structures. They contribute to Type II Heritage
determining the character of the locality. They are Structures, and special
representative of the lifestyle of a particular protection to unique
community or region, and may be distinguished features and attributes.
by their setting on a street line, or by their special Changes are permitted
character of façade and uniformity of height, if conforming to
width, and scale. conservation principles.
Table 12-2. Distribution of damages in all heritage structures (Types I, II and III together)
sampled as part of this investigation
Sample Number of Damaged Structures
Districts Surveyed Public Private Religious
Kachchh 256 109 112 35
Jamnagar, Junagadh, Rajkot 128 56 44 25
Mehsana, Surendranagar, Ahmedabad 110 49 39 22
Heritage Structures 227
tallest part of the temple, usually located over the deity) of the temple at Purneshwar had many
stones displaced and sustained partial collapse. Stones were dislodged at Wedi Medi, a nearby
dry stone masonry building (without any mortar), considered the oldest surviving architectural
structure. It also suffered cracking and collapse of some other stones. Kanthkot is a 11th century
fort with temples within it. The Sun and Jain temple structures, built with stones and dry masonry,
completely collapsed. The stone masonry temple at Kera suffered extensively during the 1819
earthquake with most of it collapsing; only the back half of the shikhar survived then. Part of this
surviving portion of the shikhar collapsed during this earthquake. The adjoining fort wall and its
gate also suffered partial collapses.
Bhujia Kotha is a large bastion, 30 m high tower within the fortification in Jamnagar. The
walls in the top stories of this building sustained severe cracks, and parts of it even collapsed.
Lakhota is a small circular fortress in the middle of the lake facing Bhujia Kotha. The cupolas on
the rear building sustained cracks in the upper portions and partial collapse.
INTACH conducted a damage survey of 494 buildings, covering all the above types, and using
the earlier listing (1988-92) as the reference. Table 12-2 provides the summary of this survey in
the different districts of the affected area. In the Kachchh district, about 25 percent of the Type I
structures, about 50 percent of Type II and about 70 percent of Type III were damaged.
HISTORICAL INFLUENCES ON ARCHITECTURE OF THE KACHCHH REGION
An historic timeline of Kachchh is given in Figure 12-1. The heritage of Kachchh begins in
prehistoric times, but the most significant phase is associated with the Indus Valley civilization
(3500-1500 BC), as shown in the recent excavations of Dholavira. Remnants from the 8th-12th
centuries indicate the association of the region with rich Hindu and Jain cultures. Kachchh holds
the distinction of having the oldest surviving Muslim tomb in the country, built in 1160. This
tomb of Ibrahim Shah at Bhadreshwar was built by Muslim traders who came to India by peaceful
means more than a decade before the Muslim conquest of India in 1193AD. This initiated the
development of the Muslim architecture in the region, which was amalgamated with the then-
existing rich Hindu architecture tradition; thereby creating a unique style in this region that evolved
and flourished over five centuries.
The over four and a half centuries of Muslim rule in this region had a strong influence on the
architectural style of historic monuments in Gujarat. The Gujarati style of Indo-Islamic architecture
is remarkable for its elegance and its fusion of Hindu and Muslim architectures. Historic monuments
from the Muslim-dominated era can be grouped into those from three periods: From 1298-1407
Gujarat was ruled by governors sent by the sultans of Delhi. From 1407-1573, this region was
governed by the powerful independent dynasty of the sultans of Gujarat. From 1573-1753, the
Very few monuments remain from the first of these periods. The post-Muslim era produced
three main architectural styles in Gujarat corresponding to: 1.) the Maratha and Rajput period
from 1753-1817; 2.) the Colonial or British period from 1816-1947; and 3.) the Independent
India period after 1947. Further, the Portuguese, present in Gujarat since 1509, before the Mughal
invasion, also had significant impact on the architecture and culture of the region, especially in
the development of port towns, forts, and other warfronts. With the coming of the British in 1816,
the regional architecture again went through another transformation, incorporating the western
architectural style resulting in the Indo-Saracenic style. This flourished from the early 19th century
to the independence period.
Due to its trading coast, Kachchh always had influences from the outside that it readily accepted
in its lifestyle and architecture. In addition, its isolation from the mainland of Indian continent
allowed it to maintain a distinct style of architecture in its heritage buildings. The influence of the
western styles resulted in construction of building types that were totally alien to local conditions.
Heritage Structures 228
Figure 12-1. A brief sketch of some of the significant times and the many different kings
and kingdoms that ruled over the Kachchh region during the last 4,500 years.
The most remarkable of these is the construction of numerous clock towers in the region. These
towers, which are a common sight throughout Gujarat, have become visible parts of the identity
of these places. The 2001 Bhuj earthquake caused varying degree of damage, from cracks to total
destruction, to these structures spread across Gujarat. This damage means not only loss to the
decorative structures, but also a deeper loss of identity of the local culture.
This survey, the summary of which is presented in this chapter, categorizes the properties
of cultural heritage in the earthquake-affected area into various components, based on building
typology and the architectural system of the region, namely (a) historic areas with traditional or
historic houses and buildings within its core or main areas, (b) heritage buildings and complexes,
(c) craft villages, and (d) art objects and artifacts.
PERFORMANCE OF HERITAGE STRUCTURES DURING PAST EARTHQUAKES
The Kachchh area has a history of cyclic seismic activity. Some of the significant earthquakes
in recent history are the 1819 Kachchh earthquake and the 1956 Anjar earthquake. Though there
are references to earthquakes in the 9th, 12th, 15th and 18th centuries, not much information is
available about the sizes and effects of these earthquakes. The Harappan culture that flourished
here during 3500 BC is believed to have declined owing to the seismic activity. The city of Raipur,
a 10th-century city near Mandvi, was destroyed by an earthquake in late 12th century and lies in
ruins today. Recorded information is available only since the 1819 earthquake, which is believed
to have been more devastating than the 2001 Bhuj earthquake, as the former changed the course
of the Indus River flowing through Kachchh by the geological formation called Allah Bund. The
1819 earthquake on 16 June at 6:45 pm reduced Bhuj to rubble, and about 2000 people perished.
The minarets of the Sultan Ahmed Shah Mosque at Ahmedabad collapsed. Many other monuments
were damaged in the 1819 event: the Fort of Sindri along the River Kori was completely destroyed,
the oldest temples of Kachchh were built mostly during the 10th through the 12th centuries, and
were badly damaged. The Sun temple at Kanthkot and Kotdi, Jain Temple at Kanthkot Fort, and
Heritage Structures 229
Figure 12-2. View from
the top of the Mahadev
Temple in Bhuj.
temples of Hindu God Shiva at Kera (Figure 12-2) and Purneshwar were also damaged in the 1819
earthquake, and so were most fortifications such as Bhuj, Rapar, Bhujjia Fort, and Anjar.
