Delhi: 650-year-old baoli built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq becomes an eye-sore

A resident living next to the baoli claims that the construction carried out to restore the heritage is an exercise that has been going on for more than two years now.

What was built by Firuz Shah Tughlaq in 1351 AD probably as a part of his hunting palace called 'Kushk-i-Shikar' or the magnificent 'Kushk-i-Jahan-Numa', now sits next to an eye-sore in the name of heritage - swamped with muck and dried leaves.

The baoli next to Pir Ghaib, the ancient place of ritual bathing, is not only hidden between residential complexes and the corporation-run Hindu Rao hospital, but it is also serving as a makeshift washroom for people passing by.

Etched on a stone in the vicinity of Pir Ghaib is a tale told by historians which claims that the hunting house was inhabited by a saint who mysteriously disappeared, giving the monument its name - the saint who vanished.

A resident living next to the baoli claims that the construction carried out to restore the heritage is an exercise that has been going on for more than two years now.

"I remember watching the labourers trying to rebuilt the well two years back. This has been going on for a long time now and it seems unlikely that the renovation-cumconstruction will stop anytime soon," said Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Civil Lines.

'MISSION 2017'

The labourers working to bring the baoli back to life walk down the well to fill the hollow walls with a wet mixture of Badarpur sand and powdered bricks.

"The muck and filth of leaves in the well, however, remains a challenge," says a labourer working on the protected site of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). "It will take at least four trucks to empty the well which should ideally be filled with water," he added.

A senior ASI officer explained the situation as a 'one-year long conservation plan as it happens'. He said on the condition of anonymity, "The Pir Ghaib monument and baoli restoration plan is part of our projects for the year 2017. It began around March 20-25 this year and will go on till we satisfactorily feel we have brought it back to its pristine beauty."

On the finer points of conservation here, he said, "We are looking at controlling the seepage problem. The structure is suffering from water retention."

"The walls and roof have also lost their natural sheen cause of dust gathering. Also, since the area is very old and crowded, and encroachments have come to its doorstep, it needs a comprehensive facelift," the official further said.

Declared as a protected site, the baoli in Civil Lines is among the 3,650 ancient monuments belonging to different periods ranging from prehistoric period to the colonial period, marking the remains of ancient habitation.

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