Lko Aliganj Hanuman temple’s pre-Nawabi era Darwaza discovered - Hindustan Times
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Lko Aliganj Hanuman temple’s pre-Nawabi era Darwaza discovered

By, Lucknow
Jun 03, 2024 09:46 PM IST

Ancient Darwaza found in Aliganj Hanuman temple, dating back to pre-Nawabi era, beautifully conserved by heritage architects. Temple undergoing massive renovation with help from IIT-Kanpur.

A centuries-old Darwaza was discovered inside the city’s historic Aliganj Hanuman temple in Kapoorthala. According to experts, the gate dates back to the pre-Nawabi era and is still in good condition even after hundreds of years.

The ancient gate discovered during the renovation of the Hanuman temple in Aliganj, Lucknow. (HT Photo)
The ancient gate discovered during the renovation of the Hanuman temple in Aliganj, Lucknow. (HT Photo)

“The gate was discovered during renovation work which is on currently at the temple. We had come across an Oudh Court order dated 1920, which mentioned the existence of a second gate, after which we started searching for it.

“Multiple encroachments were removed, and this gate was discovered only on April 15,’’ said Rajesh Pandey, former IPS and the secretary of Aliganj Mahavirji trust.

“Due to encroachments over centuries, the gate got hidden behind them and that is how it stayed till now. To protect it further, its conservation was done by heritage architects. The rectangular frame of the gate has 30 taakh or Ala (space for storage) that lends further beauty to it. Now it looks beautiful and one of the most attractive things for Bada Mangal devotees,” he said.

City-based heritage architect Ashish Srivastava who took over the conservation project said, “The gateway is pre-Nawabi and its motif is similar to that of any pre-Nawabi site as it has fine Lakhori Eenths (bricks) of superior quality. It was conserved by our best team led by artist Ansar Ali who worked on La Martiniere College’s conservation as well. The edifice was given a new lease with ‘Surkhi’ mortar colour. In some portions, Lakhori Eenths were left as they were for beautification. Lights were added to the Taakhs to beautify at night,” Srivastava added.

“The structure also had a heavy wooden door in it, which took almost 30 people to lift,” said Pandey. The door was carefully removed from the structure and was sent for a separate renovation exercise, which took at least 20 days to complete, after which it was re-installed in the structure

The trust believes this gateway was the temple’s second entrance encroached on by locals. “After Bada Mangal, the trust will find where the door in the gateway opens and it will be opened for the public,” said Pandey.

IIT-Knp helps renovate Mandir’s Garbha Griha

The entire temple is undergoing a massive facelift for the first time in its history with a total budget of 1.5 crore. The construction of a gate on the Danddaiya market side is one of the main things under renovation. “The new gate is 85 feet broad and 35 feet tall. It was constructed by removing 7 feet of encroachments from each side,” said Pandey, adding that the renovation work is being done under Mukhyamantri Sahabhaagita Yojana with 50% funded by the temple trust and 50% by the tourism department.

Shops inside the temple premises were shifted to make space. The floor now has white and red sandstone from Rajasthan. A separate partition was made for women leading to the temple in front of the gate.

Help of IIT Kanpur was taken for the renovation of the temple’s Garbha Griha, which could earlier accommodate only 30 against over 100 now. It also has now two ACs and four fans.

“A partition between the temple entrance and the Garbha Griha was taken down and now the deity is visible even from the outside,” said Pandey.

“Additionally, a pond inside the premises was cleaned. 300 trucks of garbage were removed and now it has fresh water with a fountain. The fish were given to the fisheries department for breeding, which returned the fish to us with their 1,000 frys to the pond.

“Besides, a new conference hall, a parikrama path on the premises, around the Parijat tree, and a water pit like those in Gurudwaras are also new additions,” he said.

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