Barapullah Elevated Road and Khan Khana’s Tomb

A short note to follow up on my post about construction work for the elevated road around the Barapullah bridge, in which my concluding remarks were that the separate governmental authorities need to really work together cohesively in Delhi to accommodate both conservation and development, and use Delhi’s historic architecture as a unique facet of the city. Unfortunately, it looks like another section of the elevated road construction may indicate that examples of such collaboration are pretty hard to come by.

I’m talking about the stretch of the elevated road that passes in front of Khan Khana’s Tomb, also in the Nizamuddin area. Khan Khana was one of the Navratans in Akbar’s court, and is the same person as the poet Rahim of 2-line dohas fame.

Khan Khana’s tomb hidden behind the under-construction pillars of the Barapullah Nullah elevated road

News articles from previous months state that part of the ASI’s objection to the elevated road was that it will obstruct the view of Khan Khana’s tomb from the adjacent Mathura Road. Due to this objection, the height of the elevated road was to be raised at this point, so that it passed over the view-line of the tomb from Mathura Road. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the under-construction pillars for the elevated road that lie to the east of Mathura Road, the side that the tomb is on, are right adjacent to Mathura Road, and block the view to the monument anyway. So despite the raised road height, the pillars themselves will obstruct the view of the tomb.

A closer view of the tomb and pillars. The billboard also blocks the view to the tomb, but that’s a minor issue compared to the obstruction the pillars will cause

It could be argued that the proximity of the pillars to the road was required to span the road, but much larger spans are being bridged on this road itself, so the special situation of this location should definitely have warranted the extra expense of a larger span. On top of this, the pillar to the west of Mathura Road is pretty far from the road, for no apparent reason (see the panoramic photo below).

Panoramic view of the elevated road construction over Mathura Road. The pillars to the left (west) of the road are set back from Mathura Road when they needn’t be, and the pillars to the right (east), which should have been set back from Mathura Road to maintain a clear view of Khan Khana’s tomb (which is in the center background) from the road, aren’t. Sad irony that is all too common here in Delhi (click image to enlarge)

Of course factors such as foundational needs could have dictated the placement of these pillars, but it seems really odd that the pillars east of Mathura Road couldn’t have been shifted a few meters further east, thus not negating the effect that raising the elevated road is to accomplish.

To me, this seems to be just another example of bad, non-creative planning and lack of coordination.

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