LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) would be starting the structural assessment of Mariam Zamani mosque next week whereas, Rs1.6 million will be spent on the project’s study which will be completed in a month and a half, Pakistan Today has learnt.
In the process of the mosque’s structural assessment, the condition of the structure of the mosque, settlements, major structural cracks, negative impact of the drainage system, deterioration of the mosque’s structure because of the attached properties and its remedy, building of retaining wall after removal of encroachments and foundation conditions will be studied.
On the basis of these studies, a report will be compiled for the structural stability of the mosque and its conservation.
Presently, the mosque is hidden behind several encroachments and Rim Market while on the other side of the mosque is the Moti Market which is a show wholesale market.
Talking to a local guide Arqam Saleem about the history of this mosque he said that it was the first Mughal era mosque in Lahore and is known as ‘mother of all mosques’. “This Mosque is right opposite the Akbari Gate of Lahore Fort and is located in the Masti gate of the walled city of Lahore. The gate’s name was also named after this mosque and it was Masjidi Gate which was distorted to Masti Gate with the passage of time. When this Mosque was built it was connected with the Lahore Fort with a small garden. It is also said in some historic pieces that the ladies of the fort would go there for offering prayers,” he told.
“The majestic mosque was built in 1611-1614 by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir for his adored mother Mariam Zamani. It has the best fresco and decorative items and is as beautiful as Wazir Khan Masjid when it comes to colours and fresco work. We find very different patterns in this mosque and it is visited by tourists despite being hidden behind encroachments,” he further told.
WCLA Media and Marketing Deputy Director Tania Qureshi said, “It is one of the important projects of WCLA to restore and conserve this mosque as it is one of the earliest Mughal era buildings in Lahore. With the passage of time and negligence the structure of the mosque has been deteriorated and after this structural assessment WCLA will surely take up the conservation. It is in the plans that this mosque will be connected with the tour of Lahore Fort. Through historic chronicles we get to know that this mosque was for the ladies of the fort and with a garden in between, it was connected with the fort and thus, WCLA will try its best to revive it in the same way”.
WCLA Senior Architect Azeem Dad said, “The structural assessment will be completed in a month and half time. Structural engineers will be conducting this assessment and through that, we will get to know the bearing capacity of the soil, foundation deflection and settlement. The structural engineers would be making boreholes at different locations in the mosque for carrying out this assessment. With the passage of time, the structure has cracks and some parts are deteriorated because of attached properties and drainage system. We will be taking structural stability measures after the complete structural assessment and this will also lead us to the conservation proposals”.
Azeem further said that it was one of the most important monuments of the walled city Lahore and WCLA will take all necessary measures to stabilise and conserve it as per international standards.