Monday, September 20, 2010

New excavation by ASI at Siri Fort will Be Showcased to CWG Visitors

You may have passed by the remains of Siri Fort wall on the busy Khel Gaon Marg several times without even noticing it. But now the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will shed light on the historical 14th century fortification wall, built during the regime of Alauddin Khilji.

The ASI has excavated buried portions of the wall near Gargi College on Siri Fort Road. These portions will be illuminated to attract visitors using this stretch during the Commonwealth Games.

According to historians, the entire area from Gargi College to Siri Fort Auditorium near Shahpurjat is rich in history and one can find innumerable archaeological remains there. ‘‘Till now, one could see portions of Siri Fort wall only on Khel Gaon Marg while going towards the auditorium. We decided to excavate the buried portions of Siri Fort wall near Gargi College for the first time. Nothing was visible in the area because of the dense vegetation. The stretch is likely to be used frequently during the Games as it leads to the Siri Fort Sports Complex, one of the venues. We, therefore, wanted people to see the fortification wall as they drive past it,’’ said an official.

Sources said excavation of almost 1-km stretch of the wall took up to four months. ‘‘We raised the height to about 4-feet above the ground so that the wall can be seen by onlookers. As most of the work has been completed, we will soon hand over the site to DDA for landscaping and illumination of the wall,’’ said sources. The iron bridge erected on the road by the Army to connect to a parking lot will be removed after the Games and ASI officials said permission for this was only temporary.

Recent excavation at the Siri Fort wall has led to discoveries in the form of gates, bastions and ramparts. Earlier, only traces of one of the seven existing gateways could be found in the debris near the auditorium but over the last several years fresh evidence in the shape of the fortification wall has been unearthed. Historians claim there could be a buried palace complex within the Siri Fort wall ruins.

Touted as a new tourist destination for the city, excavations have been carried out at Siri Fort wall for the past few years. Experts said as the site is huge, they have to choose different points for digging where there is more evidence of buried ruins. Most of the other excavations of the wall have taken place on both sides of the road leading to Shahpurjat. ‘‘We want to expose the whole circle of Siri Fort wall in the same way it was done with Qila Rai Pithora some years ago,’’ said officials.

Officials said there were chances of stumbling upon forgotten artifacts like glazed pottery or vessels during excavation. If one chronicles history, one realizes there is a possibility of discovering skeletal remains of Mongol warriors in the fortification wall and officials are hoping to unearth something new that will shed light on the era of Alauddin Khilji.


Buried portions of Siri Fort wall have been excavated near Gargi College on Khel Gaon Marg This area was earlier covered with dense vegetation ASI has raised the wall’s height by 4ft to make it visible to passersby Remains of the 14th-century wall will be illuminated for Games visitors Site to be handed over to DDA which will carry out landscaping Till now, only portions of wall near Siri Fort Auditorium near Shahpurjat could be seen Only one of seven gateways was visible earlier