Germany grants Rs.96 lakh for heritage site restoration (Lead)April 13th, 2011 - 7:54 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The German government has granted Rs.96 lakh to support the conservation and restoration of Chausath Khamba, a Mughal-era tomb located in Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti.
The contribution comes under an agreement the government has signed with the Aga Khan Trust, which is in charge of the renovation project.
“On behalf of the German government, we are giving our little contribution to the wonderful work the Aga Khan Trust is doing here. Religion has extended its peaceful message from this place and we want to conserve this heritage for future generations to see,” German Ambassador Thomas Matussek said Wednesday.
Chausath Khambha is the tomb of Mirza Aziz Kokaltash, Mughal emperor Akbar’s foster brother, and was built in the year 1623-24 A.D.
The place is so called on account of the 64 (chausath) columns of the tomb structure. The marble structure together with the adjacent tomb of Mirza Ghalib comprises the largest open space in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, the settlement that traces its history to the times of the sufi saint 1238-1325.
The monument has suffered severe decay due to excessive water seepage and inappropriate repairs works using modern materials, in the 20th century. The seepage has resulted in the rusting of the clamps, which in turn have severely damaged the marble.
Past repairs in nearly every one of the 25 domed cells have included cementing the broken portions, thereby causing further damage and deterioration of the marble.
Also, in the 20th century, layers of concrete have been added to the roof in an inappropriate attempt to prevent water seepage.
These layers will need to be carefully removed to relieve the building of additional dead weight and restore the original roof levels to ensure quick water drainage.
Conservation of the monument will be undertaken as part of the Humayun’s Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti urban renewal initiative.
The initiative is a non-profit public-private partnership project of the Aga Khan development network in partnership with the Archaeological Survey of India, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Central Public Works Department.
The project is the first of its kind to combine conservation with environment and socio-economic development while working with local communities and stakeholders and will require partial dismantling of the tomb structure and will take 18 months to complete.
Beginning in September, a cultural event - Germany and India 2011-12: Infinite Opportunities - will also be organised in many cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore to promote the culture of Germany in India, the envoy said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will arrive May 30, along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will kick off the event with a major concert in Siri Fort, added Matussek.
Chausath Khambha will be featured prominently during the events.
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Tags: aga khan trust, excessive water, foster brother, future generations, german ambassador, german government, ghalib, humayun, lakh, marble structure, modern materials, mughal emperor akbar, nizamuddin, peaceful message, quick water, renovation project, sufi saint, thomas matussek, water drainage, water seepage