Heritage haveli being demolished

A haveli belonging to the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh situated in the walled city here is being demolished, reportedly for constructing a shopping complex.

This is the third instance of destruction of precious structures. Earlier two heritage havelis were demolished this year which too, belonged to the Maharaja Ranjit Singh era.

The havelis has a unique facade of frescoes of the British era, said Mr Balvinder Singh, a conservation planner and a reader of Guru Ram Dass School of Planning Guru Nanak Dev University.

During a visit to the haveli, this correspondent discovered that grills in its interiors are unique. The ornate doors, windows and almirahs made of teak are very beautiful. The haveli has elegant Japanese tiles with border. Distinctive floral designs and patterns, high quality stain glasses in different geometrical shapes, exquisite floor patterns, tiles and beautiful carved wooden doors and windows are a remainder of precious treasure. A carved fireplace with massive chest was gathering dust. Exquisite metal balustrade stands tall as a mute spectator to the destruction being carried around including the beautiful wooden steps.

In May this year a ‘Jainian di Haveli’ situated in Chatkian Wala Bazaar’ in walled city was demolished. While another near Hindu College was demolished which had unique paintings of a darbar of the maharaja.

Mr Vijay Mehra, principal of a senior study school and an art lover, said he was pained to see the destruction of such a beautiful architecture that was rare and painstakingly constructed. Such exceptional artwork should be taken over by the government.

He urged the government to take strict action to preserve ‘havelis’. He rued that nothing could be more unfortunate than seeing our heritage being demolished and the labourers pulling down beautiful artwork.

Dr Balwinder has urged the municipal corporation to intervene and stop its demolition. He suggested that an NGO forum should form which would help preserve such building.

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