Conservation and Restoration of Heritage Structures

India—our land of rich cultural heritage—is a treasure house of historic buildings and monuments. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has identified more than 3650 ancient monuments and archaeological sites of national importance. There are lakhs of other heritage structures in India. They include temples, mosques, tombs, churches, cemeteries, forts, palaces, stepwells, rock-cut caves, and secular architecture as well as ancient mounds and sites which represent the remains of ancient habitation.

Natural hazards and environmental factors have disjointed and degraded many ancient structures. The architecture and materials used in heritage structures are very different from what are common today. These ancient structures vary in age, type of architecture, and use of building materials. Thus, conservation and restoration of heritage structures present different kinds of challenges.

With a scientific approach to conservation and restoration efforts, in 2018, CSIR took up a mission mode project on heritage structures. The Roorkee based CSIR-Central Building Research Institute (CSIR-CBRI) was the nodal laboratory that involved seven CSIR laboratories in as many domains. The domains were: [1] Classification and Development of Ancient Knowledge, [2] Digitization and 3D Mapping, [3] Structural Analysis and Restoration Technologies, [4] Non-Destructive Evaluation, [5] Environmental Aspects, [6] Material Development and [7] Skill Development Program.

Some significant achievements are:

  1. Creation of database of Indian heritage structures in the association with ASI.
  2. Publication of a book on features of Indian heritage structures.
    Release of Book and Launch of Website by DG CSIR
  3. Analysis and monitoring of data obtained from the Vibrating Wire Strain Gauges (VWSG) installed in Shree Jagamohana of Puri temple.
  4. Settlement prediction due to tunnelling/ excavation was undertaken for live DMRC projects.
  5. Technology transfer on “Imaging of hidden anomalies in concrete and masonry structures using ultrasonic pulse velocity” to Indian MSME firm.
  6. Technology Transfer on Nano Lime.
  7. Pilot plant for Nano lime.
    Nano Lime Plant and Experiments on Masonry Arch Controlled Settlement
  8. Design and development of seven types Wireless Sensor Nodes; namely Air Quality, Ambient Sensing, Combo Sensing, Ambient Light Sensor, Vibration, Ambient Noise and Color Fading Sensor Nodes with WiFi connectivity.
  9. Brochure on biodiversity around Ajanta Cave.
  10. Arranged Industrial meets.
  11. The training programme titled “BHAGVAN – A Search”. A training program was designed for the students of 3rd/4th year of B.Arch/ B.Tech (Civil). This aimed at enhancing the knowledge about Indian Heritage to improve the technical skills and to sensitize the today’s youth towards our Indian Heritage.

Although the project ended in March 2020, CSIR-CBRI continues to work on conservation and restoration of heritage structures.


Dr Achal Mittal
Dr L P Singh
Dr Debdutta Ghosh
Mr Siddharth Behera
Mrs Hina Gupta