Existing structures show little evidence of knowledge related to earthquake engineering in the
Kachchh district. The 18th century fortification wall around Old Bhuj was repaired after it was
damaged during the 1819 earthquake. This is evident from the thin masonry wall built adjoining
the historic fortification. The additional thickness of this wall peeled off during the 2001 Bhuj
earthquake, and exposed the historic wall behind. Similarly, the historic core of Anjar town,
especially the Khatri Pada area, was severely damaged during the 1956 Anjar earthquake. This
part of the town was re-built from the rubble generated during the 1956 earthquake. Earthquake-
resistant features are absent in these constructions, and they suffered extensive damages in the
2001 earthquake as well.
However, the Swaminarayan Temples, next to the Bhuj Palace and in the Old Ahmedabad city,
built during 1820s are exceptions. The Swaminarayan Temples addressed the effects of earthquake
forces in their design. These structures have a wood frame with stone masonry, which provided
lateral resistance to seismic actions. During the 2001 earthquake, these structures have performed
better than even some of the modern structures built around them.
The Rani Vaas (or the Queen’s residence), built in the late 16th century in Bhuj Palace,
sustained nominal damage during the 2001 earthquake, and the damage is attributed to the lack of
maintenance. It is among the rare buildings in Kachchh that uses traditional wood-frame systems
for seismic resistance. Lintels (i.e., beams) and posts (i.e., columns) were tied together with the
wall plates (i.e., roof bands) to act as a single unit. The posts of colonnades (i.e., columns) were
staggered in plan rather than being built in straight lines to provide the much-needed earthquake
resistance against lateral forces. The walls were only infills, sometimes even braced by timber
posts at regular intervals. The bhongas, the houses of the common man, with traditional vernacular
architecture have basic earthquake-resistant features built in them.
Heritage Structures 230
Table 12-3. Damage to the heritage structures surveyed
Extent of Damage
Buildings Covered (% of Total Buildings)
Districts Surveyed Places Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Kachchh 256 56 10 20 30 40
Jamnagar, Junagad, Rajkot 128 32 20 50 20 10
Mehsana, Surendranagar, 110 24 60 25 10 5
PERFORMANCE OF HERITAGE STRUCTURES DURING
THE 2001 BHUJ EARTHQUAKE
A survey was conducted covering 112 places (cities, towns and villages) and 494 buildings
across the affected area. Damage to heritage buildings ranged from total collapse to completely
intact buildings. Owing to high intensities of shaking, up to X on the MSK (Medvedev-Sponheur-
Karnik) scale, almost 90 percent of heritage buildings in the State of Gujarat were affected in some
form or the other, especially in Kachchh district. Five damage levels, as per the MSK scale, are
used to classify the heritage structures; structures with damages of Grades 4 and 5 are combined.
Thus, the four groups of structures identified from this survey are:
1. Group 1. Structures that remained intact and can be restored with minimal intervention.
2. Group 2. Structures with slight damage and perhaps can be properly restored by established
3. Group 3. Structures with moderate damage and will require great care for any kind of
intervention. Parts of structures in this group may have to be dismantled and then restored
with a proper plan for reuse.
4. Group 4. Structures that are extensively damaged or collapsed and are difficult to restore;
may require extreme measures and high technical input.
Damage to heritage structures in the affected area are shown in Table 12-3.
HERITAGE STRUCTURES IN THE KACHCHH REGION
The fort city of Bhuj is currently the headquarters of Kachchh district. In 1548, Rao Khengarji
I chose it as the capital of the State of Kachchh, a former principality. It was known as Suleiman
Nagar during the Mughal period. The old city was confined within the fort walls with five gates
built by Rao Deshalji in 1723. The city was taken over by the British in 1819, and in the same year
a devastating earthquake caused severe destruction. Bhuj contains several significant structures, like
Rao Pragmalji’s Palace Complex, Sharad Baug Palace, Kachchh Museum, Jubilee Hospital, Alfred
High School, Kalyaneshwar Temple Complex, Mohammed Pannah Mosque, Fateh Mohammed’s
Tomb, the chhatris and the Fort.
In the Bhuj earthquake, the old stock of housing in Bhuj was severely affected. The main
palaces of Rao Pragmalji and Sharad Baug both sustained major damage. Jubilee Hospital, a
significant historical building, completely collapsed. Many temple structures, tombs, mosques,
Heritage Structures 231
Figure 12-3. Wide cracks
in exterior walls of the
Mahadev Temple in Bhuj.
and chhatris—structures with large mass—suffered heavy damage and destruction. Damage to
structures was mostly restricted to the upper stories of multistory structures. The lower floors,
however, are either inaccessible or damaged due to fallen debris from the upper floors.
In 1723, Rao Godji built the fort wall surrounding some portions of today’s old Bhuj. This
fortification has five gates, one of which is the Mahadev Gate, a massive stone masonry arch
decorated on the outside by two sculptures in small niches, one on each side of the arch. Damage
was more severe in the inside of the gate, where five stone blocks of the archway, including the
keystone, fell off during the earthquake.
Adjoining the Mahadev Gate is the Mahadev Temple, built in 1920. The roof of this highly
decorated stone masonry structure has three small domes and a large central dome (about 6 m in
diameter), which sustained radial cracks. Behind the central dome, there is a shikhara (or tower)
approximately 15 m tall (Figure 12-2). The intense shaking during the earthquake resulted in an
overall dilatation of the stone masonry structure. The walls sustained diagonal tension cracks (Figure
12-3). The roof supporting the entrance porch separated from of the rest of the building.
Darbargarh (the palace complex) was set up in 1549 when Khengarji shifted his capital to
Bhuj. The present Rani Vaas (residence of the queen) seems to be of his times, though little is
known of palaces belonging to his times. Later, many palaces were added and altered over time
within the Darbargarh, like the Aiyna Mahal 1741-1760, Fuwara Mahal 1780s and Prag Mahal
1870. The town hall was built around 1723, though it is very likely that the wall around the palace
complex was built earlier.
The Aiyna Mahal, the Old Palace of Bhuj built by Maharao Lakhpatji (also known as Rao
Lakhaji) in the traditional Kachchi style, has decorations with glass mirrors in the audience hall.
This “hall of mirrors” and the state apartments, which are the main attraction of the palace, are
located in a small, fortified courtyard in the old part of the city. The Aiyna Mahal, a ground plus
two-story building with a possible basement story, now houses a museum. Significant portions
Heritage Structures 232
Figure 12-4. Damage to the entrance of the Figure 12-5. Damage to the decorated balconies
Aiyna Mahal complex. of the Aiyna Mahal.
Figure 12-6. Above Ornate balconies of the
Aiyna Mahal sustained substantial damage.
