The Delhi Government's Department of Archaeology has identified 250 monuments across the Capital for its conservation plan under which it will not only protect these places of historic and tourist interest, but also illuminate them properly to make them centres of attraction. As part of the first phase of the plan, work has been undertaken on 17 monuments.

According to the Department of Archaeology , these monuments have been conserved, protected and illuminated ahead of the Commonwealth Games and as a result have already started attracting a large number of tourists. Work related to the illumination and conservation of these monuments is being personally supervised by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit who has also been visiting them occasionally.

“The monuments have been illuminated by using pre-dominantly metal halide for greater efficiency and long life with lesser electricity consumption. Special care has been taken to avoid visual clutter and for highlighting the architectural details,'' said an official of the Department.

The conservation of these monuments has been done through use of traditional materials like lime, surkhi, badarpur, brick-zeera, gur, belgiri and curd. “Besides, traditional techniques have been used for preparation of lime mortar by grinding it in the lime mortar mill, and for providing special surface finish by providing arayish/lime punning which involves specific preparation of materials,'' the official said.

The chemical preservation has also been carried out by applying specific chemicals in order to remove the black soot, dirt, moss and lichen deposits which had accumulated on the surface of the monuments over time. Some of the monuments have also been beautified by suitable landscaping and lying down pathways to enhance their ambience.

Among the 17 monuments where work has been undertaken in the first phase are Mutiny Memorial/Fateh Garh in Northern Ridge; Turkman Gate at Asaf Ali Road; Gole Gumbad near Lodi Road flyover; Tomb of Bijri Khan at R.K. Puram; Bara Lao Ka Gumbad and Baradari in Vasant Vihar; and the tomb near M.B. Road crossing and Lado Sarai.

The other monuments that have been illuminated by the Department are Mosque of Darwesh Shah, Gulmohar Park; Tomb of Muhammad Quli Khan, Mehrauli Archaeological Park near Qutab Minar; tomb behind National Stadium; Phuta Gumbad adjoining Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; Maqbara Park at GTK by-pass; turret near Gate No.3, Lodi Garden; mosque near Butterfly Park inside Lodi Garden; mosque and four walls of an enclosed garden with its entrance gateway near Rose Garden inside Lodi Garden; and Munda Gumbad inside Deer Park, Hauz Khas.

According to the Department, the conservation and illumination would highlight that Delhi is a confluence of many visions and dreams, magnificent forts and palaces, splendid temples and mosques, grand mausoleums and lofty towers, all of which are meshed in a unique blend of beauty and design.

The Department officials point out that to protect and conserve the monuments of local importance, the Delhi Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 2004, was enacted by the Delhi Government.

The list of 250 monuments to be conserved or protected in a phased manner that has been prepared by the Department primarily pertains to lesser known monuments. However, they have great historical significance. Since they have deteriorated and were in a dilapidated condition because of lack of preservation and encroachments, the need was felt to restore them to their past glory.

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