Our Landmark Project

Our Landmark Projects

Journey of making Qutub Minar Accessible 

The Qutb Minar complex in Mehrauli, Delhi, India, showcases stunning monuments from the Delhi Sultanate era. Initiated by Qutb-ud-din Aibak, the Qutb Minar, named after Sufi Saint Khwaja Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, stands tall as a “victory tower.” Throughout history, rulers like the Tughlaqs, Alauddin Khalji, and even the British contributed to its splendor. Notable features include the iconic Qutb Minar, Quwwat ul-Islam Mosque, Alai Darwaza gate, Alai Minar, and the renowned Iron Pillar. The complex also houses tombs of historical figures like Iltutmish, Alauddin Khalji, and Imam Zamin. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, the Qutb Minar complex is meticulously preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India under the Delhi Circle, serving as a testament to architectural and historical brilliance and a key attraction in Delhi.

Journey of making  Qutub Minar Accessible 
In Year 2001

In January 2001,

The groundbreaking initiative started when Stephen Hawking visited India but lack of accessibility posed great barriers for him to move freely to see this historical monument. This was when Svayam took the mammoth task of MAKING QUTUB ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL.

In Year 2006 

In July 2006,

  • Svayam delivered a pivotal presentation to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) focusing on enhancing accessibility for Persons with Reduced Mobility at Historical Sites.
  • 31st July 2006 Svayam’s dedicated team conducted a comprehensive audit of the Qutub Minar Complex. In the pursuit of a larger mission, the Svayam team devoted days and nights to meticulously audit every aspect of the Qutub Minar Complex. This comprehensive assessment covered the monument’s website, parking, ticket counters, kiosks, amenities, access routes, canteens, souvenir shops, and various facilities.

In August 2006,

  • In the first week of August 2006, a detailed study report was meticulously prepared and submitted to for consideration and implementation.

Svayam’s audit report garnered notable recognition, with The Times of India featuring an article titled “Smooth Visit” on August 18, 2006. This publication shed light on the key findings outlined in Svayam’s comprehensive audit report.

Nov-2006

  • With the help of Mr. Paromita Desarkar, Consultant, ASI and Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Svayam designed ramps that provided all the accessible technical details. Simultaneously during this period, Svayam audited public conveniences in the Qutub Minar complex.
In Year 2007 

9-April-2007

  • Numerous visits to the monument highlighted lacunae in the implementation part. As Svayam’s hard work was not implemented properly for making a good accessible environment therefore, to express disappointment, Svayam wrote a letter to Mr. C Babu Rajeev (DG ASI) highlighting non-sensitized engineers and the contractors with regard to the design specifications that cater to the needs of the people with reduced mobility and insisted ASI to involve Svayam till the execution stage.

12-July-2007

  • On July 12, 2007, Svayam initiated efforts to enhance accessibility at other world heritage sites, demonstrating the commitment to making cultural and historical landmarks in India more accessible for people with reduced mobility.

09-Aug-2007

  • Outcome of various meetings came when ASI communicated its interest in formalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Svayam, with the objective of improving accessibility at other world heritage sites, beginning with locations in Delhi, Agra, and Goa. Following this, a draft of the MoU was prepared and forwarded to ASI for their review and consideration.
In Year 2008

 21-Feb-2008

  • Svayam along with ASI officials, conducted a follow-up audit to evaluate the construction of ramps at designated sites, ensuring compliance with the accessibility standards and submitted a comprehensive report detailing their findings and appreciating their efforts.

 12-August-2008

  • A joint inspection was carried by Svayam and Mr. K.K. Mohammad, Superintendent, ASI to assess the implementation of recommendations from the audit report and follow up report. The objective of the inspection was to identify and address the shortcomings at the time of execution, particularly concerning adherence to accessibility standards.

 23-October-2008

  • Noticing the efforts and impact of Svayam in making world heritage sites fully accessible, Ministry of Tourism invited Svayam to conduct a sensitization workshop on disable-friendly environment at tourist destinations.

 19th-Nov-2008-25th Nov-2008

Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder, Svayam and Managing Director,Jindal Saw Ltd., was invited as the Chief Guest by the Archaeological Survey of India. This invitation was extended for a celebration of World Heritage at Qutub Minar, with a special focus on engaging students from various schools and colleges. The event aimed to raise awareness about the significance of conserving monuments, encouraging students to understand and appreciate the importance of heritage preservation. 

 In November 2008,

A team of 20 Members of Parliament (MPs) led by CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Ms. Sminu Jindal, Ms. Anshu Vaish (Director General ASI)  and ASI’s officials visited the Qutub Complex in November 2008, exploring its the accessibility features. It was a historic moment indeed as it led to making other monuments accessible for all.

In Year 2009 

24th January 2009,

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was officially signed between the Archaeological Survey of India and Svayam, an initiative of Sminu Jindal Charitable Trust. The MOU established Svayam as an access consultant with the primary goal of making other World Heritage Sites accessible. This collaboration signified a commitment to enhancing the accessibility of historical and cultural landmarks, with Svayam playing a crucial role in providing expertise and guidance for these initiatives

24th February 2009

Working tirelessly for years and after 200 meetings, Svayam’s relentless efforts secured the necessary permissions, marking a transformative milestone in India’s tourism sector. This collaborative endeavour was honoured with the prestigious National Tourism Award of Excellence in 2009. The recognition celebrated Svayam’s commitment to transforming Qutub Minar into the Most Accessible and Disabled-Friendly Historical Monument.

06-November-2009

John Dutton, Member of the Executive Committee for the World Economic forum along with Ms. Sminu Jindal visited Qutub Minar Complex.  After which Australian MP made the visit too.

Challenges towards Accessibility

Comrade completed a full marketing audit

Svayam found numerous inaccessible features at the place that needed to be addressed on priority. These included lack of contrasting colors, ineffective signages at the ticket counter, thresholds and narrow metal detectors at the main entrance, steep ramps without proper features, uneven pathways with loose gravel, and inaccessible toilets, inaccessible parking, lack of resting benches, tactile site model, etc.

Suggested Recommendations

Svayam provided key recommendations to improve accessibility, such as using of contrasting colors on metallic rails at the ticket counter, relocating instructional signages, ensuring a counter height of 900 mm, and implementing a sound enhancement system. Further suggestions included embedding thresholds at the main entrance, wider gates or handheld detectors, standardized directional signage with braille, ramps leading to attractions having 1:12 gradient, safety features, and slip-resistant surfaces, uneven stone.

Qutub Minar : Journey of Making it Accessible

Capacity Building

While the access audit recommends ways of making a building or service more accessible, there may be areas where structural design may not allow much change. Even in case of an emergency, the staff needs to assist customers/us

Accessibility& Audit

The access audit identifies barriers that may exist in the present infrastructure and make recommendations to overcome them. All the good features that exist are also highlighted in the audit. During the audit the team members go around all

Access Consultancy

Svayam also provides consultancy services to help organisations incorporate accessibility at design stage itself and also while the project is executed to ensure that the end product is compliant to the accessibility