Qutub Minar: 12th Center
Monument in New Delhi
Historic Jama Masjid a step away
from new look:
450-year-old Jama Masjid in the old quarters of the capital has to
cross one more hurdle to get a complete face job, which would
beautify its surrounding area and turn the shrine into a world class
Ibn Batuta on IMAX
New Delhi: The Qutb is quaking
at the vibrations from the sky.
The new threat
to the tallest tower in Delhi is from planes taking off from and
landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport nearby.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in charge of the 12th century
monument’s upkeep, has written to the Airports Authority of India
(AAI) asking it to immediately change the flight paths that lead to
the new third runway.
According to the
ASI, the flights using this runway are flying “dangerously close” to
the 234ft-high red sandstone monument.
“We have written
to the airports authority explaining how the vibrations of the
low-flying aircraft could endanger the Qutb, one of the biggest
tourist attractions in Delhi,” ASI director K.K. Muhammed told The
The AAI, he
said, has agreed to conduct a study to assess the impact of the
vibrations on the tower, whose construction was started by Qutbuddin
Aibak in 1173AD and finished by Iltutmish in 1200AD.
The problem is
said to have started since September 2008, when the third runway was
opened as part of plans to help the airport handle more traffic. One
end of the new strip is about 2.5km closer to the Qutb than the old
The ASI had
raised similar concerns about plane vibrations to the 10th century
temples in Khajuraho, a Unesco world heritage site, a few years
back. The ASI had found the Nandi, Mahadev and Lakshman temples in
the complex weakened by the vibrations.
said the Madhya Pradesh government took serious note of the threat
and approached the civil aviation ministry, which agreed to change
the direction of an airstrip near the temple complex. He hoped a
similar solution would be worked out for the Qutb.
This is not the
monument’s only brush with danger. It has already tilted 25 inches —
like the tower of Pisa in Italy — to the southwest.
It was in the
danger of leaning further because of a weak foundation being further
damaged by years of rainwater seepage. But the ASI partly solved the
problem by cementing the area around the structure with lime to make
it watertight. Six underground water cavities were dug up at a depth
of 12ft to prevent water from reaching the 10ft-deep foundation of