Jaisalmer in Jeopardy
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Since its inception in 1996, Jaisalmer in Jeopardy has
*Raised over £170,000 from grants, events, sponsorship, Friends of Jaisalmer, donations and sales of Christmas and Diwali cards, postcards and JiJ merchandise
*Helped finance the first project in the city, the Restoration of the Maharani's Palace, or Rani-ka Mahal
*Completed the final phase of its flaghip The Streetscape Revitalisation Project
*In partnership with Giridhar Samarak Trust of Jaisalmer, World Monuments Fund USA, and implemented by INTACH completed all four Phases of the restoration of Har Raj Ji Ka Mahal
* Been awarded two major international heritage conservation awards


JiJ brought Jaisalmer to the attention of the World Monuments Fund USA resulting in their World Monuments Watch programme listing Jaisalmer among its 100 Most Endangered Sites in the World, and awarding it their maximum grant of US $100,000. This grant helped finance the first project in the city, the Restoration of the Maharani's Palace, or Rani-ka Mahal, which houses the new Jaisalmer Heritage Centre - an exciting project in itself, marrying contemporary museum design with traditional craftsmanship. JiJ funds have gone towards creating two galleries within the Centre, on art and cultural heritage. As well as an exhibition and museum space for visitors, the Centre is also designed as a community space for Fort residents and houses a new *Crafts Centre for Woman and a Children's Library. This magnificent building, the oldest Rajput palace in existence, opened to the public as the Jaisalmer Heritage Centre in 2001.

JiJ is delighted to announce that the final phase of the award-winning Streetscape Revitalisation Project is complete. This project represents a rare achievement in India, integrating the conservation of public and private amenities and spaces, from repaving the streets and renewing drains to cleaning residential facades and replacing harmful cement with traditional lime-based mortar. Perhaps the most significant aspect for some 2,500 fort residents was the installation of lavatories for every household in need. We were also very pleased to be able to meet the request of a local school to install much-needed lavatories for the children. Since commencing in 1999 with two historic streets, Kotri Para and Dhunda Para, the project has been extended to all main streets within the fort and our prime objectives have been met. The fort is now virtually watertight, thus stopping the destructive effect of waste water leaking into the foundations. Property owners and residents are aware of conservation needs and have become involved in the management of their environment. The use of traditional materials and technology and local craftsmen have helped to maintain dying skills. Above all, the project has helped to preserve Jaisalmer's unique character and traditional ways of life. It is hoped that it will serve as a model for other communities. All phases of the Streetscape Project have been funded by the Staples Trust and JiJ would like to extend their grateful thanks to the Trust and its Chairman, the Hon Jessica Sainsbury, who personally knows and loves Jaisalmer, for their generosity and faith in the project.


The £30,000 raised by the 2000 Rajasthani Tented Mela was channelled towards an emergency project. Work was urgently needed on part of the Maharaja's Palace in the Fort - one of the oldest and most significant buildings in Jaisalmer The complex had collapsed internally, and fallen debris had pushed the external wall three feet out of plumb, (left) so that it bulged precariously over the street. Immediate stabilisation was necessary, involving extensive and careful dismantling of the bulging wall (right), along with connecting structures.

Reconstruction of the dismantled wall is now complete, resulting in the restoration of this most historic section of the Maharaja's Palace complex in the fort, and making the adjacent street safe for pedestrians once more.

The restoration/excavation of this section of the Maharaja's Palace surprisingly revealed columns dating back to the 13th century and historic vats of ghee (used by soldiers as an antiseptic) and has allowed the setting up of such traditional practices as camel-powered lime-grinding

JiJ is pleased to be involved with this vital project, in partnership with Giridhar Samarak Trust of Jaisalmer and World Monuments Fund, USA, implemented by INTACH and has pledged to continue its support into phase 2 of the project.

JiJ is delighted to announce the Jaisalmer Streetscape Revitalisation Project, Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan, is the recipient of both an Honourable Mention Award in the 2002 Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Awards and the winner, in association with Greaves Travel, of the Built Environment Catagory in the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The Unesco award carried the following citation.

