By NewsGram Staff Writer
New Delhi: For a long time, Paharganj has been identified with number of budget hotels swarming with foreign tourists. But what goes unnoticed among all this hubbub is the archaeological legacy left by two sultanates in the capital. A victim of carelessness and exploitation, the Tughlaq-era Baradari and the Lodhi-era tomb have been finally given their due and now restored to their original glory. All the applause for this feat goes to the intensive conservation programme launched by Intach in collaboration with the Delhi archaeology department.
These two monuments have now the potential of becoming important tourists spots, according to officials. The tomb was being used as a godown for several years, swamped by commercial establishments, a garage and tea stalls. While the Baradari was used for residential purposes and to store goods.
“The encroachments were removed in 2009 but the conservation plans took longer. There was a lot of resistance from locals who treated the monuments as parking lots and godowns,” an official was quoted as saying to a national newspaper. It took around 10 months to complete the project, which involved removing the alterations like partition walls and other temporary structures erected inside the tomb.
“Once work started, we found that locals had actually built an additional floor inside the structure, which was used as sleeping quarters. That had to be removed carefully so as not to damage the structure itself. Extensive use of cement was found as well, which had to be removed because the structure was on the verge of collapse. Consolidating the building by removing the alterations took a lot of time,” said officials.
Permission was also sought by the forest department to remove two big trees adjacent to the tomb. “Once the cement and plaster was removed, we found hidden patterns in the structure, niches, arches and mouldings. The idea was to bring back the original integrity of the monument and restore all the original designs which has been hidden beneath plaster,” the official added.
As a security measure, to prevent any vandalism and future encroachment threats, railings have been erected around the monuments. The monuments have been graded A and B in terms of archaeological value in the Delhi heritage listing. The biggest challenge, as the officials claim, was the removal of tree branches and foliage from the five domes on the roof of the tomb.