Gujrat: The Ram Piyari Mahalo, one of the few majestic pre-partition era buildings located in the center of the city which was formerly under the archeology department, has been officially handed over to the Lahore Walled City Authority (LWCA).
Sundar Das Chopra, a contractor of Dinga Town, constructed this building for his third wife Ram Pyari in 1918. The road on which the building is located was once also known as Ram Pyari Road, but was later renamed as Circular Road which now passes by the Sohni Bazaar, a market of pottery and ceramics in the city.
A few years ago, the building was transformed into a museum consisting of galleries displaying local art and culture, portraits of local heroes, folklores, statues of renowned figures, old coins, and a public library.
Director-General of Walled City Authority Kamran Lashari made a special tour to Gujrat in order to inspect the condition of the building before taking over the official charge.
He held a special meeting with the Deputy Commissioner of Gujrat Safdar Virk and other officials of the archaeology department in order to discuss the infrastructural issues in the building and the reasons for low museum footfall.
He was also briefed by the local historians and civil society activists that the building has threatening infrastructural issues as in the last two rainy seasons, the basement was filled with subsoil water which is slowly damaging the walls and can potentially jeopardize the whole building.
The meeting decided to repair the sewerage system and construct public-friendly tourist attraction points such as a library, cafeteria, and indoor sports section to increase the overall footfall.
Previously, the restoration of Ram Piyari Mahal has also been a part of the ‘Explore Gujrat’ programme aimed at renovating and preserving at least 30 historical sites in the district. However, the plan has not materialized so far.
Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2023