J&K govt steps in to prevent dismantling of Gole Mahal

Alarmed by attempts to bring down the "Gole Mahal" here, Jammu and Kashmir government has begun the process of declaring the heritage building as a state protected monument and ordered a probe.

Jammu: Alarmed by attempts to bring down the "Gole Mahal" here, Jammu and Kashmir government has begun the process of declaring the heritage building as a state
protected monument and ordered a probe.

Located in Hazuribagh belt of Jammu city, 150-year-old
Mahal built by the Dogra kings is one of its kind in Jammu and
Kashmir.

"The work to dismantle the heritage monument by some
people has been stopped by our team, which visits the prized
heritage monument from time to time," Deputy Director, state
Archaeology and Museum Department, Mohmmad Ashraf said, adding
that they have recommended that the building be declared as
protected.

Additional District Development Commissioner
(ADDC) Rehana Batool said a probe has been ordered into the
issue.

"A three-member high-level committee had visited the
site and a report is being finalised," she said.

The report would be submitted to the government
for further action on its preservation and declaration as
state protected monument, she said.

Armed with hammers and shovels, labourers allegedly
hired by a builder attempted to dismantle the monument to
build flats in Hazuribagh mango tree and flower estate, which
was sold by Joyti Singh, grand-daughter of Maharaja Hari
Singh, to a business house two decades ago.

The Maharaja had gifted her the estate including the
heritage building.

"The (dismantling) work has been stopped and we have
asked them not to touch the building," the Deputy Director
said, adding the action was initiated on the complaints to
Divisional Commissioner by locals residents, who wanted the
monument to be preserved.

"The official process to declare the monument as state
protected has begun and is underway," Ashraf said.

He said that damage has been caused to the monument`s
roof.

"We have submitted the report to ADDC for declaring
the monument as protected heritage monument under the state
government. The monument can be converted into A heritage
museum," Ashraf said.

The three-storey heritage building is round in shape
and resembles a clock with 12 big pillars and four main entrances.
There are Dogri carvings with lotus leaf motifs,
paintings, numerous brick designs and hand sketches on its
pink plastered walls inside and outside the building.

"It has a big majestically designed central hall and
four other halls and kings would use the Gole Mahal as a guest
house," Ashraf said.
Sheikh Abdullah, former chief Minister and grand
father of present Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and Bakshi
Gulam Mohmmad were kept in detention in Gole Mahal besides
other top leaders of Jammu and Kashmir during Emergency.

Bureau Report

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