1. Dara Shikoh library in Delhi: Monumental neglect defines it, but hope floats now

Dara Shikoh library in Delhi: Monumental neglect defines it, but hope floats now

A part of the Ambedkar University (AUD) campus in Kashmere Gate once defined the colonial period has turned into a crumbling structure with plaster peeling off the walls and the roof itself is in a dilapidated condition.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: May 12, 2017 8:32 PM
Delhi, Library, Old Delhi Dara Shikoh library, which is a part of the Ambedkar University (AUD) campus in Kashmere Gate (Source: Amit Mehra)

A forgotten building that is of historical significance lies in the heart of Delhi and it has mostly been ignored through the decades. However, now it is all set to get a new lease of life. The corridors of the Dara Shikoh library, which is a part of the Ambedkar University (AUD) campus in Kashmere Gate once defined the colonial period has turned into a crumbling structure with plaster peeling off the walls and the roof itself is in a dilapidated condition. Looking at this dire need of restoration, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) will bring some changes to the structure, reports The Indian Express. The organization has proposed a museum at the library to make the most use of this historic building. According to Ajay Kumar, Director Projects of INTACH, the plan is to re-plaster the walls of the structure with lime after removing the paint. The terrace will be fixed and it will be made waterproof.

Dr Swapna Liddle, convener, INTACH explained about the library saying it was built in 1637 and named after the eldest son of emperor Shahjahan – Dara Shikoh. However, in the 19th century, it stopped serving that purpose in 1844. Meanwhile, during the revolt of 1857, this hub of modern science and mathematics was destroyed – it was seen as a symbol of British rule.

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Also, just outside the gates, there is Delhi’s oldest church, St James. Though the monument is undergoing restoration work, INTACH feels there is more work that needs to be done at the church. From the restoration of precious artwork to the Mughal-style brick masonry, there is a lot for restoration required, which means a higher budget. For the second phase of work that involves the rest, the church is taking the help of crowdfunding. Inside it, a stack of brochures has been placed on the conservation project asking people to come forward and donate.

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