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.
December 30, 2016: Delhi is the national capital of India and one of the largest cities in the world. It is also a massive metropolitan area in the north side of the country. Delhi carries a charm of its own and has been the glory of the country from ages. Different people have different perceptions for this city but a true Dilliite, love their city with all its quirks.
Let’s have a look how much of the Delhiite are you?
It’s difficult to identify from the way you speak
Dilliwiites have their own language. If you haven’t used words like jugaad, setting, and vella at least once, and learnt a bulk of your Punjabi from cuss words, you are not a pucca Delhiite.
Never complained about the weather
The summer in Delhi is too hot and the winter bitterly cold. The power cuts in summer are punishing and all ACs in your flat are useless. Driving in the winter is also a pain with the heavy fog and finger-numbing temperatures.
To negotiate for that little extra
Delhiites will bargain till the bitter end. Whether it is with the stall owner in Sarojini Market or with the leather merchant in Paharganj. This also extends to those aunties who will expect the street veggie vendor to throw in the dhaniya and mirchi free, even if they bought 1kg of tomatoes.
Best place for street shopping
Whether it is the bargain clothes from Sarojini and Janpath, the handicrafts from Dilli Haat or the dubious electronics from Gaffar Market and Palika Bazaar, there is something to match everyone’s taste and budget.
Never visited India Habitat Centre
It was experimental theatre where the actors jumped around on stage wailing to depict corporate oppression. You should be grateful to the dimmed lights that hid your confused expression.
Knowledge of India’s cuisine from the state bhavans and Dilli Haat
From Kasmiri yakhni to Kerala appams and Gujarati undhiyo to Bihari liiti sattu, every cuisine in the country has due representation in the city. Sunday biryani at Andhra Bhavan, or the piping hot momos at the Nagaland stall in Dilli Haat all are available.
Love for the ‘fast food’ at Nirula’s
Outlets across the city would be packed on weekends with families wanting their fix of Capsicum Mushroom footlong, Mutton Sausage pizza, or ice creams like HCF, Nutty Buddy, or 21 Love.
Attending a farmhouse party, where the host is unknown to you
Everyone knows about the real fun of ‘house party’. Just pile into a friend’s SUV with 10 others to attend the party because you know the host’s cousin’s girlfriend’s brother’s classmate.
Exciting road trips
Whether it is via the Yamuna Expressway to Agra, a trip to Jaipur for some bargain shopping, or a trip to Kasauli, with a stopover at a dhaba, you are not a true blue Delhiite if you and your friends haven’t taken one of your father’s four cars for a quick getaway.
Queuing outside Sagar Ratna
Delhiiites favourite Udipi restaurant has now sprung up everywhere. But, back in the day when there was only one outlet, you drove all the way to Def Col, took a number and waited, till the owner announced that it was your turn to eat the best dosas and vadas in the city.
Always thinking your college or school, is the best
Whether it is college or school, the battle lines are drawn. The most epic standoff is between North Campus and South Campus. All Delhiiites have bragging rights for celebrity alumni.
Visiting Delhi’s hidden architectural monuments
Everyone knows about Purana Qila, and Humayun’s Tomb, but if you known about places like Agrasen ki baoli and the Chillah Nizamuddin Aulia, which historians believe to be the residence of Delhi’s patron saint then only you are a sacha Delhiite.
Enjoying Beating Retreat ceremony
The real pomp and ceremony is at the Beating Retreat. There is that breath-stopping moment after the last strains of Abide With Me have faded and the lights come on and the audience lets out a collective sigh of amazement.
Totallyneutraltoall those protests at Jantar Mantar
Whenever something major happens in the city, you know there will be protests at Jantar Mantar. You either curse the protesters for interfering with your shopping plans or express your solidarity…after all, this is democracy at its finest.
Bragging about the Metro to an outsider
Recently Delhi Metro is named in one poll as the second-best Metro in the world; this is Delhi at its best. Clean and punctual, it almost functions like a parallel universe of the Delhi you have left above the ground.
Smiling with pride at practically every shot in Rang de Basanti
Whether you enjoyed the movie or not, but you were so chuffed at how beautiful your city looked in the movie. For that matter, you get excited at any shot of your city in any movie.
Tour to a mall
You have visited every shiny, swanky mall that dots the NCR. You may be buying in Honk Kong, but you know it’s important to be seen browsing here. You also spent two hours getting ready to come to the mall.
Trying a new-age healing trend
Whether it is vipasna, hot yoga, past-life regression, or crystal healing, you have tried or know someone who has tried to get in touch with their inner self or tried to get aligned with universal consciousness.
Riding in a cycle rickshaw in Old Delhi or Noida
In keeping with your true nature, you haggle endlessly with the cycle-rickshawala bhaiya at your destination. And ultimately you are going to give him what he asked for.