Delhi archaeology department is set to give fresh new life to at least 19 lesser-known heritages sites which have now become sites of ruins. The restoration will instigate in April and the project will cost Rs 7 crore said Vikas Maloo, head of office (archaeology). With this restoration work the department aims to bring back the original magnificence of these monuments that these had when built. From the list archaeology department has selected nine lesser known tombs in Lado Sarai, Vasant Vihar, Sundar Nagar, Savitri Nagar and Kaka Nagar, two nameless mosques in Mehrauli and RK Puram, and an ancient building in Nangal Devat Village in southwest Delhi for revamping. Other heritage structures that are to be restored are a minaret in Hastsal Village, Kharbooze ka Gumbad, burjs (towers) of Mansur, tombs of Mir Taqi, Sayyid Abid and Baghichi. . The department of archaeology signed a pact with INTACH in 2008. Since then, it took up refurbishment initiatives of about 18 buildings each year. Till date, 50 historically significant sites, including tombs, baolis, and sarais, have been restored. Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is likely to submit detailed project report by this week after which work may begin. The selection of structures will be based on recommendations from the offices of lieutenant-governor and chief minister.
Challenges & hindrances
In the process of restoration come many challenges and hindrances, specifically in restoring unknown or nameless monuments due to scarcity of information. Some structures have been ruined to such as extent that it poses major challenge in repairing them and bringing back its glory.
“We can’t find the exact date of construction. However, with the help of their architectural designs, we can trace the period during which they were built as every dynasty had a distinct style of construction. At times, things turn out to be different at the site from the available information. Then we do our own research, but that also comes to a dead end after a point,” said Ajay Kumar, director project, INTACH (Delhi chapter).
The other crucial aspect, he said, is of ambiguity in the policy for the restoration of ancient structures. “Restoration and conservation are two separate things. Already there’s an ongoing debate on the topic among conservators. The government policy only lays emphasis on consolidation and conservation,” he said, adding that illegal occupation and vandalism are other factors.
This story was initially published in HT