ASI carries out restoration of Mughal-era parts of Red Fort

Chhatta Bazaar arch after the restoration work at the Red Fort in Old Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Over the past year, Mughal-era artworks that were hidden beneath layers of plaster have been restored and many structures built in the post-Independence era have been demolished as part of the Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) restoration and preservation works at the Red Fort here.

450 structures removed

N.K. Pathak, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Delhi circle, said that about 150 of the structures that were built for the Army, which used the premises from the 1950s till 2003, were demolished in the past year. In all, about 450 of these structures from the “Army period” have been demolished in the last few years, he said. However, the arched structures, including 10 barracks built by the British Army, have been preserved due to “heritage value”, an ASI statement said on Monday.

“More areas have been opened for the general public and eyesores like metalled roads, roundabouts, toilets and concrete water buildings have all been demolished,” the ASI said, adding that water kiosks and new toilets in the museum buildings have been constructed.

By removing the structures, which included living quarters and sheds, the ASI has been able to take the green space inside the complex from 15 acres to 52 acres, the statement added. Five new museums — Subhas Chandra Bose and INA museum, Yaad-e-Jallian museum that is dedicated to the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, the museum on 1857 – India’s first war of Independence, Drishyakala – museum on Indian Art and Azaadi ke Diwane museum — have been set up in the remaining buildings.

More museums have been planned by the ASI and renovations are on in the remaining buildings, the statement added.

The projects also included exposing and restoring the paintings of Chhatta Bazaar, where geometric and floral patterns were hidden under six to seven coats of lime. The artwork restoration took about a year and was completed recently, the ASI said.

It also said that Chhatta Bazaar has been restored to its original design, with the heavy shutters in the market being replaced with wooden doorways that have arches on top. Flooring of red sandstone and jaali work was done as part of the renovations. Paintings and marble surfaces of Diwan-i-khas and Zafar Mahal were treated scientifically and Moti Masjid, Sawan and Bhadon pavilions and Hira Mahal were treated with clay.

In the future, cleaning of Rang Mahal, Khaas Mahal and Mumtaz Mahal has been proposed. Conservation of the Mumtaz Mahal is on right now, the ASI said.

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Printable version | Jul 21, 2021 1:26:38 PM |

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