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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Chandni Chowk facades to get a new lease of life

The ongoing Shahjahanabad redevelopment project is scheduled to be completed by March next year, and the restoration of the building facades is also expected to be completed by then.

delhi Updated: Aug 10, 2019 10:55 IST
Adrija Roychowdhury
Adrija Roychowdhury
New Delhi
The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) on Wednesday said it will soon restore the facades on the heritage buildings that line up both sides of the iconic Mughal era market of Chandni Chowk.
The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) on Wednesday said it will soon restore the facades on the heritage buildings that line up both sides of the iconic Mughal era market of Chandni Chowk.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
         

The Shahjahanabad Redevelopment Corporation (SRDC) on Wednesday said it will soon restore the facades on the heritage buildings that line up both sides of the iconic Mughal era market of Chandni Chowk. The market has been undergoing redevelopment since December, last year.

“We will change the look of the facades of the building. They should be of one colour and look uniform,” director of SRDC and Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba, said. “We have spoken to our architects and asked them to give us two or three design samples, which we will show to the shopkeepers association and take a final call based on what they like the best,” she added.

The ongoing Shahjahanabad redevelopment project is scheduled to be completed by March next year, and the restoration of the building facades is also expected to be completed by then.

“We have been demanding the restoration of these structures for almost 15 years now. This is something that requires immediate attention especially now since the road is getting a new look,” Sanjay Bhargava, president of the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal, said.

A total of over 22 heritage structures are on either side of the Chandni Chowk market. These buildings include the St. Stephen’s Church, the State Bank of India building and the Central Baptist Church. A number of medieval era mansions also line up on the street. Most of these are in a dilapidated condition, with the plaster coming off their walls and additional structures occupying their verandas.

“So much has been changed in Chandni Chowk through centuries. I do not think they can restore the buildings to their original form, but I just hope that they make them beautiful,” historian Rana Safvi said.

CORPORATION MULLS REBUILDING CLOCK TOWER 

The possibility of the colonial era clock tower to be rebuilt in front of the Town Hall was also discussed in the last SRDC meeting on Wednesday. “People in Chandni Chowk consider the clock tower to be part of their identity. Of course, we cannot restore it to its original form. We can, however, rebuilt it to some extent and that is what I proposed in the meeting and everyone else agreed to it,” Lamba said.

The clock tower was built in 1870 by the British in the spot where earlier the caravanserai built by Shah Jahan’s daughter Jahanara Begum had stood. In 1947, when India gained Independence, the iconic tower was lit up. About four years later, however, the tower collapsed.

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 23:09 IST

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