Neglected heritage: The inside truth about Chhota Imambada’s ‘beauty’ | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Neglected heritage: The inside truth about Chhota Imambada’s ‘beauty’

lucknow Updated: Mar 18, 2017 14:56 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Chhota Imambada

Chhota Imambada has fallen victim to the apathy of the agencies engaged in its upkeep.(HT Photo)

The state capital’s iconic Chhota Imambada seems to have fallen victim to the apathy of the agencies engaged in its upkeep.

The interiors of this 179-year-old structure are in a poor condition. The plaster of the roof is wearing off, making the red-coloured lakhauri bricks more visible while the dampness in the walls is eating into the beautiful stucco work and floral designs that make the structure distinct from others.

People engaged in its upkeep say this may cause severe damage to the structure if not checked in time.

BLAME GAME
  • People engaged in its upkeep say this may cause severe damage to the structure if not checked in time.
  • “In fact, it is also high court’s order that ASI will ensure restoration of Chhota Imambada, but it is yet to be followed,” said an HAT official.
  • “Nothing can be done now as the damage is irreparable and the report of the expert committee for the same has been submitted in court as well,” said NK Pathak, superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow Circle.

However, ASI and HAT officials blamed each other for it. HAT officials said the structure’s restoration was ASI’s responsibility. “In fact, it is also high court’s order that ASI will ensure restoration of Chhota Imambada, but it is yet to be followed,” said an HAT official.

The court’s order came in 2015, after heritage activist S Mohammed Haider moved an application in a pending PIL of 2013, for restraining the use of cement that was being used in the restoration work (being carried out by HAT) in Chhota Imambada then.

On finding the petitioner’s apprehension genuine, the court blamed HAT for causing ‘irreversible damage’ to the structure and ordered that the work be stopped. It had also directed ASI’s Lucknow Circle to visit the site, assess damage to the monument and carry out proper restoration work.

“It’s lack of co-ordination between the agencies — ASI and HAT that is further adding to the damage to the heritage structure. The condition of Chhota Imambada’s interiors is a result of cement plastering that HAT carried out on the outer portion of the structure,” said S Mohammed Haider.

HAT officials said though ASI surveyed the structure, they never turned up for its restoration. “The structure’s restoration that was part of the court’s order, is yet to be carried out by the ASI,” said Nasir Naqvi, officer on special duty, HAT.

On the other hand, ASI said that the damage to the structure was irreparable. “Nothing can be done now as the damage is irreparable and the report of the expert committee for the same has been submitted in court as well,” said NK Pathak, superintending archaeologist, ASI Lucknow Circle.