The restoration work on the century-old wooden dome core of the brass finial of Humayun’s Tomb, which was damaged during the squall that hit the city on Friday evening, has begun.
Immediately after the damage was reported by guards and eyewitnesses, officials from Archaeological Survey if India (ASI) and Agha Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) had conducted an inspection and taken stock of the situation. Archaeologists had then drawn up a restoration plan, according to which, the damaged portion will be repaired by the end of next month.
According to officials, the damage at the UNESCO World Heritage Site was reported around 5.30 pm when the thunderstorm lashed Delhi and NCR. Unable to withstand the strong wind, the 100-years old and 8-inch thick wooden core — which forms the only support to the brass finial — snapped.
“Senior ASI officials visited the Humayun’s Tomb to inspect the damage and agreed to a repair methodology. We put up a scaffolding on Saturday to urgently restore the lightening conductor and position it atop the dome. It was an immediate preventive measure so that in case Delhi experienced lightning in the coming days, the conductors would ensure no harm came to the monument. We will now seek matching wooden support and fix it in a manner to prevent water ingress,” Ratish Nanda, projects director, Agha Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), told Newsline.
“It will take almost a week to prepare a wooden support similar to the original. In all, the repair will take about four weeks,” Nanda said.
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Meanwhile, the iron railings and boundary walls of several monuments listed under ASI, the municipal corporations and the New Delhi Municipal Council — including the Red Fort (another World Heritage Site) and the Safdarjung Tomb — reportedly suffered damages.
“More than 25 trees were uprooted in Red Fort, due to which the electric conductors were damaged. Because of that the museum had to be closed on Saturday. However, no structural damage was reported. The boundary of Safdarjung Tomb was partially broken during the storm. We are taking a stock of the damage,” ASI director general Rakesh Tiwari said.