ASI forgets ‘protected’ tomb | delhi | Hindustan Times
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ASI forgets ‘protected’ tomb

delhi Updated: Mar 16, 2009 01:45 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

There have been instances of heritage monuments gone missing but whose names continue to figure in the list of 'protected' monuments.

But here's a case of a 13th century structure—Khan Shaheed's Tomb in Mehrauli —that exists but whose name is missing from Archaeological Survey of India's (ASI) list of protected monuments in Delhi.

As you enter the Mehrauli Archaeological Park from the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Khan Shaheed's Tomb is the first structure on the left. What remains today as Khan Shaheed's Tomb is a rectangular pillared structure with a peculiar vault on a raised platform and remnants of an enclosure wall.

The monument was declared 'protected' by the ASI in the early 1970s. But it neither has the characteristic blue board declaring that this is a centrally protected monument nor does its name figure in ASI's records.

The gaffe came to light when the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which has been carrying out conservation

work at the Mehrauli Archaeological Park since the last 10 years, dug out revenue records of the area.

As part of its groundwork for monuments to be declared protected by the Department of Archaeology, Delhi government, INTACH officials wanted to ascertain the khasra (land record) number and the ownership of the land over which the structure stands. "We contacted the local patwari (revenue department official), who showed us papers that clearly state that the monument was declared as 'protected' by the ASI in the 1970s," said A.G.K. Menon, INTACH's Delhi Chapter convener.

ASI Delhi Circle superintending archaeologist K.K. Muhammed said, "Our list does not have this (monument). We are not aware of any such structure."

"We would have to check the revenue records first and only then we would decide on the further course of action," Muhammed said.