Gulabpur Khanqah Restoration
Shigar, Pakistan
Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme

Gulabpur Khanqah is located in Gulabpur village of Shigar valley in Baltistan. It was among the six Khanqahs constructed in Shigar around 1679AD, when local population converted from Buddhism to Islam on the direction of Syed Mir Yahya, a descendant of Shah Syed Muhammad Noorbaksh. For the local population Khanqah holds the highest value in architecture as it is used for daily and Friday prayers and also used during Islamic festivals. Khanqah is also used for resolving social issues.

The conservation of Gulabpur Khanqah has saved this 331-year old historic monument which served as the long-time centre of social, cultural, religious activities for the surrounding communities. The project demonstrates the inclusion of yet another building typology in the grassroots conservation movement already actively underway in Shigar. From a state of severe deterioration and degeneration, the building has been lovingly restored through the collaborative efforts of local community members, external funders and technical advisors. A process of intensive research and documentation created a thorough understanding of the building’s structure and dilapidation and informed the subsequent conservation work, which drew upon locally-available materials and artisans trained from previous restoration activities. The project has sensitively maintained the building’s patina and sense of history, while accommodating new building services such as electricity deemed necessary for its on-going function as a space of prayer, meditation, and communal mediation. A great sense of commitment was demonstrated by the Gulabpur community, which makes the project an examplar of community-led architectural restoration undertaken with a view towards sustaining living cultural traditions.

The total covered area of the Khanqah is 447 m². Building restoration was started in September 2008 and it was completed in June 2009. Out of total restoration cost of USD 41,638, German Embassy in Islamabad provided USD 21,027  while remaining amount was contributed by the local community. Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan provided technical assistance and oversight of the project.  The project won Award of Distinction in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards of 2010. 

Sources: Citation from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Preservation and Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCS-P) 

Shigar, Pakistan
Images & Videos
Associated Names
Associated Collections
Restored from 2008-2009
447 m²
Building Usages