Another historical basement discovered at Lahore Fort


–Experts suspect basement located behind Jahangir’s Quadrangle dates back to Mughal Era

–Almost 85,487 cubic feet of waste, debris removed from previously ‘neglected’ area of fort

LAHORE: With the debris and garbage removal process continuing in the colony area behind Jahangir’s Quadrangle at Lahore Fort, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) on Monday discovered another historical basement buried under the rubble.

As per the details, the basement is located near the exterior wall of the fort, in an area covered with debris for ages. Two storerooms were also built on the site by Archaeology Department of Punjab, which at present are abandoned as well.

According to sources, the area, owing to the negligence of the authorities, was never maintained in the past and with the passage of time heaps of garbage took over it.

They were of the view that many other places inside the fort had previously been neglected and later closed for tourists owing to the dilapidated condition they were in.

“Some historical structure has been discovered from wherever the debris was removed,” sources said, adding that the earlier discovered tunnel and cannons near the Musamam Gate were an example.

They also said that despite being a world heritage site, Lahore Fort’s collapsed structures or heaps of garbage within its premises were never dealt with and portrayed a negative image to the tourists.

WCLA staff, present on the spot, informed Pakistan Today that red sandstone was also found from the debris whereas the waste included no precious items and mainly consisted of plastic bottles.

The staff was of the view that it was an important place which had turned into a dump yard and they would be cleaning and preserving whatever structures would be discovered.

WCLA senior architect Azeem Dad told Pakistan Today that they had removed almost 85,487 cubic feet of waste and debris from the area.

“This was a sunken place and as we removed the debris we came across the chambers that apparently are basements. This place has an access from the outer side of Jahangir’s Quadrangle as well, which makes it the backside of the courtyard.”

“There are storerooms of Archaeology Department which are full of debris and garbage,” he said and added that the storerooms will also be cleared by the authority.

The exact purpose of the basement has not yet been determined but we are quite sure that the underground structure dates back to the Mughal Era, Azeem said.

“There is a possibility that a structure existed above the ground, which was damaged during the Sikh or British eras and the basement was a part of it; however, no references or literature regarding it have so far been found and only excavation would reveal facts.”

He also said that the red sandstone and small bricks found from the debris were being collected and would be used in the restoration process.

“It’s been almost a month since we started removing debris from this site and the process will be completed within the next 15 to 20 days. This is a completely separate structure and hopefully, its documentation, as well as the study process, will be started soon.”