In India, there are mainly two kinds of architectural heritage that receive attention, the “Indian” heritage and the “Colonial” heritage, the latter mostly in the form of public buildings. There are government agencies, professional bodies, and concerned individuals working to conserve some of this urban heritage. On the other hand, there are many, many small towns spread all over the vast country that have quaint and historic streets which remain obscure and neglected. These are streets lined with hundred-year-old, tile-roofed houses that hold a record of the history of the place.
The houses are also a record of the indigenous building skills that have evolved over time, but they are now being demolished to be replaced by modern concrete constructions. The price of the land is now higher and more important than the price or the historic value of the house that sits on it.
Bimilipatnam is one such town near Visakhapatnam on the east coast of India. It was a historical trading town, whose importance diminished as a new port was developed in Visakhapatnam, 25 km away. Bimili is the second oldest municipality in the country. It has some English, some Dutch, and some Indian heritage.
Bimilipatnam having once been a Dutch settlement, the Netherlands embassy was willing to be part of an initiative which would involve the residents of the town, the Andhra Pradesh government, and local non-governmental organizations for its development with a view to restore and preserve the architectural and natural heritage of the town.