ASI encourages residents in Mehrauli to preserve the 700-year-old pond

The Archaeological Survey of India has completed major restoration work at the neglected Shamsi Talab in Mehrauli. It has also encouraged the locals to take the initiative in preserving the pond for future generations.

An ASI Delhi Circle official said: “Over the years, unscrupulous residents have been dumping garbage into this pond. Dumping has led to ugly growth of vegetation. The ASI has set up a team of dedicated workers to clear 30,000 square metres of vegetation. The exercise at Shamsi Talab is now complete.”

Involving the locals in the upkeep of the pond was another objective of the ASI.

“It was important to create awareness about the need to maintain Shamsi Talab, which was built by Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish. After the restoration work, it is heartening to find out that the residents’ welfare association has evinced interest in the pond and is already maintaining it,” said a senior ASI official.

The ASI has deputed a security guard to prevent people from dumping garbage and waste material from commercial establishments into the pond.

Speaking to The Hindu, ASI Additional Director General B. R. Mani said the objective of the conservation work was to preserve the “700-year-old pond”.

“No pressure was mounted on the ASI to undertake the restoration work. Whenever there is a requirement to preserve a monument, we undertake major restoration work. In this case, it was important to restore the pond.”

Mr. Mani added: “It also depends on availability of funds. We are not going to promote the pond as a tourist destination for national and international tourists. This is not ASI’s job.”

Originally, the pond was spread over 100 acres and was lined with red sandstone. It was repaired by Alauddin Khilji and Firoze Shah Tughluq.

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