Bat poop and bird droppings are spelling nightmare for the centuries-old Qutub Minar in Delhi, following which the ASI has started work on replacing its old wooden doors and windows, a senior official said today.
The work will be completed by this month end.
The 72.5 m-high minaret, country's tallest, is getting refurbished after 50 years, as the Sal wood-made doors and window panels have become old, and cracks in them were allowing birds and bats to enter the inner sides of this towering monument, part of UNESCO World Heritage Qutub Complex.
"The groundwork began over a month ago and the replacement work is underway. The projected cost for the entire work is Rs 8 lakh and we expect to finish it by July end," Superintending Archaeologist, ASI (Delhi Circle), N K Pathak, told PTI.
The iconic stone-made tower, endowed with rich inscriptions has four round ornate balconies at different levels, with an opening at each level.
It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and 2.75 m at the top. It is faced with red and buff sandstones on three storeys and marble on the rest, according to a publication by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
"These old wooden doors had developed cracks allowing bats and birds, especially pigeons to wander in. The droppings from these winged creatures became quite an issue, both in terms of cleaning and the damage it can cause to the stones. So, it was decided to replace them," Mr Pathak said.
He said, the doors, window and ventilators number about 37, with one main door at the base, followed by four at each level.
"The new door and window panels have Sal wood frames and metal net (meshwork) in the middle to allows circulation of air," he added.
Though entry to inside of the minaret is restricted, the bird excreta reacting with the stones could have had led to serious damage, Pathak said.
Founder of the Delhi Sultanate Qutab-ud-din-Aibak started the construction of the Qutub Minar's first storey around 1192. In 1220, Aibak's successor and son-in-law Iltutmish completed the rest of the storeys.
"A lightning strike had destroyed the top storey a few centuries ago. Firoz Shah Tughlaq replaced the damaged storey, and added one more level in it," Mr Pathak said.
Qutub Minar is one of the most-visited and most-photographed monuments in India and has been featured in several films and documentaries.
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