The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was supposed to protect it, but after issuing a preliminary notification, the central agency all but forgot it.
Now, thanks to the Commonwealth Games and more importantly, its location, a small Tughlaq era monument, called Phoota Gumbad, is getting a facelift.
Delhi’s State Archaeological Department has recently started work on the monument, situated to the south west of the Jawaharlal Nehru (JLN) Stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Games, among other events.
Earlier, a team of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) had given approval for the stadium’s renovation work. Sources said the DUAC observations were very clear, “It (the tomb) must be retained and integrated with the stadium design. There should be no damage to the monument.”
Fortunately, there has been no damage to the structure of the monument but it presents a very odd site, ensconced as it is between the strong iron girders of the renovated Stadium.
The ASI had issued the preliminary notification for the monument in March 2004, along with two other structures within the JLN Stadium premises, one on the north west side called Kala Gumbad and the other, on the south west side, without a name.
The agency brought out the final notification for a 16 faced unknown tomb in December 2004 but the same was not done for the remaining two tombs.
“Till the time a final notification is issued, it is understood that the monument is under the state archaeology department,” said ASI spokesperson Dr B R Mani. He, however, did not give any reasons for not issuing the final notification.
The State Archaeology Department’s Jaspal Singh said, “The conservation work could not have been taken up before the civil work for the stadium was completed. Now that it is complete, we have started the conservation work and we are confident of completing it in a month’s time.”