In a news that will bring cheers to heritage lovers, an over 150-year-old dilapidated haveli, nestled in a narrow bylane of Old Delhi has been given carefully restored after six years of painstaking conservation.
The three-storied mansion, 'Haveli Dharampura' in Gali Guliyan, a stone's throw from the iconic Jama Masjid had most of its architectural features obliterated when it was identified for refurbishment.
But, the revitalised haveli is now all set to emerge as a new heritage destination in the Walled City where unfortunately many such old buildings with ornate facade and embellished gateways are crumbling for want of urgent attention.
"50 specialist masons and labourers were hired to work on the exterior and intricate details. The restoration and conservation efforts took six years to come to fruition," said Rajya Sabha MP and president of Heritage India Foundation (HIF) Vijay Goel.
Goel bought the 150-200 years old heritage building from its owner ten years ago and spearheaded the restoration.
The idea was to keep the originality and exclusivity of this architectural marvel intact, Goel said, hence, "raw material were sourced from various parts of the country for instance, cast iron railings, replica of Shahjahani design were made in Jaipur, the entrance wooden door carved in Shekhavati and so on."
The renovated landmark, also known as 'Teen Chowk ki Haveli' is all set to be opened for public with Goel planning it to be used as a cultural centre as well as a heritage destination for tourists visiting Jama Masjid and other attractions of the Walled City.
"There are documents showing that it was purchased by a Muslim gentleman in 1869," he said.
"The most challenging task was to hold the entire structure from collapsing and then retaining the original architectural plan and features showing elements of Mughal, Hindu and European styles," Goel said.
"During the long and tricky restoration works, every efforts were made to retain the decorative features like stone brackets, balconies, jharoka, multi -foliated arches, carved sandstone elements, wooden Shekhawati doors and windows," the HIF, a non-profit organisation, said.
"I bought the haveli from a Jain. At that time there were tenants in who had was partitioned the spaces to create sixty rooms which have now been reduced to 13 rooms," said Goel, also author of "Delhi, the Emperor's City: Rediscovering Chandni Chowk and Its Environs".
The Rajya Sabha member had last month also organised a heritage marathon to bring a focus on the old, decrepit havelis in the Walled City.
The rooms of the mansion arranged around a large central courtyard, have beautiful stone-carved arches and pillars. There are three staircases with one leading exclusively to a basement, said to have a secret vault, he said.
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The Ministry has approved projects worth Rs 114 crore under the HRIDAY scheme to improve infrastructure facilities around heritage sites in five cities -- Varanasi, Amritsar, Dwarka (Gujarat), Puri and Warangal.
Naidu has directed the officials of the Ministry and the state governments concerned to ensure implementation of approved projects by March next year, a release said.
An inter-ministerial HRIDAY National Empowered Committee chaired by Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gauba yesterday cleared detailed project reports of these five cities, it added.
For Amritsar, nine heritage infrastructure projects have been approved for implementation with a total investment of Rs 57 crore, while an investment of Rs 13.25 crore has been approved for some 86 heritage sites in Varanasi which includes developing a 'Heritage Walk' around Kabir Chaura and Piplani Katra at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore.
In Puri, five projects with an investment of about Rs 17 crore got the nod for revitalisation of different heritage zones.
The Ministry has also approved funds to the tune of Rs 15.30 crore for Warangal Fort in Telangana for its revival, including construction of access routes, pathways and entry points, among others.
In Dwarka (Gujarat), Dwarakadhish Temple Square will be developed at a cost of Rs 10 crore, including Rs 7.25 crore for improvement of main Processional Street (Darshan Path) by providing parking spaces, pedestrian pathway, public amenities block, among others.
Under the HRIDAY scheme, the government will provide central assistance of Rs 500 crore till March, 2017.