Restoration of Nur Jahan’s Tomb to begin soon

Published: July 17, 2012

PC-1 for three-year restoration plan is ready. PHOTO: SONIA MALIK

PC-1 for 
three-year 
restoration 
plan is ready. PHOTO: SONIA MALIK AREA COUNT: 107 acres is the size of the Shahdara Complex, which includes the tomb of Nur Jahan,
her brother, her husband and
the Akbari Sirai. PHOTO: SONIA MALIK PC-1 for 
three-year 
restoration 
plan is ready. PHOTO: SONIA MALIK
LAHORE: 

The Archaeology Department plans to begin an extensive restoration project in a month or two for the tomb of 17th Century Mughal queen consort Nur Jahan, said officials.

The department is currently preparing a detailed design (PC-1) for the project, which will be submitted to the Finance Department for the release of funds. The budget for 2012-13 includes an allocation of Rs200 million for the project.

Maqsood Malik, the deputy director of the Archaeology Department, said the tomb had undergone minor repairs in the 1950s, 1960s and 1980s, but this would be the first major restoration of the monument. It would take about three years, he added.

Nur Jahan’s resting place is located on 17 acres in Shahdara, close to the tomb of her husband Jahangir, and the tomb of her brother Asif Jah. Together with the Akbari Sirai, these monuments are clustered on a 107-acre site known as the Shahdara Complex.

Malik said the walls, floors and domes of the monument were “terribly damaged”. Floral and geometric patterns lining the tomb’s domes have eroded, while the edges of the marble flooring have been chipped off, he added.

The project will involve recreating the frescoes and restoring the red sandstone façade, walkways and surrounding gardens.

Malik said that artisans would know what patterns to recreate by looking at traces of the wall frescoes and floral patterns of the pietra dura at the base of the pillars.

A boundary wall, destroyed during the laying of railway lines in the late 19th Century, will be rebuilt to keep out intruders, including homeless people who sleep there at night, he said.

He said some historians believed that gemstones embellishing the frescoes were removed during the Sikh reign in the Punjab and installed at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Parts of the chamber enclosing the grave of Nur Jahan and her daughter Ladli Begum were also damaged at the time.

Malik said that water coolers would be installed and a children’s play area and a café would be set up to make it a more welcoming place for visitors. He said restoration work at other monuments at Shahdara was also underway and the whole complex would be finished in about five years.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2012.

Reader Comments (5)

  • Awans
    Jul 17, 2012 - 2:43AM

    In my region there are two libraries who are in tatters so kindly do something for the present and then preserve your so called Glorious past.

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  • Khurram
    Jul 17, 2012 - 5:14AM

    “He said some historians believed that gemstones embellishing the frescoes were removed during the Sikh reign in the Punjab and installed at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.”

    My questions to all the so called Historians why we fail to look beyond the non-Muslims to blame for the destruction wrought upon the historical sites and why this was always done by the Sikhs? Do you think Nadir Shah, Ahmed Shah Durrani and few others who had been through the Punjab more than once came to rescue and preserve these sites? Why are we afraid to call spade a spade? The names I quoted above killed more Punjabi Muslims and looted more material than any other invader and last but not the least if anybody enhanced our (Punjabi Muslims) self esteem he was the one Maharaja Ranjit Singh Lion Of Punjab.

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  • Amjad
    Jul 17, 2012 - 5:30AM

    I am glad that the Punjab government is paying attention to the upkeep of the provinces rich culture. hope that trained specialists and foreign experts will make sure that the renovation doesn’t do more harm than good.

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  • Avtar
    Jul 17, 2012 - 6:40AM

    Nur Jahan was the 20th wife of Emperor Jahangir. I am glad Nur Jahan’s tomb is getting restored as it is part of our heritage. I have never been there but I understand that Anarkali’s grave is frequented more than that of Nur Jahan.

    As is well documented Nadir Shah stole Peacock throne from Agra’s Red Fort. In Istanbul, I have seen a throne or two belonging to Indian princes in the palace museum. These thrones were donated by Persian rulers after their conquests into India. The Maharajas or Nawabs do not give their thrones without a fight.

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  • Raja
    Jul 17, 2012 - 8:14AM

    Millions will be wasted on this tomb while the rest of the country sits in darkness.

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