Hathi Gaon | Amber India | Integrated Design (INDE)

The primary concern of the masterplan was to recreate an ecosystem which addresses the physical and psychological comfort of the elephants and Mumbai-based architects Rahul Mehrotra and Associates were invited to lead the initiative. The settlement was to be a habitat for a hundred elephants, which included ones on active duty, calves, convalescent and aging animals as well as their mahouts (Elephant Keepers).

Limited access for tourists generates necessary revenue for the development. Vehicular access is limited to the entrance and a pedestrian pathway leads to the entrance court; a semi-shaded informal plaza for folk performances. Wetlands at the adjoining lower levels form the connection between the plaza and the elevated visitor’s gallery. Physical access for visitors is limited to the zone around the gallery, from where one can view grazing grounds and the bathing reservoir of the elephants. Housing for the elephants (Thans) and their keepers is developed along the elevated zones of the site, towards the periphery and arranged in clusters. The other built facilities include the veterinary hospital and fodder stores.

Establishment of a balanced ecosystem in this degraded site formed the crux of the design, an approximation of the natural habitat of the elephants. Zone-wise interpretation of vegetation, such as definition of the perimeter and microcosms of grasslands and wetlands, are characteristics that modulate visual access to the elephant habitat. The root system of the indigenous plant palette stabilizes the topsoil layer in this erosion-prone site in conjunction with other soil conservation measures.

Hathi Gaon | Amber India | Integrated Design (INDE)

Landscape Architects | Integrated Design (INDE)

Principal Landscape Architect: Mohan S Rao

Principal Architects | RMA, mumbai

Client | Government of Rajasthan

Location | Amber, Rajasthan, India

Area | 35 Hectares


Year of Completion:  Ongoing; Phase 1 Complete



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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/