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Chance-find may be Ahilyabai?s bust

AN APPARENTLY ancient stone bust of a woman has been retrieved from an old, 50-feet-deep well unearthed on the premises of Divisional Commissioner?s office in Moti Bungalow.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 13:08 IST

AN APPARENTLY ancient stone bust of a woman has been retrieved from an old, 50-feet-deep well unearthed on the premises of Divisional Commissioner’s office in Moti Bungalow.

The antiquity and identity of the image recovered on the eve of Holi is yet to be ascertained. Divisional Commissioner Ashok Das has asked Archaeology Commissioner Pankaj Raag to send in experts for cleaning and identification of the sculpture.

“We assume the sculpture is of Ahilyabai Holkar looking at the simplicity of expressions, lack of ornamentation and pallu over her head,” Deputy Divisional Commissioner R K Khare told newspersons today.

He said that discovery of the well was part of repair and restoration undertaken at the Commissionerate for the past one year. The restored well is situated at the entrance of the second gate that remains closed.

Old hands informed that the water body was filled up with garbage after Narmada Phase I was implemented in 1974 and was one of three wells located in Moti Bungalow vicinity. Like the bust, the closed well which appeared like a raised platform, too was discovered accidentally.

A fortnight back, Commissionerate began developing the side stretch of its land that has rows of gulmohar and amaltas trees. While levelling the ground, the labourers came across the raised platform, which once accommodated a Sanchi Milk parlour. On inquiry, it was revealed that underneath lied a well that held enough water to meet the needs of surrounding localities and commercial establishments.

Subsequently, Das ordered the excavation of well and it was only after 35 trucks of silt was removed that three springs could be traced. “We have reached the rock bottom of the well and we plan to blast it using gelatin sticks to gain more depth,” Das said and added that silt-manure would be used for developing gardens in the premises. The water of well has risen to 35 feet after rains received last week.

Happy with the discovery of well and the sculpture, the Commissionerate wishes to send a message across to people and organisations: restore wells and steps wells that have been filled and levelled. It has called upon people to trace closed wells if there have been one in their premises and dig them open to meet the water requirements.

“The trend to dig up bore-wells is dangerous. Wells, bawdis and ponds help in recharging water level,” Das remarked.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 13:08 IST