Delhi will soon have cafeterias that serve hundreds of years of history, along with cups of cappuccino.
After years of reservations about allowing full-fledged dining facilities in the premises of the heritage monuments, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has finally decided to lower its guard.
Reason: the Commonwealth Games.
Come October, some of Delhi’s biggest heritage monuments – Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Purana Quila and others -- will have swanky cafeterias with their plethora of popular beverages and light snacks. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is finalising the broad contours of the plan, already approved by the Ministry of Tourism.
“Every cafeteria will be different, going with the surroundings of each monument,” said KK Muhammad, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Delhi.
“We will invite private players to set up the facilities.”
The tendering process, he said, would begin in a couple of months and the process of identifying the suitable areas at the monuments is on.
Littering has always been the one major concern that prevented such facilities from coming up in monuments.
The ASI is preparing strict guidelines for the cafes and the patrons on this.
“Heritage monuments always need such facilities because they are open to tourists,” said AGK Menon, convener of the Delhi chapter of Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a nationwide organisation working on conservation.
“In the past ASI had allowed partying in front of the monuments. That was inappropriate use of monuments. I am sure the cafeterias will not be such ventures.”