Heena Gajjar and Amita Sinha

Volume 3, Issue 2, September 2016
pp. 36 – 57

heena-gajjarHeena Gajjar was a University Olmstead Scholar in 2015 and graduated with a Masters in Landscape Architecture from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA. She is currently working as a landscape designer with Sasaki Associates in Watertown, MA.


Amita SinhaAmita Sinha, is a Professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA. She is the author of Landscapes In India: Forms and Meanings (University Press of Colorado, 2006; reprinted by Asia Educational Services, 2011) and editor of Landscape Perception (Academic Press, 1995) and Natural Heritage of Delhi (USIEF and INTACH, 2009). Her co-edited volume Cultural Landscapes and Heritage Conservation in South Asia will be published by Routledge in 2017.



The coastal peninsula of Okhamandal in Gujarat, India is a popular pilgrimage destination, especially the holy city of Dwarka established by Krishna and swallowed by the sea upon his death. The environmental history of the region is marked by a continuing tussle between humans and nature in reclaiming land from sea. Archaeological findings and changes in the shoreline suggest repeated inundation and rebuilding. Presently, threatened by rise in sea levels due to climate change and desertification due to salt ingress. One of the four major holy sites across the Indian subcontinent, this landscape of immense cultural significance is visited by nearly two million pilgrims annually. The ongoing infrastructure development is harmful to its fragile ecologies and disturbs the ambience of its sacred sites. It is proposed that the lapsarian approach to landscape design guide the conservation of Dwarka and other pilgrim sites in Okhamandal. This will promote resiliency, encourage a faith based environmental ethic, and sustainable management of sacred sites.

Climate Change, Dwarka, Resiliency, Lapsarian, Pilgrimage, Myth, Krishna