Delhi: Wind, rain damage Jama Masjid minaret | Delhi News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: It was not just trees, which were damaged in the sudden gust of high wind and rain on Friday afternoon. A large sandstone block from the right minaret of Jama Masjid, which is open for the public, also fell down in the courtyard. With a lockdown in place and the mosque shut, no one was around and there were no injuries. The imam of the mosque has now decided to write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the repair and conservation of the 17th-century Mughal structure.
Red sandstone and marble were used in the mosque, which was built in 1656 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The strong wind on Friday led to a section of the red sandstone falling down from the minaret. The impact was such that a few-inch hole was created in the courtyard.
Imam Bukhari told TOI that it happened during the prayer time in the afternoon. “The mosque is shut due to the lockdown but I and my staff were present. The prayers were going on inside the mosque’s sanctorum and this happened outside,” he said.
Bukhari further said that the red sandstone piece, which fell down, was about two metres long and three inches wide. “In the past too, a few stones had fallen down and repairs were done by the Archaeological Survey of India. Only recently, the ASI had finished the conservation and repair work of the three domes of the mosque. I have informed the ASI about the latest damage.”
He stated that he would write a letter to the PM as “it is a matter of great worry. If there were people in the mosque at the time of the accident, it would have been a disaster.”
Ruing the condition of the mosque, historian Swapna Liddle said that “it is an old building and is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture. Every inch of it needs to be properly assessed for defects. The restoration work so far has involved bandaged methods, where they just repair what gets damaged. That is why our buildings deteriorate so much.”
Liddle added that in Shah Jahan’s time, there was a system of repairs. “These days, they put wrong material in the repairs, they put cement instead of limestone mortar. These kinds of measures, done without expert knowledge, lead to more damage to the structure and could be a danger to the public.”
Historian Rana Safvi said that it was important to conserve the structure as it was of national importance. The mosque has always been a symbol of faith for the Muslims of the country and is a focal point for the community living in Delhi, she added.


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