Mehrauli Archeological Park to get a museum in push for heritage tourism in Delhi
The state archaeology department will build an interpretation centre-cum-museum and a cafeteria to attract tourists. The proposal was given in-principle approval in the last meeting of Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation chaired by lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal.delhi Updated: Jan 31, 2018 18:24 IST
The state archaeology department has planned a major revamp of Mehrauli Archaeological Park (MAP) to put it on the tourist map. In addition to restoration of about 70 monuments dotting the complex next to world heritage site, Qutub Minar, the department will build an interpretation centre-cum-museum and a cafeteria to attract tourists.
A senior Delhi government official, familiar with the matter, said that the proposal was given in-principle approval in the last meeting of Delhi Urban Heritage Foundation chaired by lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal.
The task to prepare a detailed concept was assigned to Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which was submitted to the department on Friday. “The first draft of the concept is ready. A formal go-ahead to the project will be given after taking all stakeholders like Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on board as the plan needs a holistic approach,” said the official.
Interpretation centre, a concept which is popular abroad, serves as a one-stop source for tourist sites. Diverse means of communication, including audio-video programmes are used to enhance the understanding and knowledge about the heritage and cultural value of a particular place or a historic structure.
The official said the interpretation centre at MAP would offer its detailed history through texts, archival images, drawings, exhibits and artifacts among other things.
“The idea is to provide adequate information about the history of the place. Information should be beyond visitors’ imagination and expectation. There will be touchscreen information kiosks dispensing well-curated content. A reading room will also be available if one is interested to acquire more knowledge,” said the official privy to the matter.
The MAP is a significant historic site spread over 200 acres. It is a cluster of 70 monuments, which were built between 12th century (Chauhan period) and 19th century (British era).
Prominent structures located at the site are tombs of Ghiyasuddin Balban, Jamali Kamali, Quli Khan and Adham Khan. Other attractions are Rajon Ki Baoli, Jamali Kamali Mosque and Metcalfe’s Folly.
The proposed interpretation centre-cum-museum will be the second facility of its kind in the National Capital. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is building an interpretation centre at Humayun’s Tomb on behalf of the Archaeological Survey of India as part of its urban renewal initiative.
The official privy to the matter said soon after the formal go-ahead, the authority will earmark the land and finalise the approach to the facility. “There may be three ways to approach the site — from Qutub Minar Metro station, Qutub Minar complex and Mehrauli village. Detailed planning — including adequate space for other facilities such cafeteria, parking, public convenience and souvenir sale counter — and project’s heritage impact assessment study will be conducted,” said the official.
INTACH has been carrying out restoration work in MAP for more than 10 years. So far, it has conserved several structures including Quli Khan’s Tomb, Dilkhusha (Metcalf’s retreat), Rajon Ki Baoli, Horse Stable, Shahid Khan’s Tomb and few unknown tombs.
The plan will also enhance aesthetic experience in and around the complex.
“First, there is a need to demarcate the MAP area. Until its boundary is not specified, any spruce up plan won’t serve its purpose. There is already a PIL pending in the high court in this regard. We will install signages, lay heritage trails and put sandstone trail-markers to facilitate the visitors,” said the official.