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Govt to restore 2 famous architectural gems of Jammu by end of 2021

Jammu:  Mansar Haveli in Samba and Laddan Kotli Fort in Udhampur will shortly start attracting large number of tourists as these architectural gems are all set to be fully restored by the end of this year.

However, the preservation of miniature paintings and murals will begin in the second phase the preparations for which are already on in the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums.

Mansar Haveli situated in the vicinity of Mansar Lake was lying precariously for several decades despite having one of the best architectural gems of Jammu region embellished with exquisite paintings and murals.

However, during the past over one year significant progress has been made in its restoration that too by paying serious attention towards maintaining the originality of the heritage structure. Till date, more than 70% work has been completed by the expert hands and the remaining work will be completed by the end of this year, official sources said

“The reconstructed archway, stabilization of slopes and filling of cracked walls have already started giving a stunning new look to the Mansar Haveli. In order to bring alive the original structure, Surkhi and Nanak Shahi bricks have been used by the expert labourers, who have already restored one of the major entrance of the historic Mubarak Mandi complex”, they further said.

Entire restoration work would have been completed by now but the restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 hampered the work. Now, the remaining 30% work is going on smoothly and required material has also been provided to the labourers. “The funds are not an issue as entire budget of Rs 68.54 lakh has been made available by the Government”, sources informed.

When contacted, Assistant Director, Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums, Dr Sangeeta Sharma confirmed that by the end of this year the remaining restoration work will be completed and Mansar Haveli will start attracting large number of tourists. “In the 2nd Phase, we will restore the miniature paintings and murals that have been spoiled with time or are missing”, she further said.

Disclosing that preparations for the 2nd Phase are already on, Dr Sangeeta said, “for restoration of miniature paintings and murals we need to bring experts from outside as such manpower is not available in Jammu and Kashmir”, adding “the Government has already assured to provide required funds for the 2nd Phase also”.

Another major attraction for the tourists will be Laddan Kotli Fort in Udhampur, which has also been restored up to 60% by the Department of Archives, Archaeology and Museums. This fort is being restored at a cost of Rs 94 lakh.

Built by one of the later Chenani Kings with the angle of safeguarding the territorial boundary, the heritage structure was lying in ruin and neglect for decades. However, by the end of this year it will again become attractive point for the visitors.

The fort is spread over nine kanals of land with houses and farms to its eastern side and forests on the other. The abode of Jalandhara Devi, a one-of-its-kind temple in Northern India, also built by Chenani Kings for their ‘Kul Devi’ is in its close vicinity. Both, the temple and fort have to be reached through a hilly forest trail.

“The restoration work of such ancient monuments is delicate and takes time. It started with removing moss and vegetation growth swathing the whole structure, moving on to repairing the cracks and collapses with Surkhi bricks,” Dr Sangeeta Sharma said, adding “the restoration work is being done with original architectural design in consideration even though there is a shortage of skilled manpower in Jammu which can work on such ancient structures”.

“The thick walls, usage of chiseled stones, arches and other elements of the structure are being maintained,” she further said, adding “once fully restored by the end of this year, Laddan Kotli fort will start attracting tourists keeping in view its unique architecture and picturesque surroundings”.

 

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