Figure 12-7. Right The 15th century walls adjacent
to the Aiyna Mahal complex were repaired after
the 1819 earthquake. They failed again in this
earthquake, revealing the original façade.
of the upper two stories collapsed in the earthquake, and the walls of the first and second stories
sustained severe cracks. The room located on top of the main arch entrance sustained partial
collapse (Figure 12-4). The beautifully decorated balconies in the second story also sustained
substantial damage (Figures 12-5 and 12-6), including partial collapses of the second story in the
interior courtyard. The old palace was earlier damaged in the 1819 earthquake. The less ornate
walls used in the repair separated from the original structure during this earthquake, and exposed
the original façade in various places (Figure 12-7).
Part of the Aiyna Mahal is the Rani Vaas. Built during the same time as Aiyna Mahal, it has
richly carved jharokhas (balconies projecting out under windows). The building is a timber frame
structure embedded in brick masonry, and is a remarkable example of traditional earthquake-
resistant systems employed in the region. Damages during this earthquake were restricted to
spalling of plaster and wood frame-infill separation. In some cases, portions of it collapsed mostly
Heritage Structures 233
Figure 12-8. Façade of the south building of the
Prag Mahal in Bhuj.
Figure 12-9. Right Large
cracks between masonry blocks.
Figure 12-10. One of the arch stones slid. Figure 12-11. Heavy ornamented stones used in
the parapet fell down at the Prag Mahal in Bhuj.
due to neglect of timber, which was significantly weakened by rot and/or termites; the earthquake
caused the collapse of those segments.
Across the courtyard from the Old Palace, Aiyna Mahal, is the Prag Mahal (or new palace),
designed by Henry St. Claire Wilkins, a British engineer, and built around 1865 by Rao Pragmalji.
A grand Durbar Hall in the new Gothic style and the 45 m lofty clock tower command the skyline
of the whole town of Bhuj. The Italianate arches have alternating ornate marble and sandstone
(Figure 12-8). Most of the structures, including the tall and slender clock tower, sustained severe
damage. Joints between masonry blocks opened up (Figure 12-9), some arch stones dislodged or
fell off (Figure 12-10), and some corner turrets and parapets partially collapsed (Figure 12-11).
Heritage Structures 234
This temple in Bhuj, made in a typical North Indian Nagara style, is among the important
historical temples. It is near the Palace complex with the lake on one of its sides. The main
structure was heavily damaged, and the front porch dome collapsed. The masonry stones of the
main shikhar were intensely shaken during the quake, resulting in their large displacements and
consequent major dilatation cracks in the entire structure.
Jubilee Hospital is the oldest hospital building in Bhuj, and now houses the Ayurvedic Hospital.
A notable feature of this two-story structure, built of dressed sandstone, is the use of oriel (bay)
windows. The building was built in 1887 in European architectural tradition, and extended in 1980s
in Indian architectural style. The extended portion, of reinforced concrete frame-type construction,
was used as part of a hospital. It completely collapsed in the earthquake, while the historic portion of
the building sustained major damage such as cracking of masonry walls and collapse of the roof of
the second story.
Kalyaneshwar Temple Complex
Built in 17th-18th century, the Kalyaneshwar Temple Complex is an important religious
complex in Bhuj, with a main structure and many small shrines. The main structure was heavily
damaged in the earthquake. Stone walls moved out of plumb, the upper third of the main shikhar
collapsed, and the roof dome of the main structure developed many major cracks. The small
shrines in the complex were also heavily damaged.
A Royal Chhatri is the burial place of the royals of the Hindu religion. The Hindu rites of
burning the mortal remains were performed here. The places were later decorated with the open
column structures, and are architecturally the most significant buildings of the Kachchh region.
The Royal Chhatri in Bhuj (Figure 12-12) is protected by the ASI. It is a complex of sandstone
structures near Hamirsar Lake, built in memory of Maharao Lakhpatji in the 18th century. These
structures have pyramidal and domed roofs supported by decorative columns on a raised plinth.
Some of these chhatris in Bhuj have completely collapsed. Others developed cracks in their domes.
Stone pieces have fallen from the chajjas (awnings or the eaves of the building) in some. Most of
the slender stone columns sustained structural damage due to the heavy roof load (Figure 12-13).
These chhatris had been recently restored before the earthquake, their domes made watertight by
an additional 100 mm thick plain cement concrete layer. This additional load on the already weak
sandstone columns may have contributed to the development of longitudinal splitting cracks in
them during the earthquake (Figure 12-14).
This late 19th century structure, built entirely of masonry, is inside the walled enclosure of Old Bhuj.
Entry is through the gate in the middle of southern wall of the complex. In addition to the cells, there is
a small workshop area for the prisoners. During the earthquake, the external wall of the jail collapsed
in a number of places, particularly at the corners. The parapets suffered out-of-plane collapse.
Fateh Mohammed’s Tomb
Jamadar Fateh Mohammed was a minister in Kachchh from 1786. He was known for his valor,
and later was revered as a saint for his philanthropic works. This tomb, built for him in the late 18th
century, is a simple dressed stone structure, square in plan and capped with a fluted dome. It is built
on a raised platform, and is covered with fine carvings and colored ceramic tiles. During the quake,
Heritage Structures 235
Figure 12-12. Rao Lakhaji Chhatri in Bhuj Figure 12-13. Rao Lakhaji Chhatri in Bhuj was
before the earthquake. The large structure on the reduced to rubble (in the background), while the
left is the main chhatri built after the king, Rao chhatri in the foreground sustained significant
Lakhaji, while that on the right may have been loosening of the masonry stones at both the sill
possibly built after the queen. and lintel levels. This chhatri (possibly of the
queen), though still standing, is on the verge of a
vertical split and complete collapse
Figure 12-14. Damage to stone column of the
Royal Chhatri in Bhuj.
the wall of this tomb developed some minor cracks, and the inside of the dome cracked near the
base. The entrance porch detached itself from the main structure, and columns moved out of plumb.
The keystone of the arches at the entrance loosened. Ancillary buildings within the complex were
Hazrat Mohammed Panah Jami Masjid
Hazrat Mohammed Panah Jami Masjid is a 300-year-old structure, and is among the oldest
mosques in Bhuj town. It has two minarets at each end of the eastern wall, both of which collapsed
during the earthquake. The wall surface of the masjid was cement plastered and decorated with
kangooras (battlements or motifs derived from fortifications). Some kangooras also have been
damaged. The main wall developed cracks and the retaining fort wall around the complex also
suffered extensive damage. The small pavilion in front of the masjid completely collapsed.
The Kachchh Museum in Bhuj was established by Maharao Khengarji around 1877, and is the
oldest museum in Gujarat. The museum has the largest collections of Kshatrap inscriptions, with fine
Heritage Structures 236
Figure 12-15. Alfred High
School suffered damage
to parapets and the front
façade separated from the
collections of Kachchh silver, golden, and enameling utensils, and other archaeological objects. It
is a masonry structure built in a colonial style using local stones. The first floor of the museum was
badly damaged, with partial roof collapse. Interiors became inaccessible due to fallen debris.
