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Hindustan Times
September 29, 2021 at 12:00:00 AM
Fountains at Delhi’s Red Fort are back to life, much to the delight of visitors

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Fountains at Delhi’s Red Fort are back to life, much to the delight of visitors

After a gap of nearly eight years, the fountains at the Red Fort are back to life, giving tourists and visitors a taste of the fort complex’s yesteryear glory. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials said the fountains were not used regularly in the past and had fallen into disrepair. “There are two fountains, near Rang Mahal and Zafar Mahal. For a long time, the fountains were in disuse. We have now revived them,” said an ASI official, who did not wish to be named. The official said the process of reviving the fountains started two months ago and water lines and connection pipes were excavated to repair connections. “Due to construction and demolition activity over the past year, it took us some time to find the water lines and reconnect them. In the coming two to three weeks, the fountains will be fully functional. With the revival of the fountains, visitors will get yet another spot to sit back and enjoy the Old World charm of the Mughal-era monument,” said the official. In 2019, the ASI carried out extensive restoration work on the fort complex built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. A number of new additions such as museums and other facilities were added to the premises as part of the restoration work. According to the written accounts of Maulvi Zafar Hasan, ASI archaeologist who prepared the first list of monuments worthy of conservation in 1916, the marble basin in the centre of the large tank in front of Rang Mahal dates back to the 17th century. “The tank is of one piece of marble, taken from the Makrana quarries by Shah Jahan,” mentioned the listing prepared by Hasan. “It was brought from the Queen’s Garden, whither it was removed, presumably after the Mutiny, and placed in its present position in 1911,” stated Hasan. While the water channels and fountain at Zafar Mahal have also been revived, some more work is being carried out before they become fully functional. Dildar Singh, a city-based tourist guide, who frequently visits the Red Fort, said he last saw the fountains in full flow many years ago. “I have been coming to the Red Fort since the 1980s. As far as I remember, they have not been in operation since 1991,” said Singh. Historian and author Swapna Liddle said the water basin where the fountains have been revived had not been at the Red Fort continuously. “It was moved around a lot. After the 1857 Revolt, it was placed in the Queen’s Garden, north of the Town Hall. It was later moved to the Red Fort,” said Liddle.

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