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Lucknow: Traffic ban sought for safety of Rumi Darwaza

The city’s iconic gateway Rumi Darwaza has developed a crack but its custodian, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), cannot carry out the much-needed repair because of the traffic that passes through the gateway.

lucknow Updated: Aug 30, 2018 14:37 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Lucknow,Traffic ban,Archaelogical survey of India
A ban on traffic movement will give a fresh lease of life to the structure that was constructed under by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784.(Deepak Gupta/ HT Photo)

The city’s iconic gateway Rumi Darwaza has developed a crack but its custodian, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), cannot carry out the much-needed repair because of the traffic that passes through the gateway.

According to ASI officials, its requests to the district administration seeking traffic restriction on the Rumi Darwaza road have fallen on the deaf ears.

Highlights
  • Rumi Darwaza was built in 1784 AD by nawab Asaf-ud-Dowla.
  • It is 60 feet tall and bears an octagonal arch on the top that is carved beautifully. It can accessed by a staircase.
  • It is also said to be one of the finest gateways inspired from the one in Istanbul. The arch is beautifully carved with flower buds rushing out of the sides of the arch, making it look like a ‘gateway to paradise’.
  • It is said Rumi is derived from the word Rome that Istanbul was once.
  • IIT-K has defined Rumi Darwaza as the ‘most vulnerable standing monument of the city’.
  • The IIT-K study revealed that the seismic load carrying capacity — that decides the behaviour of the structure at the time of an earthquake — of the gateway should be at least 21% of its self-weight whereas its capacity was found to be only 17%.

“The structure developed the crack in the late 1990s and since then we have written several letters to the district administration for a ban on movement of vehicles on the road stretch. The vehicular movement is not only stopping us from carrying out repair and maintenance work, it is causing further damage to the structure. Now, we are again writing to the district administration, demanding the same,” said senior officials with ASI, Lucknow Circle.

A ban on traffic movement will give a fresh lease of life to the structure that was constructed under by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784.

Damaged pillar of Rumi Darwaza. (Deepak Gupta/HT Photo)

Interestingly, there is an alternative route parallel to the 1.3 km heritage stretch, which starts from Tile Wali Masjid and goes till Jama Masjid tri-section via Rumi Darwaza.

“The parallel road connects Tile Wali Masjid to Kudiya Ghat. It was constructed a couple of years back to reduce the traffic load on the heritage stretch. But, the administration is yet to initiate the diversion,” said S Mohammed Haider, heritage activist and a corporate lawyer, who had filed a PIL in 2013 demanding a ban on traffic movement on the heritage stretch and repair of the crack on Rumi Darwaza.

Ironically, the apathy exists even after the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) declared the structure as the ‘most vulnerable standing monument of the city’.

The conclusion was drawn after the department of civil engineering, IIT-K carried out a study of the structure in 2013. It concluded that Rumi Darwaza would be the first monument to crumble in case of any future occurrence like earthquake in Lucknow, which falls in seismic zone III.

Speaking on the issue, district magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “We had a meeting with ASI officials, who said they will submit a proposal for the ban on vehicle movement. But we haven’t received any proposal as yet. Traffic movement will be banned soon after we receive a letter from the ASI.”

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 14:37 IST