Alfred High School
It is the first school on modern lines in Bhuj, opened by Pragmalji II in 1870. The two-story
building is designed in Colonial style and constructed with trap stone (an igneous rock formed
from cooling lava on the surface of the earth. Trapstone is found “trapped” between layers of
other types of stone in the earth). The arched openings are richly decorated and highlighted with
white marble (Figure 12-15). The building was badly damaged. The first floor slab and some
parts of roof slabs collapsed. Some ornamental stones, mostly on the decorative parapet in the
upper floor, were hanging precariously. Masonry wall and arches in openings developed cracks.
The front façade separated from the main building and is out of plumb. There was damage to the
corners and extensive collapse of the parapets.
OTHER HERITAGE MONUMENTS IN THE BHUJ AREA
Sant Mekhran Samadhi Temple, Dhrang
This 300-year-old temple is among the most sacred structures in Dhrang about 20 km north of
Bhuj. Sant Mekhran Baba is a patron saint of Kachchh and is worshipped as the St. Christopher of
Kachchh—his blessings are believed to assure a safe journey. Sant Mekhran Baba became the Guru
of Maharao Deshal, and were prominent in the history of Kachchh. The temple was later erected
at the present site and the samadhis (site of cremation) of Mekhran Baba and his disciples lie here.
Every year on the occasion of Mahashivratri (a Hindu festival related to worship of Shiva, one of
the Hindu trinity gods, worshiped as “God of Destruction”), a large fair is held at the site.
The Sant Mekhran Samadhi Temple is constructed of brick masonry temple on a raised plinth.
The temple is in two parts, as are most of the other temples of North India. The natmandir part
Heritage Structures 237
Figure 12-16. The Deputy Collector’s Office at
Anjar suffered a collapse toward the front of the
building, constructed in the 1820s.
Figure 12-17. The Deputy Collector’s
Office also sustained damage to
interiors with Kachchhi painting.
(the space for the congregation in front of the sanctum in a Hindu temple, usually a pillared hall)
had a domed roof, while the garbhagriha shikhara (roof of the sanctum of a Hindu temple) had a
pyramidal structure. While both parts were square in plan, the former was open on all three sides,
while the latter is a closed chamber. Ceramic tiles are used as surface finish inside the temple as
a recent addition, and the exterior is lime washed. While the walls of the garbhagriha shikhara
sustained large structural cracks, the natmandir collapsed during the earthquake.
Pir Dargah, Lakadiya
This four-story structure was built as a symbolic structure for the community of Lakadiya
(about 70 km east of Bhuj) to control the height of new construction in the village—heights of
new buildings are not allowed to be taller than this structure. The octagonal plan structure in stone
with lime mortar was built on a square platform raised 1.8 m high. All faces in each story were
provided with arched openings. The tower completely collapsed during the earthquake, reduced
to rubble. The raised plinth was also damaged.
Deputy Collector’s Office, Anjar
This 19th century two-story stone masonry structure at Anjar built during the 1820s as a
residence of James McMurado, the British Resident in Kachchh, is currently being used as the
office of the Deputy Collector of Kachchh. The bungalow is famous for its rare wall painting in
local Kachchhi Kamagari style. The Gujarat State Archaeology Department (GSAD) looks after
the conservation of these paintings. Some portions of the second story collapsed (Figure 12-16).
The decorative interiors also sustained minor damage (Figure 12-17).
Mandvi, 60 km south of Bhuj on the seashore, was established by Rao Khengarji in 1585. It
was earlier known as Raipur or Riyan, and is believed to have been destroyed by an earthquake
in the 12th century, which legend says was brought about by a saint as a curse on Kachchh.
Heritage Structures 238
Figure 12-18. Collapsed gateway in
Mandvi, a fortified city founded in
the 16th century.
The Mandvi Port, located on the Bhuki Creek and established in the 16th century, was a famous
port town of the Sea of Kachchh known for shipbuilding work. Commerce in Mandvi Port brought
Africans, Malaysians, Chinese, Japanese, and middle-eastern Arabs. The main street of the fortified city
runs along the main bazaar of the town. The bridge across Rukmavati River was built in 1883. Maharaj
Vijayrajji built the Vijay Villas Palace near Mandvi in 1929. This palace, constructed in Rajasthani
style, was used as a summer palace. The city still retains its old character inside the fortifications.
During the earthquake, damages to the residential sector, which is mostly inside the fortifications,
range from total collapse to partial destruction. The old palace, which was functioning as a
girls’ school, suffered extensive damage. The walls of the building suffered massive cracks and
were loosened at the joints. The structure also sustained partial collapses. Gateways along the
fortifications suffered major damage (Figure 12-18). Ground fissures were observed stretching in
the east-west direction. The dharamshalas along the port and some religious structures suffered
heavy damages. The lighthouse structure developed circular cracks, while vertical cracks appeared
on the bastion that surrounds it at the base.
Kenji Khetsi Dharamshala, Mandvi Port
Built in the early 20th century, this masonry structure served as a lodge for travelers who
visited Mandvi Port. Its arcaded portico provided shade to the shops in the front and had an internal
courtyard for all household activities. The front part of the second story masonry work collapsed
(Figure 12-19) and huge cracks developed in the ground floor masonry. The roof of the first story
walls and the arcaded portico were severely damaged.
Custom Kantha Area
The town of Mandvi grew with the development of the port area by Maharao Khengarji in the 17th
century. The old housing of Mandvi, built between late17th and late 19th century before modern
seismic codes came into existence, was constructed of timber frame, brick and stone masonry
infills, and tile roofs. In most of these buildings (most of them were of two stories, three stories),
the infill masonry work developed cracks, and overhanging structures collapsed.
Heritage Structures 239
Figure 12-19. Collapsed second story of the Figure 12-20. Debris of the dome of the
Kenji Khetsi Dharamshala. Natmandir and the Shikhara of the Jain Temple.
The aboveground walls of the distressed lower
structure of the sanctum are intact, while the
stories above have collapsed almost completely.
Dhoramnath Monastery, Dhinodhar Hill, Than
Dhinodhar Hill is a small town on the highest peak of Dhinodhar Hill in the northwest of
the Kachchh region. Dhoramnath Monastery is a small domed shrine made of limestone and
mud, built by Sunderji Shivji Sodagar in 1831. It is dedicated to holy Dhoramnath, who came
to Kachchh in search of a secluded place where he could practice penance. After his success, he
built the monastery of the Kanphatas (disciples with slit ears). Than, 60 km from Bhuj and 20
km from Nakhtrana, is now a small hamlet.
