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Ancient Delhi gateways, Mughal library to be restored

Tuesday July 05, 2011 07:10:32 PM, Gaurav Sharma, IANS

The southern gateway of Badarpur will be conserved after monsoon

New Delhi: Mughal prince Dara Shikoh's library, the Malcha Mahal hunting lodge of Firoz Shah Tughlaq and some ancient gateways are among the 15 neglected monuments that will get a new lease of life with the Delhi government planning to conserve and restore them after the monsoon season.

"There are several ancient monuments in Delhi which have a rich history and the government has decided to renovate them and bring them into their original form," an official of the archaeology department told IANS.

The whole conservation project follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the department and the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach) which has identified 92 structures lying in a dilapidated condition or over-run by encroachers.

"Out of the 92, 48 structures have been preliminarily notified for protection and others are in progress. In 2010, the department along with Intach conserved 17 historical sites in the run up to the Commonwealth Games. This year we have decided to conserve 15 such sites," said the official.

The department itself is housed in the 300-year-old library, built by Prince Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of emperor Shah Jahan. It is in the IP College campus. Under the same project, it will vacate the premises and move to a new building while a city museum will come up at the library.

Other prominent monuments among the 15 include the gateways at Badarpur on the outskirts of Delhi, the Bagichi Ki Masjid in Mehrauli, the gateway of the garden in the Qudsia area of north Delhi.

"There are many lesser known monuments in the capital but every monument has its own value. And there are many which are in a battered condition and have lost their shine and importance. The plan of conserving them is in a process and it can be started any time soon after the monsoon," said Ajay Kumar, a senior project manager at Intach.

Traditional techniques will be used in restoring them to their original form, he said.

"We will use the old techniques and original material in conserving them. For instance, we will apply lime plaster on these structures which was used by workers in ancient times," said Ajay Kumar.

The conservation of these sites had to be done in two phases. After the first phase, comprising preparation of site plans, documentation and photography, is completed, the second will entail structural and chemical conservation, landscaping and illumination.

Besides using old techniques, expert masons from Rajasthan, Agra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh will be called to work on them.

Along with the restoration, the problem of clearing out illegal occupants and encroachers will also have to be taken care of.

"We will have to take the help of civil administration and police to clear the encroachment from these sites as no attention was paid to it for a long time," said the official from the archaeology department.

The Wakf Board has also raised some objections over the construction work on some sites. The official was however confident that the issue will be amicably resolved.

"The Wakf Board has raised some objection but we will be able to get it out of the way and take their approval for the conservation of these sites," said the official.

(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at









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