The tomb of Emperor Jahangir, situated inside the Bagh-e-Dil Kusha at Shahdra, alongside the banks of River Ravi, is one of the most exemplary monuments of Mughal architecture.
Finished with red sandstone and marble work accompanied by complex floral designs, Jahangir’s tomb is considered second to the Taj Mahal. However, after centuries of neglect the structure is now only a shell of its former glorious self, reported Express Tribune.
A magnificent piece of Mughal architecture
The tomb was built a decade after Emperor Nooruddin Jahangir’s death in 1627. Its minarets were decorated with elegant gemstones like sapphire, coral, and agate, and on the sides the ninety-nine names of Allah were carved into stone. The buildings construction cost at the time of completion is estimated at Rs 1,000,000.
The historical monument incurred the most damage under Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s reign, during which the gemstones and marble cushions among other exquisite decorations were extracted and used for other Sikh architecture projects. Afterwards, under British rule the monument was used as a storage facility and was even converted into a a British Army officer’s private residence.
Jahangir’s tomb must be restored after 400 years worth of damage
In the course of 400 years the exquisite building has incurred damage through natural occurrences such as floods which have weakened the building’s foundations. Restoration is crucial to prevent the monument from collapsing and efforts began under British Rule in 1890. The restoration work continued after partition in the 1960’s and still carries on intermittently to this day according to Punjab Archeology Project Director Naeem Iqbal.
“The project’s first priority was to preserve the building from structural damage. The towers were too dilapidated and had to be installed with iron shutters to prevent them from collapsing. So far, two out of the tomb’s four towers have been secured and redecoration work will begin as soon as the rest of them are restored,” said Iqbal.
Director Iqbal while addressing the delays in the restoration work held that the restoration of such a historical building is a complex process and will require sourcing the exact kind of materials which were used in the initial construction process.
“There is a lot of red sandstone used in the building’s construction, which needs to be imported from India. But the strained relations between the two countries has halted the process, while small pieces of old, local stones are being used to fill the gaps until then,” shared Iqbal.
GVS News Desk with additional input by other sources