LAHORE – Punjab Archaeology Department and Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) are carrying out conservation work at an important historical monument of 19th Century Baradari of Sher Singh, situated in Kot Khawaja Saeed in Northern Lahore.

The Archaeology Department officials said the work had been started some weeks ago and would be completed in two years with the budget of Rs 20 million. They said the government had allocated Rs 10 million for the ongoing fiscal year.

They said the PHA was construing boundary wall of the monument and landscaping which was near to be completed. “Archaeology Department has to do the conservation and renovation work on the Baradari. Firstly, we are doing underpinning and carrying out work for stability of the structure,” they said.

They claimed that they would complete a good chunk of the work this year. The condition of the structure was very miserable and it was near to collapse, the officials informed.

“It was merely surviving with skeleton but we are carrying out work rapidly and would complete the roofs of the structure up to the June 2012,” they further claimed.

The monument, which was declared protected under Antiquity Act 1975, was badly damaged and set on fire by an angry mob in 1992 in retaliation to the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India. The locals told this scribe that in 1992 the people had taken precious wooden doors and bricks of the monuments. They said once river Ravi flowed here and the Baradari of Maharaja Sher Singh was on the bank of river. There was time when this residential complex of Sher Singh was surrounded by the Sikh garrisons to protect the Raja, they said. The structure, after the death of Sher Singh was left at the mercy of time.

The Archaeology Department officials said the Solid Waste Enclosure had been constructed here about five years ago which marred the beauty of the structure. They said the enclosure would be removed before completion of the conservation work.

They said archaeological sites needed conservation work every year but unfortunately no work had been carried out on the monument since it was declared as protected monument.

They said although architecturally this building did not hold any distinct pretensions among the Sikh built heritage of the area but its historic association with the period was above the board.