LAHORE: The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) and Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan (AKCSP) have finally completed the restoration of the main Shah Burj Gate of Lahore Fort.
AKCSP restored the facade of the Shah Burj Gate as a part of the Picture Wall project and the scaffolding on the gate would be taken off in the next three days.
The restoration of the wooden gate and the interior of the main gate, which had some rooms, were completed by the WCLA conservation team.
It is worth mentioning here that Shah Burj Wooden Gate, the Postern Gate, along with the main gate’s interior, was restored and illuminated with a cost of Rs1.8 million.
The official working on the site said that the room next to Shah Burj Gate along with the upper portion of the gate was closed since ages and had recently been cleaned up by the WCLA.
The official also said that the main facade of the Shah Burj Gate which had been embellished with fresco, ghalib kari and tile mosaic was also a neglected piece in Lahore Fort despite being the main entrance to the fort and was now being conserved by the efforts of AKCSP.
WCLA Director Conservation Najam Ussaqib, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that the Shah Burj Gate was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1631 and also has inscriptions on it. “The conservation of the gate was done in three parts which included conservation of the rooms, restoration of the wooden gate and conservation of the main facade. The rooms of Shah Burj gate had not been opened for cleaning in ages,” he said.
“The WCLA took the initiative to open the rooms and clean them after which conservation had started. Inside the Shah Burj Gate there is a beautiful open space which will be used as tourist spot,” he added.
Najam said that similarly the wooden door of the gate had sunken into the ground and it could not be moved but WCLA repaired it. He also said that the Shah Burj Gate was conserved for the first time. “AKCSP has conserved the main facade of the Shah Burj Gate as it was a part of the Picture Wall project. Previously it could not be done due to the lockdown situation and as soon as the labour was allowed to work, the scaffolding was taken off,” he added.
AKCSP Project Director Wajahat Ali said that the restoration of gate started in June 2019 with an aim of completing the missing tile work and the iconic Muqarnas inside the dome that is often called “stalactite vaulting” based on the evidence. “To carry out the work comprehensive documentation of the existing conditions was done by our team and based on the documentation restoration strategy was derived. Later, the restoration work was completed in March 2020,” he said.
“The restoration work of Shah Burj Gate has been completed by AKCSP with generous funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the WCLA, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture,” he added.