Work began last evening on the construction of the country's first sunken museum at the iconic 16th century tomb here, one of the 25 'adarsh' (model) monuments recently designated by the Union Ministry of Culture.

Inspired by the baolis (underground wells) of northern India, and set to be completed by 2017, it will showcase the heritage of the Nizamuddin Area over the last seven centuries.

"The museum will serve as a bridge between the past and the present. It will link the modern city of Delhi to its heritage and will be a gateway to a truly extraordinary period in human history," the Aga Khan said at the foundation laying ceremony at the World Heritage Site last evening.

As part of urban renewal initiative, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is building the museum on behalf of  the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with a funding of Rs 49 crore from the Ministry of Tourism.

It will be located at the entrance zone of the World Heritage Complex and would serve as a bridge between the three sites of Nizamuddin, Sunder Nursery and the 16th century tomb.

"As I have said during the opening of the restored tomb one-and-a -half years ago, we are working in a magnificent partnership, and it holds true for this museum project as well.

The Aga Khan, 78, today received the Padma Vibhushan, country's second highest civilian honour, from President Pranab Mukherjee.

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