The season's highest rainfall — 89.3 mm — for a day on Thursday had most unlikely of a casualty: Caving in of a portion of a centrally protected 500-year-old monument in Mehrauli.
A thick parapet wall of a huge well inside Madhi Masjid, under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), fell apart after heavy rains exerted pressure on the soil around it. The ground around the well was already in bad condition, thanks to a network of holes and burrows by rats and mongooses.
The Madhi Masjid is known for its unique architecture as it stands on a three metres high platform with a tehkhana (dungeon) roofed with a pyramid shaped dome.
ASI officials said they don't have a way to fight the rats' menace. The well is barely few feet away and further cave in can damage the monument. However, a source said, "An apron can be built around the well so as to prevent rodents from burrowing in."
Apart from the rodents, ASI also blamed the heavy rains for the damage.
"The rainfall has been very heavy this time round. We are aware of the problem but full repairs can be undertaken only when rains subside," said ASI spokesperson Dr B R Mani.
The agency uses lime mortar for repairs of heritage monuments instead of modern materials like cement. "Lime mortar needs time to dry and set … rains will not help it. We will undertake a detailed repair work after monsoon," an official said. Incidentally, one of the turrets (burj) on the northern side had torn apart after heavy rains 10 days ago. It too needs repairs.