‘Historical’ brick-lined sewer found during Chandni Chowk revamp
Experts believe that the structure, an old sewerage system — which is lined with Lakhori bricks and is laid out in the entire stretch from the Red Fort crossing to Fatehpuri masjid — is of historical significance to the city.Updated: Aug 14, 2019 10:10 IST
A unique egg-shaped brick barrel structure was discovered in Chandni Chowk recently during the ongoing redevelopment project that is being carried out in the area.
Experts believe that the structure, an old sewerage system — which is lined with Lakhori bricks and is laid out in the entire stretch from the Red Fort crossing to Fatehpuri masjid — is of historical significance to the city.
“We were aware of its existence, but it was covered in silt. In the process of clearing it out and redeveloping it, we realised that it is much larger than what we had estimated,” said Dinesh Mohaniya, vice-chairman of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). “The structure definitely dates back to the 19th century, when modern pipes had not been invented and sewage networks were brick lined,” he added.
While the structure remains to be studied properly by archaeologists, it is believed to be dated sometime around the 19th century. “On examining the photographs of the structure, it appears to belong to the British period. The British had built such sewer lines in different parts of the city, including inside the Red Fort,” said NK Pathak, superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India, Delhi Circle.
Historian Swapna Liddle said that the drainage system was “historic”. “Delhi had a proper drainage system since the time of Shah Jahan. At Chandni Chowk, there was a canal that ran through the middle of the street bringing fresh water. The drainage system consisted of two underground channels that ran on both sides of that canal. Further, the drains from the various kuchas and galis on both sides would meet the main lines on Chandni Chowk and then drain out from the Nigambodh side,” she added. She explained further that the British modified this system to improve its capacity.
“Redeveloping this brick barrel has always been a part of our project. We have decided to build the modern sewage system of the same diameter as the brick barrel and place it inside the structure. Under no circumstances will we cause any damage to the brick barrel,” said Alka Lamba who is member director of the Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation and current MLA from Chandni Chowk.
First Published: Aug 13, 2019 21:48 IST