Most of the structures in the monastery complex developed cracks. The walls of the priests’
quarters, with decorative stuccowork in lime plaster, developed large cracks and collapsed in places.
Domes in the samadhi area have developed cracks. The arches in the entrance portico developed
cracks. The area should be declare a heritage precinct. It has great potential for heritage tourism
and should be protected from ad hoc growth.
Jain Temple, Katariya
The sacred Jain temple at Katariya is an important pilgrimage destination of the Kachchh area. Built
on a raised plinth, the masonry temple had two chambers in a typical North Indian style, namely the
garbhagriha with a typical shikhara (pyramidical roof; a domed natmandir. The external surface
is painted. The temple has a basement with an underground sanctum, which was not accessible
because of fallen debris. The natmandir and the shikhara of the garbhagriha collapsed; only the
sanctum remained, with wide cracks in its aboveground exposed walls (Figure 12-20).
The 19th century two-storied structure enclosed within fortification with a gateway had a huge
collection of metallic, wooden and glass items, and old paintings. This structure at Wandhiya
is among the 14 minor royal palaces in Kachchh. The whole building collapsed leaving many
important artifacts buried under the debris. The partially surviving gateway, of local stone and
highly carved, has wide cracks in its masonry (Figure 12-21).
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Figure 12-21. The entrance gateway structure Figure 12-22. The damaged tomb of Ibrahim.
to the Darbargadh at Shikarpur, became
inaccessible due to the fallen debris from the
total collapse of the rest of the structure.
Lakhpat was once a prosperous area of rice cultivation. It also has remains from the Indus Valley
civilization in the form of mud fortifications inside the front entrance. After the 1819 earthquake,
the Indus River changed its course and much of the agricultural land in the area became a desert
and unuseable for agriculture without water. In the second half of 18th century, Rao Lakhaji built a
fort about 141 km away from Bhuj adjacent to the Kori Creek and the Great Rann of Kachchh.
The fort has an irregular polygon shape, reflecting its mix of many religious communities. It
also has some of the significant structures of each of the communities, like Pir Gaus Mohammed’s
Tomb, a Gurdwara (a place of worship for the Sikhs, the followers of particular religion founded
by Guru Nanak, a saint from 1469-1539 AD in Punjab, India) marking the visit of Guru Nanak
Dev, other mosques, and temples. The dome of the Tomb of Pir Gaus Mohammed developed
wide cracks at its base that narrow at the apex. Walls of the Gurdwara are also cracked due to
differential settlement. Though the residential area suffered damages ranging from wall cracks to
partial collapses, most of this damage is attributed to deterioration in the structures. One mosque
developed minor cracks in its wall. The fort wall suffered partial collapses of its battlements.
Ibrahim’s Shrine and Mosque, Bhadreshwar
In the architectural history of the Muslims in India, two small mosques and the elegant
shrine of Ibrahim at Bhadreshwar, locally known as the Dargah of Shahzada La’l Shahbaz, play
a significant role. They provide architectural prototypes for a style associated with the Muslim
trading settlements of south India in Kerala and Coromandel. These structures are dated back to
the mid-12th century (~1160), about 30-40 years before the Muslim conquest of north India.
Bhadreshwar is now a small village, but in ancient times it was an important fortified port.
The shrines of Ibrahim, the Solakhambi Masjid and the Chhoti Masjid, are the other significant
Muslim structures. These are among the oldest surviving structures of their kind in India. The
shrine of Ibrahim sustained partial collapse in the dome and entrance portico, and severe cracks in
walls (Figure 12-22). The Solakhambi Masjid, which was already in ruins, and the Chhoti Masjid
suffered minor damages. Many structures in the historic housing area were damaged.
Heritage Structures 241
part of the shikhar of the
Shiva Temple at Kera.
White Eagle School, Devpar
This two-story Darbargarh structure at Devpar built in 18th century was extended to house an
English middle school, namely the White Eagle School, in the mid-20th century. The architectural
character of the older part is rich with elaborately carved jharokhas (balconies, usually with a carved
stone/timber trellis), and the interiors are also profusely decorated with stuccowork in lime plaster.
The White Eagle School is among the 14 minor royal palaces of Kachchh. The older part of the
palace, also affected by the 1819 earthquake, suffered heavy damage in this earthquake as well.
The roof and some parts of the upper story wall collapsed. Interior decorations in stuccowork were
badly damaged. Parapet walls collapsed at many places. The jharokhas were the worst affected,
as they separated from the main structure with the loosening of joints.
Shiva Temple, constructed of sandstone and dry masonry, is among the oldest temples in the
Kachchh area. It was built in Kera by Rao Lakho Fulani in 945. It is now a state archaeology
protected structure in Kera. Nearby is the fort built during the same times. The temple rests on a
raised stone plinth with the pyramidal shikhar roof supported by a decorative wall. A balcony is
supported by columns at the back of the temple. The Shiva Temple was severely damaged in the
1819 earthquake when its shikhar collapsed (as suggested by the earlier debris lying around the
temple). During the January 26, 2001 earthquake, the existing walls either developed cracks or
had loosened joints in the stone walls. Half of the structure collapsed. The surviving parts of the
shikhar are precariously balanced (Figure 12-23).
Heritage Structures 242
Kanthkot Fort and Temple, Kanthkot
Kanthkot was the capital of the Kathis in the 8th century, and has the oldest fort in Kachchh.
Though it has seen many upheavals in its history, the fortifications were razed to the ground
in 1816 during the invasion of the British force. In the history of Kachchh, Kanthkot played
a significant role. Many rulers of Kachchh exercised great authority from this fort. Abul Fazal
mentions Kanthkot as the most important fort that went into the hands of several rulers. On the
hilltop are the remains of three temples, among the oldest in the Kachchh region. One is dedicated
to the ascetic Kanthadnath (known as Kanteshwar), the second is a Jain temple for Mahavir and
is an ASI-protected monument, and the third is the Sun Temple, which was damaged in the 1819
earthquake. During the January 26th event, the gateway fort wall adjoining the entrance of the
fort sustained partial collapse. The Jain temple that was already in ruins totally collapsed. The
Kanteshwar temple, though repaired recently, also collapsed.
HERITAGE STRUCTURES IN THE AHMEDABAD AREA
The Bhadra Citadel, constructed in 1415, is the oldest fortification of the royal buildings in
Gujarat. Built by Sultan Ahmad Shah I, the founder of Ahmedabad, this Citadel is square in plan
and has several gates, the two oldest ones being the main (or Bhadra) gate near two large massive
circular towers and the diamond (or Lal) gate. Both are on the east side of the Citadel. On the
west side, along the riverbank, the castle rests on the outer city wall, and on the remaining two
sides is surrounded by a high brick wall fortified with several imposing bastions. A mosque of
Sultan Ahmad Shah I was also built in the Citadel. This Citadel originally housed the palace of
the Sultans of Gujarat, and then the palace of the Mughal Viceroys.
