LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) will start the restoration of Deewan-e-Aam, Dolat Khana Khaas-o-Aam, Kharak Singh Haveli with an amount of Rs60.916 milllion in 15 days while the preservation process of all these areas will take at least one year.
According to details, Deewan-e-Aam Hall occupies a place of prominence within the Lahore Fort, sitting immediately to the south of the royal jharoka (royal audience dais) which had been in use since the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The hall was destroyed by cannon fire in 1841 during the succession struggle following the deaths of Kharak Singh and his son Nau Nihal Singh on the same day. The British reconstructed the pavilion in 1846 when they took control of Lahore.
The preservation and restoration process will include structure consolidation, lime plaster, roof treatment, flooring, wood works, stone works and termite treatment.
An official of the conservation team, Fasih Gillani, told this scribe that the backside of Deewan-e-Aam (the hall of forty pillars) is the Dolat Khana-e-Khas-o-Aam (hall of public and private audience) of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The interior of Dolat Khana-e-Khas-o-Aam is a double story building which is decorated with exquisite stucco tracery in geometric and floral designs. The decorative motifs were originally gilded and the traces of gold are still visible at various places. There are beautiful cusped marble arches in different chambers.
According to further details provided by WCLA official, the other building included in this project is the haveli of Kharak Singh. It is located on the southeast corner of Jahangir’s Quadrangle. The quadrangle is a symbol of Mughal era and was built by Jahangir and his father Akbar. Later during the Sikh rule, structures were added in most of the places inside the fort and so one was added in this quadrangle. This structure was of the Haveli by Kharak Singh. He used this haveli as his living chamber. This use of this haveli was changed during the British Raj. They turned the embellished haveli into the ‘Commander’s Quarters’ while the ground floor was used as a warehouse and servant house.
“This is one of the main projects of Lahore Fort because this is the most important building in terms of construction and tourist attraction. It is the first ensemble that is visible to the tourists as they enter the fort. The tender is in process for these works and this process will be completed in two weeks’ time. After which we will start on with the preservation and restoration works. We will be doing the structure consolidation of all these buildings so that we know that they are safe and preserved. All the works will be in accordance with the international standards of preservation and restoration because this is a world heritage site and we are very careful for all our interventions. We will also be restoring the basement of Deewan e Aam in this project,” WCLA director conservation and planning told this scribe.