Lieutenant Governor orders for restoration of Sheesh Mahal
On Saturday, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal, also the chairman of the DDA, visited the monument along with his officials and those from the ASI and decided on a project to restore the monument and redevelop the park.Updated: Aug 20, 2019 01:36 IST
Tucked away in a quiet corner of North West Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh is the “Sheesh Mahal” — a 17th century palace commissioned by Shah Jahan’s wife, Akbarabadi Begum. With a garden of fruit orchards, the ornatepalace was not only a favourite spot of the Mughal Emperor, but also the place where his son Aurangzeb was crowned in 1658.
Large parts of the garden has disappeared, and the remaining 180 acres has been converted into a park managed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). The palace, protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), lies at one end in an abandoned state. The lime plaster was peeling off its exquisitely carved and painted walls, exposing the lakhori bricks that were used to construct it.
On Saturday, Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal, also the chairman of the DDA, visited the monument along with his officials and those from the ASI and decided on a project to restore the monument and redevelop the park.
“We plan on planting more fruit trees and making it greener. The pathways will be developed. A separate area will be created for children and some part will be kept aside for a gym,” said Tarun Kapoor, vice chairman of the DDA. “Further, we have already set up a compost plant there which is functioning,” he added.
While the DDA will be working on developing the park, the ASI will be restoring and conserving the monuments in it. “We presented the plan to the L-G and we have been asked to start work immediately. We should be able to start with the restoration soon once the monsoon ends,” an official from the ASI said. “First thing to do would be restore the two pavilions and bring them back to their previous glory.”
“This seventeenth century Mughal garden has seen many interesting developments over the years,” explained historian Swapna Liddle. “In the early 19th century, the British also added a lot of buildings here.”
The dilapidated condition of this once magnificent structure and its surroundings is not the only cause of worry. “This place is in desperate need of cleaning and security. The monument is supposed to be open to visitors between 9 am and 5 pm, but I try to keep it closed as anti-social elements from the surrounding slums create nuisance here,” said Chhuttanlal Saini, caretaker of the monument.
Sixty-two year old Krishan Kumar who was born and raised at the Shalimar village also said that “drug addicts frequently hang around in this place.” “Once or twice when I objected they threatened me,” said Kumar. “There needs to be more policing in the monument and the boundary wall has to be built properly so that such people can be kept away.”
Speaking about the need for security in the area, DDA’s Kapoor said that “we have already increased security, and have asked the police to be more vigilant.”
“While we have not yet received any formal complaint, if at all there are any issues of security we will look into increasing the number of guards,” the ASI official said.