Repair work at Old Delhi’s Masjid Mubarak Begum begins
The World Monument Fund has begun work to repair the central dome of the 200-year-old Masjid Mubarak Begum. Located in Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi Chowk, one of the mosque’s three domes collapsed due to heavy rain in July last year.
Repair and reconstruction work on the heritage site was started with the Delhi Waqf Board (DWB) inking an agreement with the World Monument Fund— a non-profit organisation that provides direct financial and technical support for the preservation of heritage sites across the globe—earlier this year.
Mehfooz Mohammad, section officer, DWB, said work had been initiated at the mosque recently. “Pits for preparation of lime mortar have been constructed. Due to rain, the work is on hold but once the weather improves, it will be carried out in full swing,” said Mohammad.
A senior WMF official said conservation experts were documenting the site, and lime mortar pits have already been built. “The lime needs to be processed. It takes around two-three weeks for this to happen. By the time, documentation and research process is completed, we will be ready to start conservation,” said the official, who did wish to be named.
WMF officials have said that the process is expected to take four-five months, provided work is not disrupted on account of Covid-related problems. “We are hoping that sourcing of required material and craftsmen is not disrupted due to Covid-related concerns. The team will make efforts to source original material as per requirements,” said the official.
Another member of the conservation team, who did not asked to be named, said the weather conditions have not been helpful but the required material has been arranged. “Most of the material has been sourced from Delhi itself. If we require other things, we will source them, and once lime is processed, we will start work,” said the official.
Masjid Mubarak Begum was commissioned in 1822 by Mubarak Begum, the wife of David Ochterlony, the first British Resident of Delhi to the Mughal court. Located in Old Delhi’s Hauz Qazi Chowk, the mosque is built using sandstone and painted in terracotta colour.
According to author Swapna Liddle, Mubarak Begum was quite well-respected and enjoyed an important stature in her time. She was also a frequent visitor at the courts of Mughal rulers Bahadur Shah Zafar and Akbar Shah. Due to the influence she exercised, Begum was popularly addressed as ‘Generalee Begum’ since Ochterlony was known as General Ochterlony.