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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Qaiserbagh to retain its old world charm

Gulam Jeelani, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, June 20, 2013
First Published: 11:16 IST(20/6/2013) | Last Updated: 11:19 IST(20/6/2013)

Here is a makeover plan for Qaiserbagh that promises to take the elderly on a trip down the memory lane, and give youngsters a glimpse of its glorious past. And if all goes as per plan, by October this year, the heritage zone would bask in its past glory again.

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The state government has already prepared the guidebook for scripting the journey back in time. However, the onus of revitalising this exquisite architectural heritage is on district administration, Lucknow Development Authority (LDA), Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) and other agencies.

“The aim of the beautification plan is to evolve a system that is not only sensitive to the heritage, but also revives the ambience and provides improved civic infrastructure in the form of railings, benches, bollards, litter bins, directive signage, improved lighting and paving,” said Sanjiv Saran, divisional commissioner.

The plan outlines curative measures for refurbishing the famous façade along the less than one-kilometre stretch of the road from Qaiserbagh circle (quadrangle) to Parivartan Chowk.

To begin with, monuments like Safed Baradari, Eastern and Western Qaiserbagh Gates, Saadat Ali Khan mausoleum would be renovated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and parks like Rajaram Pal Singh Park, Butler Park and Begum Hazrat Mahal Park would be given a facelift by the LDA. Saran said there would be seating and lighting arrangements along the entire stretch to enhance the overall experience of visitors. Besides, traffic would be streamlined to make it a convenient area for visitors. “The road would be done up and will have new pathways. The area would be made nohoarding and encroachmentfree zone. Like Hazratganj, the stretch would be dotted with Victoria lamps, green patches and street furniture like benches for the convenience of pedestrians,” he added.

Historians say that the unique charm of Qaiserbagh as visualised by Wajid Ali Shah -- the last Nawab of Awadh -- has always been a visual treat on foot more than on wheels.

Unfortunately, the insensitive expansion and renovation over the years has led to unacceptable changes leading to decay and deterioration of the street’s famous façade.

“Thus, to retain its past glory, this zone needs to sustain itself on its heritage, character and flavour,” points out Muzaffar Ali, noted filmmaker.“What excites me is that the state government seems serious about conserving the heritage of the area,” he adds.

The government plans to appoint a conservationist architect and a landscape architect for the ambitious project. After the plan sees the light of the day, a two-day Qaiserbagh heritage festival would also be organised on October 27 and 28 in the area -- which was once a hub of the best of Awadhi cultural activities.

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