NEW DELHI: Restoration of Nicholson Cemetery situated near the Kashmiri Gate Metro station is expected to begin after July. INTACH, a specialised agency with expertise in heritage conservation, will carry out the restoration work.The cemetery traces back its history to the 1857 Indian Mutiny that started in Meerut but went on to spread to Delhi.The burial ground is named after Brigadier General John Nicholson, who was instrumental in breaching the defences of the Indian rebels controlling Delhi. Nicholson had lost his life in the process.
“A large area of the cemetery houses British graves, while around 25 per cent buries Indians. Families of those British officers who got killed during the revolt come here to visit the grave of their ancestors,” said an undertaker at the cemetery.The British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA) — an organisation that promotes the preservation of cemeteries in South Asia and records those buried there — has appointed Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) for the conservation work.
“It’s a big cemetery. The Delhi Cemeteries Committee (DCC) doesn't have enough resources to completely undertake the restoration work. So, BACSA is doing it voluntarily,” said Paul Joseph, DCC secretary.
“Right now, we are just documenting the cemetery and are marking and assessing its condition,” said Kanika Dawar, INTACH’s project coordinator.
Thick, tangled vegetation has swallowed headstones and grave markers in the cemetery. There is no lawn, just a patchwork — weeds, dead brown leaves, bare earth. Headstones are broken, lie askew and shattered by the forces of the Nature.INTACH is likely to submit a detailed project report by July after which the work will commence, added Dawar.