Old Delhi’s iconic Town Hall, a symbol of the Capital’s rich past, is all set to take a bold step into the future.
The heritage building in Chandni Chowk, built by the British in 1866, will in all probability be turned into a tourist centre with a museum, theatre and food court serving the Walled City’s famous cuisine.
Lying vacant ever since the unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi moved to its swankier new headquarters at the Civic Centre in 2011, the initial plan was to convert it into a hotel. But this never took off, and a new plan emerged.
The North Municipal Corporation, which owns the building, set up a committee, which will submit a report with its recommendations by the month-end.
Why a tourist destination? The building “gives a feel of Delhi” by showcasing its history and cuisine, say corporation officials.
“Old Delhi still doesn’t have a one-stop tourist destination where a family can visit and spend a few hours. We are planning a museum, theatre, open-air amphitheatre, a food street and some sort of an open market for local artisans,” said one official.
The modernisation plan is also a throwback to the old days, when the Town Hall housed a library and museum before it was turned into the MCD HQs.
Leader of the House Mahender Nagpal said the halls could be used for seminars and functions. “There are many suggestions on how to use the Town Hall. We will select the best option,” he said.
Corporation officials said they were consulting historians from DU, JNU and ASI to help with the report. The budget is yet to be decided.