Archaeological remains of a mosque, supposed to be the 17th century ‘Akbarabadi Masjid’, have been found at Subhash Park, a site Delhi Metro had identified for the Jama Masjid station as part of its Central Secretariat-ITO-Delhi Gate-Kashmere Gate corridor under phase 3 expansion.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials said they had already altered the plan for the station in view of this development. “We found archaeological remains three days ago and now stumbled upon this wall,” said a DMRC official.
Digging at the almost 7.5-acre plot, off Subhash Road in the Walled City area, led to an almost 200-feet long stone wall, buried 10-12 feet below the ground.
On Thursday, Shoaib Iqbal, Matia Mahal MLA, claimed, “These are the remains of the Akbarabadi Mosque, built by Shahjahan in 1650 in the name of his wife Akbarabadi Begum. The British had destroyed it after the 1857 revolt as it had become a prominent centre for revolutionaries’ meetings.”
Iqbal said the DMRC had no objection if he wanted to verify the presence of the monument.
Jitender Tyagi, DMRC’s director (works) said, “We have already agreed to shift the location of the Jama Masjid station and modified the plan to avoid this area.” But the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has not received any formal request yet.
“Medieval history literature has ample references to the Akbarabadi Mosque. But it would need proper study to establish that this is the same mosque. When we receive a formal request, our excavation branch will carry out the work,” said DN Dimri, ASI’s Delhi circle chief.
DMRC’s proposal for this line under phase 3 is pending with the National Monument Authority (NMA).
“We had asked the DMRC to get a heritage impact assessment report for the line. We had also warned both DMRC and ASI that digging should not begin as the proposal had not been cleared yet,” said Pravin Shrivastava, member secretary of the NMA.
The Akbarabadi Mosque is believed to be the first place where the holy Quran was translated from Arabic to Urdu. “We will now rebuild this mosque,” declared Iqbal.