SEVERAL ‘PROTECTED’ monuments of historical importance in Mandu are turning into ruins because of neglect of authorities. Mandu, which has the largest group of historical monuments in the State, has 61 that have been declared protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The State Archeological Department has also prepared a list of 52 more monuments to be declared protected and the decision is pending with the State Government. Though the famous and big monuments are getting proper attention, there are many that are lying in dilapidated condition despite having ‘protected’ status. These buildings are changing into ruins at a very fast pace due to large bushes, plants and trees growing on the walls.
One such building is the Jali Mahal situated in the Revakund area along the going towards Rani Roopmati Pavilion. Jali Mahal was built in 1432 by then Mandu Sultan Mallik Mugith.
It is called Jali Mahal because its walls are made up of grills made of carved red stone slabs, giving a magnificent look due to the excellent workmanship. It is said that the army commander of Malwa state lived there and it had beautiful coloured glasses fitted on the inner side of the dome. The monument, which has already lost its glorious look, is on the verge of turning into ruins.
A large number of plants, creepers and bushes have grown on its dome and walls. According to structural engineering experts, when plants and bushes grow on the walls of a building the roots start penetrating deeper and deeper resulting in damage. There is no proper approach to this monument and if one wants to reach Jali Mahal they have to walk through two houses.
Whether ASI is taking care of it or not, it has fixed a board near the Mahal, hich reads: “The monument has been declared to be of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and Remains Act 1958 (24 of 1958). Whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, imperils or misuses this monument shall be punishable with imprisonment, which may extend up to three months or fine, which may extend up to Rs 5,000, or both.’’
Shyam Murari, an official of the ASI Mandu circle office, said that the condition of Jali Mahal and some other monuments has deteriorated due to excessive rains this year. “We are in the process of cleaning of the monuments.
Three types of works are being carried out by the ASI simultaneously for preservation of the monuments as well as their beautification.
The gardening branch regularly maintains greenery all around, the chemical branch applies chemical treatment for washing and preservation of the monuments and conservation department repairs the damaged portions of the buildings by using the same techniques that were used to construct them.”
But, Yashwant Verma, who resides besides Jali Mahal, told Hindustan Times that no official of ASI had visited this monument since the past 25 years so the claim that they were regularly maintaining it holds no water. Like Jali Mahal, there are more than a dozen such monuments, which are ‘protected’.