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Delhi's Town Hall gets facelift, mayor says tourists must witness heritage

Mayor Oberoi accompanied by Delhi Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj visited the sprawling heritage building situated in the Chandni Chowk area


Press Trust of India New Delhi

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Delhi Mayor Shelly Oberoi on Monday visited the iconic British-era Town Hall and Ghalib ki Haveli in the Walled City and said tourists who will come to Delhi during the G20 Summit time should be able to see the rich heritage of the city.
Mayor Oberoi accompanied by Delhi Urban Development Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj visited the sprawling heritage building situated in the Chandni Chowk area.
Town Hall, the over 160-year-old landmark -- and the original headquarters of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi -- has received a basic facelift in the last few months.
They also went to the historic Ghalib ki Haveli in Old Delhi's Ballimaran area where poet Mirza Ghalib once lived.
India is hosting the G20 Summit in Delhi which is a matter of pride for all of us. Roads and parks (under the MCD area) are being cleaned and beautified, and tourists coming here during the G20 Summit time will be able to see the rich heritage of the city and go back with fond memories," she said.
The summit is slated to be held in the national capital from September 9 to 10.
Later in the evening, Bhardwaj also visited a municipal park in south Delhi which has been developed as a 'G20 park'.
India's presidency of the G20 has been commemorated in the park located in Greater Kailash with area MLA Bharadwaj saying that delegates should remember the warmth extended by the city and its people.
He said many locals have already started calling the park located in front of M Block Market at Greater Kailash-2, as the 'G20 park'.
"We have installed a huge logo of 'G20' and put up flags of all member nations atop decorative pillars in the existing park. But, how this park has a new identity and it will symbolise the memories of India's presidency of the G20 and the G20 Summit being hosted in Delhi," he said.
Oberoi and Bharadwaj also sampled some delicacies of old Delhi and took a rickshaw ride in the pedestrianised stretch of the Chandni Chowk.
Bharadwaj said as this structure was built during the British era, people have an interest in this building and its history.
"We have given a new paint job to the Town Hall as it's a historic building and we wanted it to be in a presentable state just in case any delegates visit the landmark," he told PTI at 'G20 Park'.
The approach road to Mirza Ghalib ki Haveli has also been repaired, Bharadwaj said.
The Town Hall premises include the main building which has lawns on the front and back sides and is flanked by press building and dispensary building, which also have been freshly painted from outside.
Built in yellow-painted brick and stone and carved white stone trim, the Victorian-era Town Hall, built in the early 1860s, was originally used by the British to hold public meetings.
The Town Hall, the construction of which was completed in 1866, was earlier called the Delhi Institute or the Lawrence Institute and it is still considered one of the most iconic buildings of the city.
"It was the original seat of the Delhi Municipality, and the Town Hall was bought by the municipality around 1866 for its use," a senior official said.
The municipality later evolved into the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) which came into being in April 1958.
The Town Hall was the seat of the MCD from its inception in 1958 till 2009, and from April 2010, the headquarters was formally shifted to the swanky and towering Civic Centre complex -- whose tallest block is 28-storey high -- in front of the New Delhi railway station.
A senior official in the MCD said a tender was floated earlier this year to carry out new whitewashing of the building.
"The work began around March and its facade and outer walls now wear a fresh coat of paint. Also, small office spaces were created in verandah and near porticos with tin and other structures, which have been dismantled in harmony with the original look of the Town Hall," he said, adding, that it is not a full-scale conservation work as that will need a lot of funds and experts.
A statue of Queen Victoria was originally installed on the premises of this landmark but after Independence, it was removed and in its place, a life-sized statue of freedom fighter Swami Shraddhanand was put up.
The ornate columns, arched windows and the carvings on the porticos are an additional attraction at this historic sentinel which has seen the eras of tramways and Victorian clock towers.
The area opposite the Hall is still called Ghanta Ghar, even long after the Gothic clock tower was dismantled by the British in the 1940s.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Aug 29 2023 | 7:04 AM IST

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