The 126-year-old Durbar Hall, a monument of Indo-Saracenic architecture built by Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala, is set to get its grandeur back. The Hall is being renovated and construction work has been on full swing since January.
Saracenic is a term used to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs.
The Hall was built in line with Sikh tradition: it had grand interiors for public functions and was used as by the Maharaja as his durbar (court). More than 50 employees have been working at a height of 15 feet to repair its walls, and some are filling cracks.
The Rs 5-crore project has been funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). A private company, Rajputana Construction Private Limited, Jaipur, will complete structure conservation, interior and exterior restoration with adaptive reuse of the historic building before January next year.
The construction of the Hall had started in 1882 and took eight years to be completed. In 1947, the complex became government property and was converted into a court complex. After the renovation began, the local administration shifted the courts and other government offices to a new complex.
Rahul Munya, an engineer with the Punjab department of cultural affairs who is supervising the work at the site, said the complex was so beautifully designed that its old, glowing colour was revealed just after a little brushing. “The complex was cracked at some places, otherwise the building is still in a very good condition,” he said.
Kapurthala sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Satwant Singh said the administration wanted to restore the grandeur of the ‘Palace of Justice’, as the Hall was known.
Meanwhile, the district administration under the aegis of the cultural affairs and archaeology and museums departments is also planning to conserve heritage monuments including Goal Kothi, Moorish Mosque, Bughi Khana and Bhoot Bangla.
Local residents said renovation of heritage buildings will persuade the youth to know more about their history.