The Bhadra (main) Gate, originally built in 1411, was improved over time until as late as the
19th century, as suggested by the presence of the Clock Tower. It sustained major damage to its
two circular towers during this earthquake. These towers are made of burnt brick and mortar; wall
thickness varies from about 1.8 m at the base to approximately 0.8 m near the top. The south tower
(Figure 12-24) suffered partial collapse and vertical cracks developed in the north tower (Figure
The Teen Darwaja (or Triple Gateway), built in 1415 during the reign of Sultan Ahmad Shah I, is
a gateway to the enclosure leading to the royal buildings in the Bhadra Citadel. It has three archways
of equal height separated by highly decorated buttresses. The gateway is 11 m (37 ft) in height and
the arches are approximately 7.5 m (24 ft) high. On top of the central gateway is a terrace, and on
top of the other archways on each side, there are decorated balconies. No damage was observed to
this structure as a result of the earthquake.
The Jami Masjid of Ahmedabad, constructed over a period of 12 years, from 1412-1424, during
the reign of Sultan Ahmad Shah I, is one of the largest and most beautiful religious monuments of
the city. Jami Masjid, literally meaning a place for prostration for large gatherings, is one of the
architecturally significant Masjids of India, and the most beautiful one in the Eastern world. It has
an extensive courtyard with a water reservoir in the middle, enclosed by a large prayer hall on the
west and pillared corridors on the other three sides. It is believed that much of this early Ahmedabad
mosque was built using materials from the demolished Hindu and Jain temples.
The main façade of the prayer hall consists of three main archways (Figure 12-26); the middle
one is larger than the other two. Originally this façade also had two shaking minars or minarets,
both of which partially collapsed during the 1819 earthquake. The roof of the Jami Masjid consists
of 15 principal stone domes (Figure 12-27), and is supported by approximately 300 stone pillars
Heritage Structures 243
Figure 12-24. The south tower of Bhadra Citadel in Ahmedabad suffered partial collapse of the
double walled bastion of the south gate tower.
Figure 12-25. Vertical
crack in the exterior of
the north gate tower.
Heritage Structures 244
Figure 12-26. Jami Masjid in Ahmedabad. The main façade of the prayer hall.
Figure 12-27. Details of one of the stone domes
and lintel-post system in the interior of the prayer
Figure 12-28. Central three-story nave in the
interior of the prayer hall of the Jami Masjid
Heritage Structures 245
Figure 12-29. Front façade of Bibi-ki Masjid Figure 12-30. Damage to the south shaking
with the two shaking minarets. The south (right) minaret in the Bibi-ki Masjid in Ahmedabad.
tower was badly damaged.
arranged in 15 bays along the transverse (east-west) direction and 26 bays in the longitudinal
(north-south) direction; a typical bay spans 2.8 m (9 ft). The central nave is three stories high
(Figure 12-28); the two adjacent ones are of two stories and the rest of one story. Damage to this
monument was restricted to the interior of the prayer hall, where evidence of relative motion
between the stone pieces of the roof was observed, along with local crushing.
The mosque of Sidi Sayyad, located in downtown Ahmedabad near the Sabarmati River,
was completed in 1572. Its design is distinctly different from those of conventional mosques
in Gujarat. It has 10 semicircular stone windows covered with delicately carved tracery of tree
stems and branches. Those on the western wall are considered to be the finest examples of carved
stone tracery in India. Internally, 18 pillars divide the space into 15 bays, crowned by domes of
differing styles. No damage was observed in this structure.
The Bibi-ki Masjid (or wife’s mosque) located at Rajpur, about 1.2 km southeast of the
Sarangpur Gate near the Ahmedabad railway station, was built in 1454 by Budhan-bin-Sayyid
Yakut in memory of his wife. It is a vast, ponderous building with a triple arched façade and two
shaking minarets (Figure 12-29). The south minaret was partially dismantled at the beginning
of the 19th century by an Englishman in an unsuccessful attempt to find out the mechanism that
allowed both the minarets to vibrate when one of them was shaken. The lower portion of the
minarets is richly decorated with carved sandstone with floral motifs.
Large cracks developed in the main dome during this earthquake (Figure 12-30). The upper
portion of the remaining (north) minaret collapsed as a result of this earthquake. Other damage to
Heritage Structures 246
this mosque included separation of the large masonry stones, particularly at the top and base of the
south minaret, collapse of portions of the parapet, damage to the central archway, and local crushing
of some stones.
Step Wells of Adalaj
The Step Wells of Adalaj, a historic monument located about 15 km north of Ahmedabad, is
a unique structure with underground residential facility for use in extreme summer. It has four
underground levels at some locations, and contains no special earthquake-resistant features.
This 500-year old stone and brick masonry structure suffered no damage during the earthquake,
even though numerous other monuments in Ahmedabad were damaged. There is no evidence of
deterioration of the brick masonry arches.
Sun Temple of Modera
The Sun Temple of Modera, or the temple of the Sun God, built by Bhimdev I of the Solanki
Dynasty in the 11th century, is located about 105 km northwest of Ahmedabad near the town of
Mehsana. The Sun Temple consists of two separate structures—one large and one small—and a
water reservoir with steps. The temple walls are covered with ornate carvings showing dancing
figures and other scenes from the day-to-day life. This structure suffered slight widening of already
present cracks between the stone blocks. The pre-existing vertical crack in the wall of the larger
chamber widened during the earthquake. Pre-existing cracks in the ring beam of the dome were
being monitored with glass strips pasted across the crack; one of the two strips cracked, indicating
some movement during the earthquake.
Shah Alam Tomb Complex, Ahmedabad
Built during 1475-1483, this tomb of Shah Alam, a revered local saint who wielded considerable
influence over Ahmad Shahi rulers, is an ASI-protected monument. Lying at the center of a complex,
with a mosque added in 1620 to its west, the 20 m × 20 m square plan tomb stands on a low plinth
with entrances on all four sides. The principal entrance porch is on the west side facing the mosque,
and has an inner domed chamber with two outer colonnaded aisles. The arches spanning the colonnade
have collapsed at many places (Figure 12-31) or the keystones have moved precariously. Damages
are mostly on the southern part of the tomb; some columns have also moved out of plumb. The roof
dome sustained minor cracks. The mosque in the complex suffered no damage.
HERITAGE STRUCTURES IN MORBI
Durbargadh Waghaji Palace
The Durbargadh Waghaji Palace was constructed in 1880 in memory of Wagh Bahadurisinh, a
former ruler of Morbi State. Designed in a Venetian Gothic style, embellished with classical balustrades
and a few Oriental conceits, the internal courtyards are even more eclectic with Rajput arches, Gothic
windows, and Saracenic domes. The Gothic windows are surrounded by cusped Rajput arches and the
classical urns and balustrades mingle with Moghul kiosks. Extensive portions of the Palace collapsed
during the January 26 earthquake, and the remaining were severely damaged. Some portions of the
first floor collapsed. The interiors were inaccessible due to the fallen debris of the roof (Figure
12-32). The jharokhas have suffered severe damage.