``The first phase of the streetscape revitalization project in the historic fort city of Jaisalmer represents an exemplary holistic approach to conserving the living public realm. Starting with the basic gesture of harmoniously integrating infrastructural amenities such as drainage systems, into the traditional streetscape, the project seeks to address a complete range of conservation issues, including façade restoration and the provision of hygienic facilities. The integrated conservation effort will establish a mechanism for educating local property owners and upgrading the entire fort in terms of modern functioning, while maintaining Jaisalmer's unique urban character and prevailing traditional ways of life. The project has the potential to create the momentum to drive a larger conservation project, serving as a best practice case study for other communities to learn from."

The Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Awards recognise the contribution individuals, organisations or companies have made to the conservation and restoration of a structure or a series of structures which is/are more than 50 years old. Houses, buildings used for commercial, cultural, religious, industrial or institutional purposes, gardens and bridges are all eligible for consideration, as are public-private partnership projects such as the conservation of historic towns, urban districts and rural settlements.

The awards programme drew applications from 15 countries and administrative areas in the Asia-Pacific region. The selection process was conducted by a panel of international conservation experts in architecture, urban planning, landscape design and heritage conservation, who met over three days to select the winners. Another fort, Ahhichatragarh - Fort of Nagaur in Rajasthan was the overall winner of The Award of Excellence. Other winners included The Yarikutz, Rupikutz, Kuyokutz, Mamorukutz Mosques in Central Hunza, Pakistan (Award of Distinction) and The Polsheer House, Jolfa, Isfahan, Iran (Award of Merit).

The British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognise best practice in the field of sustainable tourism. Competing against entrants from 32 countries, the winning projects were chosen from five environmental categories and announced at a ceremony in London on 27 November, 2002.

Judged by an independent panel of leading environmental and conservation experts, including David Bellamy, Virginia McKenna and Sir Crispin Tickell, projects were assessed on the extent to which they benefit and involve the local community and how they protect the natural environment.

The impact of visitors on the local environment was also monitored, as well as energy and water sources and the effects of waste.

Professor David Bellamy, Chairman of the judging panel, said:

"The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are now firmly established as the global showcase for sustainable tourism development. This year's winners are all excellent examples of the way it is possible to captivate the tourist without overlooking the needs of the environment and local people. Without efforts like these, tourism itself faces a threatened future."

The aim of JiJ's Streetscape Project was to a) improve the welfare of residents, b) return the streets to their former beauty by removing modern materials and restoring the old fabric of the streets and c) stop the destruction of the Fort caused by waste water seeping through cracks in the old drains and into the hillside, which has in recent years resulted in dramatic subsidence and the collapse of buildings and bastions. The project, completed in 2001, included installation of lavatories and connection to the underground sewerage system for every household; repaving the uneven streets with Jaisalmer stone; relining the storm drainage and replacing the concrete manhole covers with stone - a dramatic improvement in terms of aesthetics, hygiene and the conservation of the fort, creating a better environment for residents and visitors alike.

The five BA Tourism for Tomorrow category winners are:

Tourism Organisation - Tribes Travel, Suffolk.
Built Environment - Jaisalmer in Jeopardy in association with Greaves Travel
Accommodation Project - Club Sun N' Sand, Kenya.
Environmental Experience - The Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretative Centre, Canada.
National Parks and Protected Areas - Bouma National Heritage Park on Taveuni Island, Fiji.

As with Phase 2 and Phase 3, The Streetscape Revitalisation Project Phase 1 was made possible with funding by the Staples Trust (UK) and the work was carried out on JiJ's behalf in Jaisalmer by INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage).

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17 December, 1994 Article ‘Collapse of the Golden City’ by Sue Carpenter is published in New Scientist magazine and sent out to 100 influential people with an interest in India, conservation and architecture, from the Prince of Wales in Britain to the Chief Minister of Rajasthan.

