Qila Rai Pithora will soon stand on its 25 bastions again,as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) works on restoring what was the first city of Delhi.
The first phase of the project to conserve and develop the seven cities of Delhi ahead of next years Commonwealth Games involves four of the cities that preceded the modern-day Capital: Qila Rai Pithora,Siri,Tughlaqabad and Adilabad.
Built by the Tomars and later taken over and strengthened by Prithviraj Chauhan in the 10th century,Qila Rai Pithora,along the Mehrauli-Badarpur Road,has been marked out for scientific clearing and conservation. In ruins at present,it was under DDA jurisdiction for several decades before being transferred to ASI four years ago.
With most bastions in ruins and major chunks of rocks dismantled from the walls,ASI is first fortifying the bastions and fort ramparts. The land and monuments were in neglect for years and there are overgrown bushes. We are clearing them and simultaneously carrying out fortification work, an ASI official involved with the project said.
A mixture of lime,brick powder and adhesives like belguri,gum,and jaggery is used for a compact mix to reshape the dilapidated bastions. The project cost is estimated at Rs 1.5 crore,and more than 200 workers are engaged in it. Officials said more workers will be involved once the major masonry work begins.
Though the entire city in its original avatar is impossible to be restored,as new structures and roads have cut across its geography over time,officials said extensive work is planned to conserve large portions of the city. The main wall of Qila Rai Pithora has 25 bastions,of which 15 will be fortified this year-end,officials said.
The remaining bastions will be taken up in the next phase,they said.
A senior ASI official said,Once fortification work is completed,the horticulture department of ASI will pave the trail alongside the bastions and develop it into a park. As the bastions lead up to Jamali Kamali in Mehrauli Archaeological Park,the larger plan is to connect Qila Rai Pithora to the park and make it a ticketed site.
The Central Secretariat-Badarpur line of Metro runs past the structure.