Metro may damage heritage look of Walled City

Jaipur: The state government’s ambitious Jaipur Metro rail project may destroy the heritage look of the Walled City. The empowered committee of Supreme Court which was appointed to monitor the heritage of the Walled City has sought an explanatory report from Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) as the Metro phase 1(B), proposed to be constructed from Badi Chaupar to Chandpole can damage the heritage look of the Walled City. A legal notice has also been issued to the corporation.

In the notice, it is mentioned that city-based archaeology experts and historians feel that due to dry soil and presence of tunnels besides escape routes, any construction activity below the ground will increase chances of old buildings caving in. Moreover, this will cause damage to the heritage tunnels, which will be against the heritage conservation rules. “No survey of underground structures has been made by the Asian Development Bank team,” reads the notice.

With a proposed underground route of the Metro inside the Walled City, there is bound to be confrontation between heritage conservation and modernization. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to go for underground routes inside the Walled City to save heritage structures and their looks. But a web of ancient tunnels and escape routes that exist below the ground in the Walled City will pose a hurdle in the construction of the Metro rail construction.

“Since the time of royalty, these tunnels were used as water canal and escape routes during emergency. Some of the tunnels are so broad that two horses could pass through them at a time. The Walled City has well constructed web of water canals and escape routes became defunct and new water supply system was introduced. These structures still exist below the ground and any disturbance to them will mean damage to old structures above the ground,” reads the notice.

It is also highlighted, Jaipur has dry and loose soil and any underground construction activity will result in dilapidated buildings falling apart. Vibrations of the Metro rail may also lead to tragedies. “When the buildings were constructed in the Walled City, sand was filled and stones set in sand. Now if any construction is undertaken, it is most likely that all the buildings will be come down, since, there are no rocks or hard soil below the buildings,” the notice says.

Interesting facts mentioned in the notice issued

– To facilitate water supply to the walled city, the Darbhavati river in the north was dammed to create the Jai Sagar and Man Sagar (that later housed Jal Mahal). Later the Jhotwara river in the north west was diverted through Amanishah Nullah and a number of canals were channeled through Brahmapuri and Jai Niwas to supply water to the city.

– The water supply system from Panipech used to be supplied by Persian wheels and chadas. There was an open drain from Chandpole Bazaar to Suraj Pol gate. Drainage system was also connected with it. Even the water from Jantar Mantar flowed into Talkatora.

– From Zanani Deori near Aatish market to Tripolia Bazaar near the chaupars there are underground routes which go to Hawa Mahal. There are several hidden routes also.

– Each chaupar is around 100m x 100m. The distance between two chaupars is about 700m which is ideal for pedestrian movement .The junctions of the main axial streets formed the two square civic open spaces called chaupars (Badi Chaupar and Choti Chaupar). These chaupars were outlets for intense social use with water structures connected by underground aqueducts, supplying numerous sources of drinking water at street level.

– Several state protected monuments exist on the route like Isar Laat, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, City Palace, Aatish Pol, Sargasuli, Zanani Deori, Tripoliya Gate, number of mohris like Shree Ji Ki Mohri etc.