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Mughal monuments in old city about to become history

monument


Srinagar, Sep 2: Most of the heritage monuments representing the Mughal era in Kashmir valley have been falling prey to the neglect by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

Once-famous Budshah Tomb in old Srinagar is one among these neglected monuments.

 

Tomb, situated on the banks of the Jhelum river, was built by Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin, popularly known as Budshah, in memory of his mother in the 15th century.

The tomb is built of bulbous bricks, decorated with blue tiles, which are less visible now due to poor maintenance, and grey stones. An old, wooden gate leads to the grave.

The headstone of the grave is in a very poor condition. The dome-type main section has developed several cracks, while its adjoining four auxiliary rooms are filled with scrap.

The premises of the monument is littered with plastic bottles, garbage, and polythene bags.

Beside the tomb is the graveyard carrying the graves of Sultan and his wives and children. The graveyard, too, is in a shambles.

A local shopkeeper and a poet, Farooq Nawaz said the authorities have not maintained or attempted to restore the monument.

“Authorities have totally ignored this place; nothing has been done for the restoration or preservation of this important monument,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.

“The condition of the tomb is deteriorating with every passing day. It has now become a home to birds. Authorities visited this site many times but did nothing to repair the damaged structure.”

The huge graves stones, which drag the attention of any passers-by, are carved with Arabic words that are deteriorating with each passing day.

Even the names on headstones are not readable anymore.

A local resident, Mujtaba said “The graveyard is not well maintained. Some graves have fully or partially descended into the soil. No one can recognise which grave is of Sultan Zain-Ul-Abidin and which ones of his wives and children.”

“It is also believed that the grave of famous Tartar invader MirzaHaiderDughlat, a cousin of Babar, is also there. It makes the monument more important.”

A few miles distant from the tomb isShahi Masjid, another Mughal-era monument famously known as Pathar Masjid (the mosque of stone).

Shahi Masjid was built by NurJahan, wife of Jahangir, the fourth Mughal Emperor.

Shahi Masjid is rectangular, built of limestone with a cement sloped roof, which a now developed cracks and is broken at the edges.

The roof has turned black. Fungal growth and green mold are found throughout the roof and on the walls of the mosque.

The posterior walls of the Masjid have also turned black, as ASI is not giving attention to this monument as well.

The back side of the mosque is surrounded by shops that belong to the Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board, which is the gross violation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.

As per the Act, the area falling within 100 meter of the limits of a protected monument is prohibited for constructions.

A local shopkeeper, Mohammad Shafi said, “The mosque cannot be recognised from its back due to its black walls. The encroachments have changed its shape.”

The grass in the twin lawns of the mosque have grown long.

A local resident, Showkat Ahmad, an auto-driver, said, “The mosque shall have been maintained by the ASI and Jammu and Kashmir Wakf Board, but it is not.”

One of the sides of mosque is fenced with iron grill and has concertina wire coiled around it by the CPRF personnel who are camped just near the mosque.

Superintended ASI, Zulfikar Ali, said, “Every monument that comes under ASI is to be maintained as per norms. I will definitely talk to the in-charge of the particular monuments, and we will take necessary steps to maintain the glory of the monuments.”