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Chattar Manzil to get back its old-world charm

Taking reference from these photographs, UPRNN aims to restore the monument the way it appeared in 1862 after it was repaired to conceal the damages caused during the first war of Independence.

lucknow Updated: Aug 18, 2017 17:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Chattar Manzil,Nawabi-era-architectural-marvels,Historical monuments
A rare photograph of Chattar Manzil shot by English photographers Charles Shepherd and Arthur Robertson in 1862.(File Photo)

Lucknow’s iconic Chattar Manzil is all set to get back its 1862 look once the restoration work at the monument is complete.

“We have procured a rare photograph of Chattar Manzil shot by English photographers Charles Shepherd and Arthur Robertson in 1862. It’s a southern view of the structure that highlights both—Chattar Manzil and Kothi Farhat Baksh (adjacent to the building) in great detail,” said project engineer of the construction body UPRNN Sandeep Singh.

Historical Facts
  • Chattar Manzil was built in the nineteenth century.
  • Nawab Sadat Ali Khan wanted to build the monument in the memory of his mother Chattar Kunwar.
  • The building, with its Indo-Italian architecture and several doors and windows, was completed by Nasiruddin Haider.
  • The begums of Awadh stayed in the building during summers because of its cool ambience.
  • After the mutiny of 1857, the building was occupied by the British, who opened a club and library on the premises.
  • In 1950, it was handed over to CSIR which in turn gave it to the CDRI.

Officials with the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN) said the 1862 look will bring back the lost glory to the Nawabi era structure.

Taking reference from these photographs, UPRNN aims to restore the monument the way it appeared in 1862 after it was repaired to conceal the damages caused during the first war of Independence.

“Restoration of the structure is likely to be carried out on the same pattern. But prior to restoring its old look the wall, base and foundation need to be strengthened. It is being done under the expertise of professors from IIT- BHU in the ongoing conservation and restoration project,” Singh added.

According to UPRNN officials, IIT-BHU experts have given nod to the restoration of the structure and issued guidelines for the same. “Strengthening of the structure is top priority and will be carried out as per their directives,” another UPRNN official told HT.

IIT-BHU experts have also given their nod to excavation at the site after another floor of the monument was recently discovered.

“We discovered the floor while digging to reach the base of the structure. On digging further, we also discovered a room and a hidden basement area,” said Nitin Kohli, the contractor associated with the restoration project.

“Once the original structure is unearthed, the beautification and restoration work will start,” he added.

Initially, the construction agencies had blamed the Central Drug and Research Institute (CDRI) for distorting the original structure of Chhattar Manzil. In 1950, the structure was allocated to CDRI –the multidisciplinary research laboratory to carry out research work. However, CDRI built modern structures as per its convenience and also elevated the ground level as a preventive measure for flood as it is situated close to the river Gomti.

Officials said CDRI also laid a water pipeline, electricity lines beneath and also constructed underground water tanks, putting the structure at risk.

According to Archaeological Survey of India records, it delisted 11 Nawabi-era-architectural-marvels in 1962, including Chattar Manzil, Lal Baradari, Kothi Farhat Baksh, Kaiser Pasand. These monuments were given the status of protected monuments in 1920s.

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 17:23 IST