The Wellingdon Secretariat (also called Mani Mandir), a large rectangular two-story sandstone
masonry building (Figure 12-33) was built during 1934-1935 and was inaugurated by the Viceroy
of India, Earl of Wellingdon, on 13 January 1936. Although the building was built during the
Heritage Structures 247
Figure 12-32. Interior of the Durbargadh
Waghaji Palace shows debris from collapsed
roof. Tower at end suffered partial collapse.
Figure 12-31. Damaged arches in the Shah Alam
British colonial period, its architectural style has a beautifully decorated Saracenic character.
Built of yellow sandstone and marble, it is a fine blend of Hindu and Colonial style. The openings
are highlighted by “Bengal” arch roofs used as projections for sunshade. The roof is elaborately
decorated with carvings in the stone and with Rajasthani-style chhatris. The building has a large
central courtyard with a palace and a temple housed in its interior. The main sanctum of the
temple has a raised towering structure, which tapers at the apex in a North Indian temple style.
The top portion of this shikhar (spire-like crowning part of the Hindu temple) collapsed, and the
interiors were inaccessible due to the fallen debris. The roof (Figure 12-34) and portions of first
floor also collapsed. The jharokhas have suffered badly. The large block masonry structure was
intensely shaken, resulting in the loosening of the masonry and diagonal cracks at the corners
of the building. The intricately carved stone masonry columns in the interior sustained vertical
cracks during the quake (Figure 12-35).
The Lloyd Gateway, a large stone masonry gateway built in the early 20th century in downtown
Morbi, features a relatively slender clock tower. During the earthquake, the large block masonry
stones moved inwards as the arch above the clock cracked. The stones in the roof dome over the
clock tower moved away from each other. Further, the small chhatris located at the four corners
of the intermediate level roof over the gateway collapsed.
Heritage Structures 248
Figure 12-33. Wellingdon Secretariat building after the earthquake. The temple tower
sustained partial collapse. A cupola in the middle portion of the building collapsed. The walls
of large block stone masonry loosened causing large vertical cracks in walls, particularly at the
corners of the building.
Figure 12-34. The intricately decorated
sandstone surface of the entrance to the
Wellingdon Secretariat building and its
collapsed upper portion.
Figure 12-35. Longitudinal fracture of one of
the stone columns in the interior courtyard of the
Wellingdon Secretariat building.
Heritage Structures 249
Figure 12-36. Ranjit Villas
Palace, Wankaner, before
Figure 12-37. Ranjit Villas
Palace after the January 26, 2001
earthquake. Most of the damage
is at the roof level. The dome
above the tower collapsed. The
falling debris from the clock
tower damaged the rest of the
roof and the structure at levels
below. Cracks developed on the
corner of the chhatris (cupolas)
at the roof. The pillared hall on
the ground adjoining the main
structure towards the right (just
as the one on the left) collapsed.
HERITAGE STRUCTURES IN RAJKOT DISTRICT
Ranjit Villas, Wankaner
The guest palace at Ranjit Villas was intended mostly for entertaining European guests
(Figure 12-36). It was built in the 1890s within the Ranjit Villas palace complex in Bhuj. It has
superb Indian craftsmanship and modern comforts. Though of smaller size, the guest palace is as
grand as the palace itself. It was designed by Colonel Henry St. Clair Wilkins, who also designed
the Prag Mahal. (The guest palace is Indo-Saracenic in architectural style, completely different
from the Italianate Gothic style St. Clair Wilkins used in the Prag Mahal.) Until the earthquake,
Ranjit Villas compound was used as the residence of the former Maharao (king or maharaja).
During the Bhuj earthquake, the upper story collapsed in some places and the rear side balcony was
badly damaged (Figure 12-37). Art objects and marble sculptures displayed in the rear courtyard
were damaged by the debris from upper story.
Heritage Structures 250
Figure 12-39. Failure of arches at Sharad Bagh.
Figure 12-38. Damaged second story of the twin
minaret mosque, Shah Baba’s Dargah.
Jaleshwar Wat Mahal
This is an approximately 400-year-old palace on the outskirts of Halvad about 100 km from
the epicenter, built along the edge of the lake. It is a typical load bearing two-story structure with
elaborate jharokhas on its façade and extensive carvings in woodwork on beams, columns, and
brackets. A 5-story impressive octagonal tower with jharokhas on all sides stood in the middle of
the internal courtyard. The tower, constructed as a commemorative tower, is the highlight of the
palace. Due to the earthquake, there is extensive damage to the palace and tower, which sustained
structural cracks, wall collapses, and failure of timber beams and columns. The parapet collapsed
at some locations, and the roof was severely damaged and detached from the main structure of the
palace. The southern portion of the tower also suffered extensive structural cracks in the middle
of the walls and jharokhas, running throughout the height.
Heritage Structures 251
Figure 12-40. Failure of arches at Prag Mahal. Figure 12-41. Failure of the connection between
walls in Aiyna Mahal at corner.
Shah Baba’s Dargah
This is a significant religious structure in and around Wankaner. The mosque is a two-story
structure whose entrance is flanked by two architecturally wonderful circular minarets. The towers
have viewing balconies supported on richly decorated brackets (Figure 12-38). It is among the
oldest structures in Wankaner town and is believed to have been built in the 16th century. The
minaret developed major wall cracks. The top portion of the sanctum between the minarets sustained
pounding-type damage in the arches. The rear-side wall of the sanctum also has been damaged.
Even though earthquakes have been occurring regularly in the area, construction practices used
in historic buildings do not seem to have addressed the issue. Even in the choice of architectural
treatments, architectural systems like arches and domes that are not suitable for earthquake prone
areas have been used extensively (e.g., Sharad Bagh, Prag Mahal Palace, and Mahadev Gate at
Bhuj). Arches suffered substantial damage owing to outward movement of their supports generated
during the earthquake (Figures 12-39 and 12-40); displaced keystones were prominent in historic
Because the walls were not tied together (Figure 12-41), and because wall corners in masonry
structures were not reinforced, structural failures were extensive, especially when one of the
supporting walls collapsed or corners of the buildings caved in (e.g., Ranjit Villa, Alfred High
Heritage Structures 252
Figure 12-43. Fort wall, Bhuj.
Figure 12-42. Delamination of thick masonry
walls in Bhuj at Sirpat Jail.
School, and Darbargadhs at Devpur and Nagarecha). Even with timber construction, many of
the historic buildings did not use wall plates and frames, which resulted in the collapse of roofs
in many cases (e.g., Naoroji Bungalow at Bhuj).
