Green cover inside Red Fort complex increased to 52 acres: ASI

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has increased the green cover inside the Red Fort complex in the national capital from the previous 15 acres to 52 acres in the last one year.

As a part of its drive to renovate and restore the Mughal-era monument, the ASI has also taken steps to preserve the historic Lahori Gate, the red sandstone walls, the glory of Chhatta Bazar and the hidden artworks on the ceiling.

The illumination of Red Fort (external and internal) has been completed and the timing for the general public extended till 9 pm.

"In a massive exercise over the last one year, the Archaeological Survey of India has given a complete new look to Red Fort. Earlier, the green space inside the fort complex was 15 acres and now, after the demolition of almost 400 structures built by the Indian Army after Independence which included residential quarters, sheds and other ancillary structures, an additional 37 acres have been added to it, taking the total green space inside the Red Fort to 52 acres," a statement from the ASI said.

However, the arched structures the British army had built, including 10 barracks, have been retained because of their heritage value.

Five new museums -- Subhas Chandra Bose and INA museum, Yaad-e-Jallian museum, Museum on 1857 - India's first war of Independence, Drishyakala - Museum on Indian Art and Azaadi ke Diwane Museum -- have come up in these buildings. The renovation work is going on in the remaining buildings and more museums are being planned.

"The lost elegance of Chhatta Bazaar is now reinstated and the area is restored to its original design, giving the market a more authentic look. The heavy shutters have now been replaced with wooden-frame doorways, topped with Mughal-style arches rebuilt in complete uniformity.

"The red sandstone flooring and the precision 'jali' work was done during the renovation. The archival images of the bazaar were studied in detail so as to give a feel of the bygone era of Mughals, as one walks past the bazaar," the statement said.

Besides, the scientific treatment of the paintings and the marble surface of Diwan- i-Khaas, Zafar Mahal, and the clay-pack treatment of Moti Masjid, Sawan and Bhado Pavilion and Hira Mahal have been completed. Cleaning work for Rang Mahal, Khaas Mahal and Mumtaz Mahal has also been proposed.