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A Relic From The Mughal Era, This Centuries-Old Gateway Has Now Been Restored To Life



Hey, did you know about this centuries-old monument called Arab Sarai hidden in the lanes of Nizamuddin? No? The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage confirms that the structure was built back in 1560 by Hamida Banu Begum, the chief consort of Mughal Emperor Humayun, to accommodate about 300 Arabs, whom she had brought with her from Mecca. Interesting! And this structure recently saw a major revamp. Read on!

Everything You Need To Know | This lofty gateway, which has many stories hidden within its walls was in quite a sorry state, before the Aga Khan Trust for Culture finally began bringing back its glory back in January 2017. The restoration was financed by the US Ambassador’s Fund For Cultural Preservation.

The gateway has 5 arches and is 13 metres in height and if you observe it closely, you’ll find detailed tile work and medallions depicting Quranic inscriptions on it. It’s touted to be one of the rare structures in the city bearing such eerie and awe-striking inscriptions. 

The structure was earlier made of red sandstone which had degenerated with time. Now, the gateway has undergone restoration including plasterwork and traditional lime concrete terracing has been applied to it. 

Regretfully, not all the Quranic inscriptions and artwork could be restored to their original glory. Many people believe that the gateway erstwhile boasted a display of fine artwork of human figurines. The gateway is believed to lead to a bazaar attached to the sarai. A major portion of the sarai is utilized by the Delhi Government, from where it runs an industrial training institute, which was originally set up as a vocational training center for people displaced during the Partition. 

It looks like another spectacle from the past awaits our visit, Delhizens. Let’s get our cameras and rush over to admire yet another gem from the nation’s glorious past, shall we?

Sourced Via Hindustan Times