Facelift for Red Fort: ASI says green space has risen to 52 acres
In a massive facelift given to the historic Lal Qila by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the green space inside the Red Fort complex here has been increased from 15 acres to 52 acres, the national conservation body said on Monday.
The ASI, while referring to its conservation efforts in the Mughal-era fort, said that an additional 35 acres have been added to its green space after the demolition of almost 400 structures built after independence by the Indian Army which include residential quarters, sheds and other ancillary structures.
"However, the arched structures that the British army had built, including 10 barracks, have been retained because of their heritage value," ASI said in a statement.
To the delight of Red Fort visitors, five of these army barracks have been converted into museums.
They are themed on Subhash Chandra Bose and INA, Jallianwala Bagh, India's first war of independence in 1857, history of Indian art and India's freedom fighters.
"Renovation work is going on in the remaining buildings and more museums are being planned in them," ASI added.
To give the Fort complex a complete Mughal feel, an inbuilt marketplace called Chhatta Bazaar or Chhatta Chowk, has been reinstated with heavy shutters replaced by wooden-frame doorways with Mughal-style arches, red sandstone flooring and 'jaali' work, ASI said.
It also said that the restoration of this Bazaar is one of ASI's "most delicate works".
"The geometric and floral patterns had been hidden beneath several layers of plasterwork through the years. Paintings were beneath 6-7 coats of lime, which was exposed by ASI."
On the royal structures front, ASI said: "The scientific treatment of painting and marble surface of Diwan-i-Khaas, Zafar Mahal and the clay-pack treatment of Moti Masjid, Sawan and Bhado Pavilion and Hira Mahal have been completed."
As per the conservation body, the Red Fort has been illuminated both internally and externally, new pathways have been built, and tourist facilities such as ramps, drinking water and toilets have been taken care of.IANS