New Delhi: The Jama Masjid, iconic structure 361-year old mosque built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan is in urgent need of repairs.
The Masjid, a Centre piece of Shahjahanabad is being threatened by rampant water seepage, which has eroded the structural integrity of the main dome and peeled off layers of sandstone and plaster from its walls and intricate parapet carvings. Its external façade and internal structure is crumbling.
The Mosque is daily visited by an average of 5000 tourists and 1000 worshippers.
The Shahi Imam of the Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari said that “I specifically told both the PM’s office and the ASI that lack of maintenance was resulting in permanent damage. In particular, the main prayer chamber and three domes require instant restoration.”
The PMO was not immediately available for comments.
ASI spokesperson DM Dimri said that “An estimate has been prepared for restoration of its flooring. The tendering process is going on, the ASI will soon start work at Jama Masjid. As the mosque is not an ASI-protected monument, the responsibility of its regular monitoring and maintenance is not with us.”
An official of the Delhi Waqf board with which the responsibility and management of the mosque lies said that “We don’t have enough funds to restore the mosque and always need external assistance for this project.”
The Custodians of the mosque say that the central dome of the principal prayer hall is now the worst affected, with white seepage marks clearly visible, and the wall joints, minarets, and smaller onion-shaped domes have developed cracks, causing rain water to seep in and weaken the structure.