April 7, 2011 1:43:02 am
The 14th Century Nizamuddin Baoli has been at the centre of feverish conservation efforts,involving extensive technical expertise and community support aimed at bringing alive the heritage site.
Built by Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya,the baoli is being conserved as part of the Humayuns Tomb-Sunder Nursery-Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti Urban Renewal project by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC),in partnership with the Central Public Works Department,the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Aga Khan Foundation.
In July 2008,portions of the baoli collapsed,following which extensive repair work had to be carried out. Conservation work on the collapsed portion on the baoli continued through 2010 especially after the relocation of the 19 families who were inhabiting the roof of the baoli,which required urgent repairs.
The families,meanwhile,have been provided alternative plots and houses built by the AKTC.
With heavy building activity being carried out abutting the baoli,which is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI),the conservation works on the collapsed portion could commence only following the dismantling of a single structure built directly above the collapsed portion.
The arcade on the south side of the baoli was carefully repaired,including the relaying of the lime concrete roof,replacing unsightly iron grills with sandstone lattice screens and removing cement plaster both from the internal and external faces and replacement with lime plaster.
Conservation works on the vaulted passages meant that the main access (from the baoli) to the dargah had to be closed to public use for three months,during which significant support from the Dargah Committee and the local community was forthcoming, said Ratish Nanda,project director,AKTC. Conservation works will continue through 2011 when façade improvements of houses and conservation of the abutting Chini Ka Burj will take place,as will conservation works of the Baoli gate itself.
The access has now been opened to the public.
Officials said the water level of the baoli increased significantly following the removal of several tonnes of rubble that had accumulated here over seven centuries. Over 8,000 days of work were required only to clean the accumulated garbage.
Among future plans is the installation of an aeration system to keep the water of the baoli clean; houses around the structure block sunlight,affecting the natural cleansing process. The water of the baoli is said to have healing properties.
The conservation works on the baoli required a high degree of technical expertise as well as a humane approach. The works could not have been carried out without the involvement of a multi-disciplinary team,significant interest and support from the local community, Nanda said. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the ASI ensured constant government support that was much required in view of the complexities of the work.
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