Lal Mahal sealed off, apex court panel returns empty handed

March 17, 2009

NEW DELHI: A four-member team of the Supreme Court-appointed heritage conservation committee went to inspect the Lal Mahal ruins on Sunday but
could not do so as the place has been completely sealed off. The visit was in response to the dire observations in the Parliamentary Committee report and a plethora of news reports – including that in The Times of India – about the partial demolition of the 13th century monument.

Prof AGK Menon, member of the committee said: “Reacting to reports on the partial demolition of Lal Mahal, we visited the site to assess the situation. However, the area has been completely sealed off and we were unable to see it. For now, we have been unable to give a feedback to the committee.” Discussions are now on about the next course of action.

“We might make a formal request to have the seal opened so that we can see the ruins for ourselves. Unless we see the extent of damage, we will not be able to give a report,” said a member. Sources said that pressure was building on the ASI to notify the remains of the Lal Mahal as a protected structure and the ASI has not yet submitted a report to the culture ministry on the issue.

The recent Parliamentary Committee report had come down hard on the ASI and MCD for the Lal Mahal fiasco. The Committee stated that the concerned agencies were shying away from their responsibility and passing the buck. It blamed poor management for the sad situation.

The committee took note of the historical significance of Lal Mahal as one of the relics of the Delhi Sultanate era and the earliest surviving Islamic palace in the country. It also noted that the monument is situated less than 20 meters away from Bara Khamba, an ASI protected monument. “Lal Mahal is not a notified building despite being 800 years old and many structures like Lal Mahal are disappearing because they are not notified heritage buildings,” says the report.

The report said: “There was utter lack of coordination and confusion between various agencies of the Union as well as the state government and the local bodies. The committee is perturbed to note that the concerned agencies are shying away from their responsibility and passing the buck to blame each other”. The report also said that a communication was sent to the ministry of tourism and culture to provide information about the role of different agencies in protection of monuments in Delhi and NCR, but there was no response from the ministry.


MCD seeks more time after Lal Mahal demolition

November 5, 2008

MCD seeks more time after Lal Mahal demolitionLal Mahal

Lal Mahal, Nizamuddin Basti, Delhi

November 5, 2008

Lal Mahal, Nizamuddin Basti

Lal Mahal
Lal Mahal or the Red Palce is a 13th century historical monument belonging to the Delhi Sultanate period. It was constructed in 1245 A.D in the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti during the reign of Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah, and was called as the Kushaki Lal. The historical grandeur of this monument can be gauged from the fact that when the Moroccon traveller, Ibn Batuta visited Delhi in teh 14th century, he stayed here. Presently the monument is in a severe state of deterioration and heavily encroached and requires urgent remedial measures.

After the storm

November 4, 2008

State of affairs at the public agencies, after the demolition:

About Lal Mahal

November 4, 2008

The 1245 AD structure, called Lal Mahal or Kushaki Lal, is located in Nizamuddin and was declared a heritage structure by the government and civic agencies. It was built by the Slave Dynasty ruler during the reign of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah, before Balban ascended the throne.

On Friday, this structure was found partially demolished. Its prominent chhatris and red sandstone structure is said to have been pulled down. Residents said the demolition started late Thursday night. When alerted, Archaeological Survey of India filed an FIR with Nizamuddin police station on Friday.

Historical Significance

November 4, 2008

The 1920’s publication called, “The monuments of Delhi- Lasting splendour of Grat Mughals and Others”, by Maulvi Zafar Hassan, reads thus about The Lal Mahal:
Lal Mahal (Red Palace)
Located 50 yards SE of No.182
Should be protected
The Lal Mahal is said to be the Kushaki Lal built by Ghiyasuddin Balban before he ascended the throne. The whole structure, which is raised on a Chabutra, is much dilapidated and at present in occupation by villagers. It is constructed of red sandstone and consists of a central domed apartment, with dalans forming a verandah on all four sides. The latter have red sandstone pillars very simply ornamented and lintels supporting a flat roof of the same material over which occur chattris on the east west and south, the northern chattri having disappeared. Some 25 feet to the north-west of the dome on the same chabutra is a double storeyed chattri which was connected originally with the palace.