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December 22, 2015

Wazir Khan Mosque rehabilitation starts


December 22, 2015


Following the rich heritage value, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has started conservation and rehabilitation of the Wazir Khan Chowk inside the Delhi Gate.

The conservation and rehabilitation will be carried out with the cooperation of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture with the funding of US Ambassador’s Fund. Wazir khan Chowk is the courtyard outside the Wazir Khan Mosque, which includes a shrine and mosque of Sufi Saint Said Soaf and the well of Raja Dina Nath. 

Officials said the project will be completed in 18 months time at an estimated cost of Rs 112.5 million. They said an MoU had already been signed between the WCLA, US Ambassador & AKCSP in this regard and initial work on the project has been started.

WCLA officials said this area was occupied by encroachments which were removed by the WCLA in 2012 following the guidelines of the World Bank’s resettlement action plan. Almost 73 permanent and temporary encroachments were removed from the courtyard, officials said adding if not conserved, the area will again be facing the problem of encroachments. 

A senior official of the WCLA said presently Hujras of the Wazir Khan Mosque facing the Chowk are also occupied by the local welding vendors, which is posing a threat to the monument. He said under this conservation work, Hujras of the mosque will also be vacated and the floor will be excavated to reveal the rest of the façade and level of the mosque. 

A heritage expert of the WCLA said over the passage of time, the ground level raised and thus the mosque’s parts were dug in it. This project will help reveal the original ground levels, he said adding the scope of work included lowering of Chowk to original level to fully expose front façade of the mosque, rehabilitation of the front façade of the mosque including ground level Hujras, rehabilitation of two historic homes, conservation of Dina Nath’s well and engineering works including drainage, electrification and illumination. 

WCLA officials said Chief Secretary Punjab had already given a decision on the vacation of the Hujras and the Auqaf Department was instructed to facilitate the WCLA in this matter as the mosque is still with the Auqaf. 

Director General WCLA Kamran Lashari said this will be an astounding project once completed. The original look and feel of the Wazir Khan Mosque is correlated to the conservation of the Chowk as it gives the main entrance to the mosque. “I am grateful to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture Services Pakistan and the US Ambassador Fund for their keen interest and support in this project,” he concluded. 

Director Conservation Najmus Saqib said the authority has planned to restore this area to its original look and feel. “We visualise it as a piazza as it was in the past. The Hujras will also be put to their original use. At present, the works going on in these Hujras are a major threat to the monument and these will be vacated in a very near future,” he maintained.

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