Balban Tomb, Jamali Kamali monuments to undergo complete restoration this year 

- July 9, 2024
| By : Idrees Bukhtiyar |

Built approximately 1287 CE in rubble masonry, the Ghiyas ud din Balban tomb holds historical importance in the development of Indo-Islamic architecture, marking the first appearance of Islamic arches in India

RESTORATION: Labourers involved in restoration work at the Balban Tomb

The Balban Tomb and Jamali Kamali structures will be the first two monuments at Mehrauli Archaeological Park to undergo complete restoration by the end of this year.

An official from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Delhi Circle told Patriot, “We are expecting that conservation work of both the monuments will be completed by this year.” 

Currently a total of six monuments in the park are under restoration, aimed to preserve their cultural value.

According to official documents, an approach path will be constructed from the southern entrance to the Balban Tomb.

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Built approximately 1287 CE in rubble masonry, the Ghiyas ud din Balban tomb holds historical importance in the development of Indo-Islamic architecture, marking the first appearance of Islamic arches in India.

“Exposure of remains and consolidation of structures will be carried out from the west entrance to Balban Tomb on the northern half of area between Jamali Kamali and Balban Tomb,” the document said.

“Minor repair of Balban tomb and adjoining structures in the lower eastern portion will be done,” it adds.

Officials had said that the monument would later get facilities like lighting, dustbins, benches, signages, a cultural notice board, and a garden too depending on its past research.  

The conservation efforts include restoration of both the tomb and mosque of Jamali Kamali.

Jamali Kamali Mosque and Tomb comprise two monuments adjacent to each other. One is the mosque and the other is the tomb of Jamali and Kamali. Their names are tagged together as Jamali Kamali for the mosque as well as the tomb since they are buried adjacent to each other. The mosque and the tomb were constructed in 1528-1529, and Jamali was buried in the tomb after he died in 1535.

“The old plaster has been removed from the tomb, which will receive ornamental plaster along with flooring and levelling. The mosque will undergo waterproofing and plastering. Marbles and red stone will be added to replace the missing portion,” said an official of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Delhi Circle.

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The documents further outlined the conservation of the Mandi Mosque. 

“Lime plaster work will be done on the mosque while missing plaster will be filled. Later, we will go for lime pruning,” the official explained.

Rajon ki Baoli also referred to as Rajon ki Bain is a famous stepwell in the park which has recently undergone renovation work. It was commissioned by Daulat Khan in 1506 CE, an administrator of the Lodi dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

“We have cleaned up the stones of the stepwell, fresh filling of plaster will be done while old stones will be replaced by new ones wherever it is felt necessary,” the official said.

An overview of Balban tomb lying in ruins
An overview of Balban tomb lying in ruins

Azim Khan was general of the Mughal Army and his tomb named Azim Khan tomb is also set to undergo restoration. The tomb was commissioned in the 17th century.

“The outer surface of the tomb will witness lime plastic work and inner lime pruning. The flooring will undergo lime concrete work based on its past evidence,” the official added.

ASI officials said that tenders have been floated for various restoration works.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park is spread over 200 acres in the Mehrauli neighbourhood of South Delhi, adjacent to the Qutb Minar (a World Heritage Site) and the Qutb complex. It consists of over 100 historically significant monuments.

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Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena visited the heritage sites at Mehrauli Archaeological Park in March and directed officials to complete the conservation and restoration work before the onset of the monsoon.