Barood Khana of Lahore Fort all set for tourists

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LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has successfully completed conservation work at the Barooad Khana (arsenal depot) inside Lahore Fort after installing lights there.

Pakistan Today learnt that over 150 lights were installed for illuminating the British era monument which cost around Rs38 lacs – which will now be made part of night tours.

It was learnt that weather shielded lights were imported for this purpose while “greek in spot lights” and spots were used for illumination.

People who saw the Barood Khana illuminated for the first time said they were captivated by its beauty and grandeur.

“We truly got to experience the Barooda Khana for the first time and it looks spectacular,” said Asma Ilyas, a tourist in Lahore Fort.

Another tourist Khalid Riaz appreciated the effort put in by WCLA, saying, “Earlier the site was covered by wild growth and debris; WCLA seems to have made a tremendous effort in bringing to life this age-old monument.”

WCLA Deputy Director Media and Marketing told Pakistan Today that it took over one year for conservation at the Barood Khana to be completed.

“This monument was hidden from public eye as it was buried under 150,000 cubic feet of debris and wild plant growth. It took great effort by the authority to remove the debris and revive the monument,” he said.

“The site dates back to the British era and is believed to have been used for storing arsenal and gunpowder during the 1857 War of Independence. According to a 19th-century map of Lahore, there were gardens and arcades at the site before the depot was constructed. The structure was part of the Alamgiri Gate and Musamam Darwaza of Lahore Fort before a road was built connecting the Hathi Gate and Diwan-e-Aam, during British era,” he added.

WCLA Director Conservation Najamusaqib said, “We had to use crane and horticulture experts to remove the debris. The conservation of Barood Khana cost Rs17 million while an additional Rs38 lacs were spent on illumination [installing lights]. Along with the Royal Kitchens, Barood Khana is among the two sites which have been successfully restored by the WCLA.”

“We expect a large number of tourists to visit the site,” he said, adding that the inauguration of the Barood Khana will be accompanied by a National Heritage and Tourism workshop.

WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said, “This project is a fine exemplar of the WCLA’s efforts in conserving the heritage of Lahore. We are working on restoring other historical sites to their former glory: The Royal Kitchens is another such example.”