The ruined 14th century Tughlaqabad Fort in South Delhi is set to get a facelift, complete with stone benches, drinking water supply and public toilets, after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) recently began repair at the site. The heritage-conservation agency was reportedly allocated funds from the National Culture Fund (NCF) for the project.
According to ASI, NCF — which was created for the preservation and conservation of art, culture and heritage — regularly receives funds from corporate giants and major public sector undertakings as part of their tax-redemption schemes under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) — for the upkeep of the city’s monuments.
Recently, Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) donated Rs 30 lakh, which will reportedly be used for the fort’s conservation.
“We have already completed about 65 per cent of the work proposed initially. We had identified key areas that demanded immediate attention. The burj and fortification walls of the fort are undergoing repair. Stones from the surrounding Aravali hills are being used for the restoration,” ASI (Delhi) Superintendent Archeologist Vasant Kumar Swarankar told Newsline.
ASI is also putting up stone benches at the fort so that the visitors can rest. ASI said the surrounding area too will be developed and beautified with gardens. Drinking water supply and public amenities will also be made available for visitors, Swarankar said.
According to ASI, the gates of the fort, which were severely damaged due to years of neglect, are also being repaired. According to historians, only 13 of the original 52 gates remain today.
Stretching across six kilometres, the fort is part of the third city of Delhi which was built by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty, in 1321. Massive stone fortifications surround the irregular ground plan of the city. The sloping rubble-filled walls are nearly 15 feet high and are a typical feature of monuments of the Tughlaq dynasty. They are topped by battlement parapets and strengthened by circular bastions up to two storeys.
Interestingly, the fort is also considered one of the most unsafe areas, owing to its dilapidated state and overgrown vegetation. Vikramjit Rooprai, who runs Delhi Heritage Photography group, said the unfavourable conditions deter enthusiasts from visiting it. “Tughlaqabad is a huge fort. Though some parts are manned by security guards, the back portion is full of vegetation. A part of a slum is connected to the fort with no wall separating the two. The fortification walls as well as the monument need urgent repair,” he said.