–WCLA spends Rs1.8m on restoration of historic wooden gate, postern gates, interior structure
LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) would be completing the conservation of the historic Shah Burj Gate imminently. The restoration would include the famous wooden gate, the postern gates and the interior structure. The process, which started on Friday, is in its final stages and will be completed in two days if everything goes according to the authority’s plans, Pakistan Today learnt. The restoration will cost the WCLA a total of Rs 1.8 million.
It was also learnt that the wooden gate, which is almost 20 feet in height, had become rotten, stuck and would cave in easily when prodded. Once the gate is conserved and repaired, it will be possible to open and close it with ease. Furthermore, a room adjacent to the gate, which was filled with detritus and rubble, has been cleaned up and renovated.
A visitor at Lahore Fort, Shahid Khan, while observing the gate under repairs, said, “I am amazed at the size and weight of the gate but at the same time I am distressed that the negligence of our authorities. The historic gate, a remnant of the Mughal era, has been damaged by water and ageing. I got to know from the labour that it was stuck in the ground and could not be moved. We must appreciate the authority repairing it as it will be a unique experience to look at once the WCLA completes its work.”
Another tourist at Fort, Shumaila, said, “We had never noticed this gate earlier while entering the fort and it will be interesting to see it all its glory. We must repair and maintain all such elements of old Lahore as these are part of our rich history.”
WCLA Director Conservation Najam Saqib informed Pakistan Today that the conservation and repairs of Shah Burj Gate were being done for the first time in the last three decades. “Inside the Shah Burj Gate, there is a beautiful open space which we have cleaned and restored. It can now be used for official work and tourism. We are creating more and more tourist spots by cleaning and conserving the small neglected parts of the fort. This gate is the main entrance to the fort, elephant stairs and Sheesh Mahal, needed attention as it was stuck in the ground since ages and had fallen from its hinges. The adjacent room being repaired will be developed into a small souvenir shop for the tourists to generate revenue,” Najam said.
Najam further informed that the heavy gate was lifted by using chain pulley and placed on the ground for repairs. “It was a heavy gate and difficult to handle with care. The intricate ‘Ghalib Kari’ in the interior of the gate is an amazing piece of art. The ‘Barood Khana’ is also connected with this gate and in two days’ time, we will be able to take tourists from this place directly to Barood Khana. We will also be illuminating the interior of the gate and it will be shown to tourists who wish to visit after dusk,” he concluded.
The Shah Burj Gate also is known as the ‘King’s pavilion or ‘the royal entrance’ was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1631. This Magnificent Gate was used exclusively by the Royalty and is now an important heritage site.