Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C) and Civil Aviation unveiled the restored 18 feet tall Finial at Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi today as part of the ongoing conservation effort. Shri Rakesh Tiwari, DG, ASI, Shri Ratish Nanda, CEO, Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Shri Bhaskar Bhat, MD, Titan Company Limited were present on the occasion. Addressing on the occasion, the Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that after two years of hard work, a Finial or Kalash of Humayun’s Tomb has been restored to this monument. For two years carpenters, copper smiths, gold smiths, masons have worked with traditional tools, traditional techniques and intraditional manners that have stayed alive in India for centuries to create an authentic replica of the Humayun’s Tomb kalash for this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ministry of Tourism
He said that the Humayun’s Tomb conservation undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India with the support of the TATA Trusts has helped preserve the monument for posterity. Emphasis on employing traditional craftsmen has over a five year period created 200,000 (two lakh) man-days of work for the masons, stone carvers and other craftsmen. He congratulated and thanked the craftsmen who have dedicated themselves to this task and who are India’s true heritage.
The Minister hoped that the care given to Humayun’s Tomb over the last many years by the Archaeological Survey of India can be replicated at other important sites in Delhi and across our country.
The restored finial comprises a 22-feet-tall octagonal log of wood, 300 kilos of copper, a brass inscription, at least six layers of gold leaf gilding, completed with a finishing of glass beads. An exhibition on the restoration efforts was conducted during the unveiling event along with a visual presentation of the preservation initiatives.
In 2014, the Ministry of Culture declared Humayun’s Tomb to be one of the ADARSH monuments wherein several additional facilities will be provided and to this objective the Ministry of Tourism has provided a Rs. 49 Crore grant to Aga Khan Trust to build a state-of-art INTERPRETATION CENTRE for which the foundation stone was laid exactly one year ago. The original finial of Humayun’s Tomb will be displayed at this Interpretation Centre – which is sunken below ground but where the galleries reach a height of 6 m only to accommodate the finial. There, this beautiful piece of antiquity will not only be viewed closely by the public but also be safe from rain and pollution.