FWF - Digital Chamba - The Cultural Heritage of Chamba Digitalisation Project

Project: Research project

Description

The region of the former kingdom of Chamba, now a district of the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh, preserved a remarkable amount of its cultural heritage up to the present day making it one of the most significant cultural areas of Northern India. Situated at the outskirts of the Western Himalayas, it reflects cultural developments which synthesised the art of Kashmir and the North Indian olains with the culture of the hill states at the gates of Western Tibet. The art and architecture of Brahmapura (modern Bharmour), the early capital of the region, as well as other places like Chhatrari and Chamba Town, bear witness to almost 1500 years of artistic, religious and socio-cultural traditions.
The project’s aims are the documentation, analysis and digitalization of the various aspects of this culture. The starting point is the architecture including all the construction methods, paradigms of design and its related art form such as wood carvings – in particular focusing on ceilings and portals as well as the enshrined artefacts, i.e. the deities for whom the temples were built. The types of temples to be surveyed are either made of wooden, such as the Lakshana Devi Temple of Bharmour, or of the Nagara type, made of stone with its classical, curvilinear Shikara tower. Based on the architectural survey, detailed plans will allow the analysis and visualization of the proportional systems and the structural aspects as well as the iconographic programs. Portals are of crucial importance not only based on their refined art, but also because they provide the visual and iconographic frame for the main idol. Portals reflect the essence of the intellectual background of a monument. Beyond that, the project aims at documenting the wider context regards to geography and the socio-cultural environment. This includes the study of rituals (pujas, processions, etc.), the religio-cultural landscape on a local and cross-regional level, as well as a comparative study with the art and architecture of pre-Islamic Kashmir.
The project will take into account the latest developments in the field of digital cultural heritage (DCH) as a sub-branch of digital humanities (DH). An interactive project website will form the core of the project. It will be based on digital, architectural models with complementary maps, plans, photographs, films and texts. The data will be made applicable for smartphones, tablets, etc., and, in a further step, for cultural reality. Thus, the results will not only become accessible for a small circle of researchers, but will also allow a wider public to learn more about the cultural history of this significant part of Indo-Himalayan culture. The project will implement DCH tools and methodology into the field of cultural studies in the Indian and Himalayan context.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/06/1931/05/23