Delhi is home to many historical monuments in Delhi. While some of these are well protected, some have remained neglected. One of these is the Azimganj Serai located in Sunder Nagar, in Nizamuddin which is finally getting its due.
The Delhi government is carrying out conservation works across various historical monuments and buildings under its jurisdiction in the capital. In this sequence, on September 13, 2022, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia along with the officials of the Delhi Archaeological Department inspected and reviewed the progress of conservation works at Azimganj Serai located in Sunder Nagar, Nizamuddin.
The project is being carried out by the Department of Archaeology, Government of NCT of Delhi, which is responsible for the protection, conservation and maintenance of monuments in Delhi, that are beyond the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India, Government of India.
Speaking about the conservation project, Manish Sisodia said, “Buildings of historical importance such as Azimganj Serai have remained neglected for a long time, due to which these buildings have suffered a lot. We will ensure that each of them is preserved in their original state with the support of experts.”
The Deputy Chief Minister said that once the conservation work of the famous Azimganj Serai is completed, it will emerge as a major tourist destination in Delhi. It will not only attract tourists but will also make them aware of the centuries-old rich history of Delhi.
Azimganj Serai is the earliest Mughal period Serai in Delhi currently standing within the boundary of Delhi Zoo and located in the north of Sunder nursery. It is a square structure with a huge courtyard of 111meters x 111 meters with arcaded chambers all around. All four corners of the monument have elegant octagonal bastions. The square plan consists of 108 arched cells which are in an advanced stage of deterioration. The Serai stood along the historic grand trunk road with its grand fort-like appearance of high historical and architectural significance.
What will change after conservation?
The conservation project of the Azimganj Serai aims to revive the cultural significance and architectural integrity of the monument. The monument has seen a significant loss of architectural features such as chambers, arches and masonry walls in the last fifty years due to loss of connectivity and no maintenance. Conservation works will use traditional materials and craft techniques to preserve the monument in its original state.
Currently, the Serai stands in isolation within dense vegetation and is not easily accessible to visitors. Its ruins remain visible from Sunder nursery depicting the original context and connectivity of the monument with the old grand trunk road. Azimganj Serai is just 600 meters away from the boundary of the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s tomb.