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Restoration of Wazir Khan mosque

June 23, 2006

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LAHORE, June 22: The restoration work on southern part of Wazir Khan Mosque will be completed by June 30. A Punjab Archaeology Department official told this to a group of journalists at the mosque here on Thursday.

He said the project was initiated in 2004 with the financial support of the US. A sum of $31,000 had been allocated under the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation programme, he added.

The northern part of the mosque has already been restored under the programme.

The official said the restoration had been carried out on the pattern it was constructed. “It has been resorted in original form,” he continued.

The department is reportedly planning to open a craft bazaar there and will rent out its shops to carpenters so that they can display their artesian work. The fresco work and red sand stone of the northern and southern parts of the mosque was completely damaged some three decades ago.

Some officials of the US embassy (Islamabad) who visited the mosque a couple of years ago had expressed serious concern over its fast decay and then allocated funds for restoration.

Located in a thickly populated area of Delhi Gate, inside walled city, it is one of the two most spacious mosques in Lahore.

It reflects a blend of Persian and Indian styles of architectures. Chiniot-born Hakeem Aleemuddin Ansari, known as Nawab Wazir Khan, had laid its foundation in AD1634. Its construction was completed in 1635.

Built with bricks and tiles, it is entirely covered with arabesque painting and lacquered tiles, and the inlaid pottery decorations and paneling of the walls are vivid and glowing.

The panels of pottery are set in hard mortar and the leaves flowers, tress and goblets; decorate the exterior of the walls.

About three-dozen shops have been built on the area of the mosque since long. No serious efforts have been made by the authorities concerned to remove the encroachments.