7 June, 1995 Lecture on Jaisalmer in Jeopardy by Sue Carpenter at the Nehru Centre, the cultural arm of the Indian High Commission, London. An informal group springs from this event.

1 September 1995 The Jaisalmer in Jeopardy campaign is presented with the award for Best Social Innovation in the Environmental Category, by the Institute for Social Innovations

17 May, 1996 The charity is officially registered with the Charity Commission, UK

23 May, 1996 Jaisalmer Fort is selected for the inaugural *World Monuments Watch list of 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world. Re-selected for the 1998 and 2000 Lists.

9 July, 1996 The charity is officially launched with an exhibition of paintings, prints and photographs of Rajasthan by contemporary artists, at the Groucho Club, London. Around £5,000 is raised.

3 April, 1997 Lecture on Jaisalmer by Sue Carpenter for the Royal Society for Asian Affairs at the Society of Antiquaries, London

29 September, 1998 First major fund-raising event, a lecture by Sue Carpenter on Jaisalmer in Jeopardy, followed by a champagne reception at the Royal Geographical Society www.rgs.org, London, which raises about £14,000.

29 January-1 February, 1999 Tented camp and mela in Jaisalmer, organised by INTACH to raise funds for the Jaisalmer Conservation Initiative. A uniting of Indian, British and American parties concerned about Jaisalmer, the event is attended by leading figures from INTACH and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Trustees of Jaisalmer in Jeopardy and the President and Vice-President of World Monuments Fund.

27 March, 2000 Fashion show by top Indian designer Ritu Beri at the Rathaus, Vienna, organised by the Vienna Indian Women’s Association, in aid of Jaisalmer in Jeopardy and a local charity. Raises 64,700 Austrian schillings (approx £3,235) for JiJ.

13 June, 2000 Second major fund-raising event, a Rajasthani Tented Mela and lecture by Clarissa Mitchell at the Royal Geographical Society, London, in the presence of HH The Maharawal of Jaisalmer. Raises in excess of £30,000.

October/November, 2000 First JiJ tour of Rajasthan raises approx £100 per member of the group.

6 and 7 December, 2000 Fund-raising shopping evenings at Opium, the London emporium for Indian furniture and gifts

February 2001 Second Sue Carpenter-led tour of Rajasthan

September 2001 Sue Carpenter invited to join Board of Jaisalmer Heritage Trust as 'Special Invitee'

3rd October 2001 Private View of John Mole paintings of Rajasthan at the Slademore Gallery, Mayfair.

6th November 2001 Diwali Dinner at Chelsea's Vama, The Indian Room for friends and supporters of JiJ, attended by HH The Maharawal of Jaisalmer

December 2001 Second fund-raising shopping evening at Opium

3rd October 2001 Private View of John Mole paintings of Rajasthan at the Slademore Gallery, Mayfair. 6th November 2001 Diwalia Dinner at Chelsea's Vama, The Indian Room for friends and supporters of JiJ, attended by HH The Maharawal of Jaisalmer.

UNESCO's Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation

October 2002 Jaisalmer in Jeopardy in association with Greaves Travel awarded winning entry in the Built Environment Catagory of British Airway's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

19th November 2002 City financial firm City Index hosts fundraising Diwali Dinner at Westminster's Cinnamon Club

Decenber 2002 Third fund-raising shopping evening at Opium

23rd September 2003 INDIAN INK - Salman Rushdie and William Dalrymple in conversation at a special private view of Christie's Arts of India sale raising £18K+ for JiJ

13th November 2003 The Narrative Cloth - Gallery Talk by Dr John Smith, Reader in Sanskrit at Cambridge University on Pabuji ki par at the Joss Graham Gallery as part of Asian Art Week in London

8th October 2004 INDIAN EXTRAVAGANZA AT THE V&A - Barry Norman and Shekhar Kapur discuss Indian and international cinema at a special private view of the V&A's major exhibition Encounters: The meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800