Oral Traditions and Expressions
Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
Education and Training
Sahapedia is an open online knowledge resource on the arts, cultures and histories of India and South Asia, focused on research, documentation and dissemination on the arts and culture for their preservation as well as revitalization.
Informed by the spirit of collaboration, our goal is to create an inclusive cultural space of dialogue and discussion, by providing access irrespective of geographical location or institutional affiliation. To this end, Sahapedia works in digital cultural mapping, and organizes heritage walks and educational talks and interactions, so as to encourage learning related to local cultural contexts and resources.
Sahapedia is an open online knowledge resource on the arts, cultures and histories of India (broadly, South Asia) based on both curated and crowd-sourced content. Derived from the words ‘Saha’, Sanskrit for ‘together with’, and ‘encyclopedia’, Sahapedia integrates multimedia, text and visual mediums to facilitate the study of indigenous culture across 10 domains such as Knowledge Traditions, Visual & Material Arts, Languages & Literature, Institutions, People, Histories, Practices & Rituals, Built Spaces and Natural Environment.
Sahapedia also provides a platform for registered members to submit material for curation and form communities. Subjects are explored through articles, interviews with experts and practitioners, photographs, audio tracks, video documentations as well as interactive timelines to bring out the links across domains and offer a non-linear perspective on Indian culture. Sahapedia also hosts a digital library comprising institutional and personal archives, and provides information about cultural events in India though the calendar and news section.
S. Ramadorai (Former Vice Chairman, Tata Consultancy Services, and Chairman, National Skills Development Agency) is the President and mentor of Sahapedia. Sudha Gopalakrishnan (Founder-Director, 2003–07, National Mission for Manuscripts, Government of India, and an expert on intangible cultural heritage with UNESCO) is the Vice President and Executive Director of Sahapedia.
Information on of some of Sahapedia’s initiatives/projects are provided below.
The core of Sahapedia is the encyclopaedic resource on India’s art, culture and history across 10 domains such as Knowledge Traditions, Visual & Material Arts, Languages & Literature, Institutions, People, Histories, Practices & Rituals, Built Spaces and Natural Environment.
Oral Histories Project – The Oral Histories project documents the memories, lived experiences and opinions of people who are repositories of knowledge in the fields of arts, culture and heritage. Under this collaborative effort between Sahapedia and Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS) in Shimla, extensive interactions with knowledge bearers have been filmed, recorded and transcribed.
Cultural Mapping Project of Fort Kochi – Sahapedia collaborated with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale on a Cultural Mapping project focussed on Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. The project involved the creation of a dynamic digital resource that recorded the complex native, settler and colonial history of the island space of Fort Kochi and Mattancherry in Kerala, India, and making this resource accessible to those who engage with this landscape. The website was launched in collaboration with the international contemporary art festival, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
Multi-Volume Documentation Project of the Rashtrapati Bhavan (the residence of the President of India) – Commissioned by the President’s Secretariat and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Sahapedia has completed this project to bring out a series of 11 books on different aspects of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Sahapedia-Paramparik Karigar Collaboration – Sahapedia has a collaboration with Paramparik Karigar (an association of craftspeople) to document the work of craftspeople it represents by preparing modules, which comprise articles, interviews and multimedia features, to provide an integrated understanding of these art forms.
Sahapedia’s Museum Mapping Project: Museums of India – It is an initiative to trace and create an all-inclusive database of the museums of India. The project covers all type of museums, from Government museums to private or corporate museums to personal collections and University museums. It offers a dynamic digital platform for audiences to view consolidated information on museums, the highlights in their collections and provides them with an opportunity to interact with museum professionals.
Sahapedia UNESCO Fellowship 2017 – ‘Saha’, Sanskrit for ‘together with’, is an invitation to explore together the richness of our cultural landscapes. The Sahapedia-UNESCO Fellowship programme is an extension of this invitation to engage with the rich and diverse range of arts, heritages and cultures of India. The Fellowship programme offers two variants currently—the Sahapedia Project Fellowship and the Sahapedia Research Fellowship.
Heritage Walks Programme – Sahapedia has been conducting heritage walks across 16 cities, which cover varied aspects of our cultural and natural heritage. Curated thematically, Sahapedia aims to make heritage engagement programmes more holistic and inclusive through such an initiative.
Baithak Evenings with Sahapedia – The ‘Baithak evenings with Sahapedia’ talk series started with the simple idea of creating an informal multi-disciplinary platform that would feature speakers discussing various facets of India’s history, culture, arts, heritage and popular trends. As the name suggests, these talks are in the mould of informal and lively discussions, resembling a traditional baithak. The talks are recorded, and are hosted on Sahapedia’s website after editing.
Collaboration Project with Rupayan Sansthan – Sahapedia is currently collaborating with Rupayan Sansthan and Arna Jharna: The Desert Museum, in Jodhpur, in order to digitise the archive and curate relevant content on oral traditions for Sahapedia, encourage research, redesign and enhance the off-line and online engagement, and to make the archive and museum establishment self-sustainable.
Digitisation of institutional archives – India has rich cultural as well as performance tradition and there have been extensive documentation efforts around it in recent times. But there is a need to integrate nationwide institutional and individual theatre archiving efforts to create a comprehensive and dynamic online resource. As an initiative in this direction, Sahapedia collaborated with National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) and National School of Drama (NSD). With NCPA, Sahapedia has digitised the copyright-free articles that appeared in its Quarterly Journal, published between September 1972 and March 1988. These articles can now be accessed by a wider audience through Sahapedia’s library section. Sahapedia collaborated with NSD to prepare a module on the iconic play in verse, Andha Yug, by poet-playwright-writer Dharamvir Bharati.
Heritage Education – To promote heritage education in schools, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)—the largest board of secondary education in India—collaborated with Sahapedia to develop a micro-site where students were encouraged to explore their built, natural and cultural heritage. Sahapedia produced content for the site in the form of video clips, prepared heritage education guidelines for the Board and selected Sahapedia content for featuring on the micro-site as resource for schools and teachers. Sahapedia collaborated with St. Stephen’s College in Delhi to conduct a one-year certificate course in 2012–13 to introduce undergraduate students to the range and values of Indian arts and cultures, with an emphasis on the plurality intrinsic to the heritage of India.
Documentation of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
Contact Information (Organization)
C-1/3, First Floor, Safdarjung Development Area, New Delhi 110016