In the heart of Doon, a British-era well shrouded in oblivion

Updated on Jan 24, 2018 09:47 PM IST

In the heart of the state capital, a British-era well - almost two centuries old - lies shrouded in oblivion and forgotten by most even though it is situated right next to the office of district collectorate.

Built in 1820s, the ‘Shore’s Well’ in Dehradun lies in a neglected state.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
Built in 1820s, the ‘Shore’s Well’ in Dehradun lies in a neglected state.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Dehradun | By

In the heart of the state capital, a British-era well - almost two centuries old - lies shrouded in oblivion and forgotten by most even though it is situated right next to the office of district collectorate.

Built in the 1820s for supplying water to nearby areas, the ‘Shore’s Well’ now lies in a state of utter neglect despite heritage lovers’ repeated calls over the years to authorities for reviving it.

According to historians, the old well located near the city court premises was built by John Fredrick Shore, the first superintendent of Dehradun, when the water of local canals had turned brackish in the 1820s.

“With time, fresh water returned to the canals but the well continued to be used. The well also finds mention in the Dehradun Gazetteer and Memoir of Dehradun Doon by GRC Williams,” said Lokesh Ohri, a Dehradun-based historian and heritage expert.

It is also said the well was later used as ‘Phansi Ghar’ to hang freedom fighters but historians are “not too sure” about it.

With a crumbling dome and masonry, overgrown bushes over and around and garbage often dumped in it, the well today presents a sorry picture.

There are government quarters right next to the well and the open area around it is being used as a ‘store’ for bricks these days.

In 2015, the Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) announced to revive the structure besides introducing the concept of heritage walk in the city to raise awareness about destinations of historical and cultural significance among locals and tourists.

Dehradun-based heritage group ‘Been There Doon That’ had even submitted a proposal to the DMC for the restoration of the Shore’s Well in 2016, but no further headway was made in that direction by the civic body.

“We had submitted the proposal to the then municipal commissioner but officers kept changing and the matter was never taken forward by the DMC later on,” the group’s founder Ohri said, adding that the heritage site needed urgent attention.

When contacted, Dehradun municipal commissioner Vijay Kumar Jogdande said he would “get the matter examined” and requisite action will be taken accordingly.

“If there were any plans (made it the past) to revive the well, we’d certainly work to materialise the same,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Neha Pant is a senior correspondent at Hindustan Times based in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. She writes on a range of topics including civic issues, urban development, politics, health, women and youth issues, culture and lifestyle.

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