Mughal era towers crumbling brick by brick

Greater Kashmir
Publish Date: Sep 15 2014 12:10PM | Updated Date: Oct 10 2014 3:59PM
Mughal era towers crumbling brick by brick

Ten days after the crumbling of one of the two ‘minars’ (towers) of Lahori Gate at the entrance of historical Qila Sarai at Sultanpur Lodhi on Thursday last, the authorities concerned are yet to wake up to the cause.

Heaps of debris that lie at the entrance of the gate presents a picture of neglect on the part of the heritage and tourism authorities towards the significant archaeological monument.

The monument dates back to 800-year-old Lodhi dynasty and its two gates, Lahori Gate and Delhi Gate (which lies permanently closed on the back side), were part of the erstwhile GT Road. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is learnt to have rebuilt it. It was here that his sons Aurangzeb and Dara Sheikoh took up their studies. Guru Nanak Dev is also learnt to have spent time here.

The fort currently houses the Sultanpur Lodhi police station and the DSP’s office. The partially broken Lahori Gate is the only access point for the scores of police employees and residents coming here daily. Even after Thursday’s incident, the police vehicles continue to pass through the gate, shaking its fragile structure every now and then.

Onlookers say the life of the remaining part of the gate would not be much unless it is preserved at the earliest. As birds perched on it today, some loose bricks and dust started falling. “Any calamity, storm or even heavy rain may lead to the crumbling of the other ‘minar’, which seems to be losing its balance now,” says Sonu, a trader who has his shop opposite the building.

In August 2008, a conservationist group, The Anad Foundation, led by prominent vocalist Bhai Baldeep Singh, had even presented a proposal for restoration of the two gates and the fort to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. They had prepared an estimate of Rs 7.2 crore, but the government continued to turn a blind eye.

The government is learnt to have rather hired its own consultants two years ago, got the fort re-plastered with a thick coat, only to scrap it later. Bhai Baldeep Singh says, “I call it pseudo-conservation, the result of which is before you. The inexperienced hands rather left marks on the beautiful thin bricks. It was the worst masonry which they did. I do not mind to call it murder of the last traditional remains in Punjab.”

For the commoners, the fort and the gate seem to have become irreparable, though conservationists believe otherwise. “There is no monument that cannot be restored. It only needs the mind and hands of an expert. The collapsed portion can be reconstructed by experts,” says US-based Harjap Aujla.

Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner DS Mangat says he would get in touch with the officials and apprise them of the situation.

Raji Pramod Shrivastava, Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Museums, Archives and Archaeology, says, “I will send a team to the site on Monday to ascertain what needs to be done.”

Latest News

  1. 8:38PM
  2. Woman shot dead in Pulwama village
  1. 7:47PM
  2. Hizb militant, harbourer arrested in Kulgam: Police
  1. 7:20PM
  2. Clashes erupt in Kangan after Friday prayers
  1. 6:44PM
  2. Clashes in Sozeith in central Kashmir
  1. 6:37PM
  2. Policing in JK involves unique challenges: Mehbooba
  1. 5:06PM
  2. Kashmir: One dies, another injured in road accidents
  1. 5:05PM
  2. Fire damages four structures across Kashmir
  1. 4:52PM
  2. Jamaat-e-Islami district president arrested in Bandipora
  1. 4:49PM
  2. BSF says it killed 15 Rangers; Pakistan denies
  1. 3:46PM
  2. Blast near CRPF party in Pulwama; no casualties reported
  1. 3:38PM
  2. Pakistan opposition calls for nationwide protests
  1. 3:30PM
  2. Kashmir doctors’ body says eating poultry safe, cautions poultry farmers
  1. 3:12PM
  2. Clashes in Bandipora after forces foil pro-freedom rally
  1. 3:07PM
  2. Five suspected militants, policeman arrested in Kashmir
  1. 2:42PM
  2. Farooq Abdullah meets PM, presses for early dialogue on Kashmir
  1. 2:36PM
  2. No Friday prayers at Jamia again; Mirwaiz detained outside Nigeen residence
  1. 2:30PM
  2. India condemns Pakistan's expulsion of high commission staffer
  1. 2:26PM
  2. India, Pakistan need to solve issues themselves: US
  1. 2:02PM
  2. Army pays tributes to soldier killed in Kupwara gunfight
  1. 1:27PM
  2. Woman killed as India, Pak exchange fire on LoC in Mendhar
  1. 1:22PM
  2. Indian-Americans raise over USD 10 million for Clinton Campaign
  1. 12:06PM
  2. Farooq Abdullah calls on PM Modi to discuss Kashmir situation
  1. 10:24AM
  2. Pakistan trade body hints at suspending ties with India
  1. 10:17AM
  2. Three civilians injured in cross-border shelling in Jammu
  1. 9:56AM
  2. Day 112: Curfew in Srinagar parts to foil 'Jamia chalo'; shutdown across Kashmir
  1. 9:43AM
  2. JKLF Chief Yasin Malik shifted back to jail from hospital