Chhatris (pavilions) were built with heavy domes on slender supports, which collapsed under
the lateral forces of the earthquake. The best example of this is the Rao Lakhaji Chhatri at Bhuj
built in the 18th century.
Walls made up of thick masonry and of random rubble, without adequate through-stones,
sustained delamination (Figure 12-42). This was seen in almost all fortifications (Figure 12-43)
and in the jail buildings at Bhuj and Rapar. In some areas with historic housing, the damages were
due to heavy masonry structures.
Other factors that may have contributed to the poor performance of historic structures in the
region are the poor quality of mortar used as binder and the use of soft sandstone, both of which
caused walls to delaminate. Tall and flexible towers suffered extensively due to the swaying and
rattling effects of the earthquake (Figure 12-44).
Lack of maintenance of structures has resulted in their general deterioration. As a result, their
joints and structural members, especially those of timber, have weakened and may have contributed
to the collapse of these structures. Over the past three decades, attempts to restore and maintain
historic buildings by using cement mortar to close the gaps in dry masonry joints have stiffened
the structures. This led to higher lateral forces being generated in these structures, and in some
cases resulted in their complete collapse.
Heritage Structures 253
of Auliya Mosque,
There has been no definitive pattern of damage to heritage buildings as most of them behaved as
a composite structure. Even when arches and domes were extensively damaged in some structures,
there was little or no damage to nearby structures with similar construction. Within the same
parts of the old towns of Anjar and Bhuj, some streets are almost untouched, while others are in
ruins—even with similar construction and building material. There is no immediate explanation
for this phenomenon, but it would be important to investigate these aspects.
The buildings that survived with little or no effect are the ones made with construction
technology suited to face the earthquake forces. The best examples of the frame-structure buildings
that survived are the Pol construction in Ahmedabad, the Rani Vaas in Bhuj Palace, the vegetable
market structure in Bhuj made with steel trusses, and the bhongas (i.e., traditional huts) of the
Banni tribes. The frame structure in either timber or steel gives the much-required tensile capacity,
and the steel trusses result in a light roof, which is better suited for earthquake conditions. The
circular mud walls and thatch roofs with timber frames in the bhongas are observed as the best-
suited structures in the region (see Chapter 11, Masonry).
The composite character of the structures in the Kachchh region resulted in poor performance
of the historic structures of the region during the January 26, 2001 earthquake. A combination
of factors, namely geometry and dimensions, the large mass, the use of the structure, the choice
of building materials, the lack of adequate interlocking mechanisms in masonry work, and
Heritage Structures 254
the type of lateral load-resisting system adopted, have determined the overall behavior of the
historic structures in the region. Only structural systems with a timber frame system seem to
have performed well.
The regional architectural style was based mostly on aesthetics and the fashion of the times,
with little consideration given to earthquake-resistant features. Even recent modifications to these
historic buildings show disregard of earthquake considerations. Moreover, lack of maintenance
(proper monitoring and use of inappropriate materials) also exaggerated the effects of earthquake
on these constructions.
As no comprehensive protection mechanisms exist in the country for heritage structures,
interventions are required at both the area and building levels. At the area level, both policy and
planning are required that are sensitive towards cultural and conservation issues. All rehabilitation,
relocation, and redevelopment efforts should address promotion and preservation of cultural
heritage of the region. At the building level, technical inputs in terms of structural analysis,
building material behavior, retrofitting details and options for conservation of historic buildings
need to be studied in greater detail.
For the conservation of these historic buildings, interventions are required for their re-use and
technical inputs are required for their proper restoration and retrofitting. Special building code
provisions for repair seismic strengthening/restoration of heritage structures are urgently required for
their long-term protection. Available knowledge on the seismic behavior of these structures is also
very limited. Detailed studies and research will help to better understand the repair, strengthening,
and restoration processes. Maintenance and monitoring also have to be carefully understood and
worked out to prevent inflicting further damage during restoration. Reconstruction and preparation
of development plans and guidelines should incorporate earthquake resistant technologies. Long-
term strategies are necessary for managing the existing heritage structures and areas.
M.S. Commissariat, 1930. History of Gujarat. Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd, Mumbai, India.
Grover Satish, 1981. The Architecture of India Islamic. Vikas Publishing House Private Limited, New Delhi,
Tagdell, C., 1990. The History of Architecture of India. Phaidon Press Limited, London.
Government of Gujarat, 1984. Ahmedabad District Gazetteer. Government Press.
Jain, K., and M. Jain, 2000. Architecture of Indian Desert. AADI Center, Ahmedabad.
Fielden Sir, B.M., 1987. Between Two Earthquakes, Cultural Properties in Seismic Zones. ICCROM, Rome,
London, C.W., (Ed.), 2000. The Arts of Kachchh. Marg Publications, Mumbai, India.
Jethi, P.J., 2000. Kachchh People and their Handicrafts. Narayan P. Jethi, Bhuj, India.
Menon, K.N., 1999. Kachchh - The Crown of Gujarat. Raj Computers, Bhuj, India.
Williams, L.F.R., 1958. Black Hills Kutch in History and Legend: A Study in Indian Local Loyalties. Weidenfeld
and Nicolson, London, England.
World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, 2001. Gujarat Earthquake Recovery Program. Assessment
Hughes, R., and Z.A. Lubkowski. The Survey of Earthquake Damaged Non-Engineered Structures: A Field
Guide. EEFIT, London, England.
Chainani, S. Suggested Regulations for Heritage and National Precincts.
MMR Heritage Conservation Society. Development Control Guidelines for the Opera House Precinct. User
Return to Table of Contents Next Chapter
Heritage Structures 255
Diray Gupta acknowledges the contributions of all the team members of INTACH Gujarat
Initiative 2001 towards the damage surveys and financial support from INTACH.
Divay Gupta, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi, India
Eduardo Miranda, M.EERI, John A. Blume Earthquake Engineering Center,
Stanford University, USA
C.V.R. Murty, M.EERI, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
Rakesh K. Goel, M.EERI, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, California, USA
Mark Aschheim, M.EERI, Mid-America Earthquake Center, University of Illinois, USA
Figures 12-17, 12-19 to 12-24, 12-31 and 12-32, 12-34, 12-37
by Divay Gupta
Figures 12-2 to 12-6, 12-8 to 12-11, 12-25 to 12-29, 12-35 by Eduardo Miranda
Figures 12-7 and 12-30 by Mark Aschheim
Figure 12-12 to 12-14 by Paul Tirtharaj, Indian National Trust
for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi, India
Figures 12-13 to 12-15 from the archives of the Indian National
Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi, India
Figure 12-20 by Kanthan Mani, Indian National Trust
for Art and Cultural Heritage, New Delhi, India
Figure 12-35 by Jaswant N. Arlekar, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur, India