NEW DELHI: Heavy rains in the national capital on Sunday morning damaged the main dome of the almost 200-year-old mosque — Mubarak Begum — located in the heart of Shahjahanabad, near Chawri Bazaar metro station.
Witnesses claimed the central dome of the heritage building had come crashing down around 6.45 am.
The Delhi Wakf Board (DWB) is the custodian of the historic mosque, which was commissioned by a brahmin nautch girl in 1823. She was known as Mubarak Begum hence the masjid got its name. Mohammed Zahid, muazzin — a mosque staffer, who recites the call to prayer, said no one was present inside the hall when the incident took place.
“Only one of the three domes -- Central dome - has crashed, but the rest of the structure is unaffected. The management committee will submit a request to the board on Monday to carry out its repair. At least, debris and soil lying on the terrace should be removed immediately otherwise it will absorb more water and water seepage may lead to further damage to the structure,” he said.
The last time conservation work took place at the of the mosque was about two years ago, Zahid added.
The mosque, built of red sandstone and lakhori bricks, is a two-storey structure with shops on the lower floor. The upper floor comprises a courtyard and prayer chamber containing three domed-compartments. Disproportionately high domes are crowned with inverted lotus cresting topped by gilded pinnacles.
Himal Akhtar, a member of the DWB, said he would look into the matter and make efforts to initiate restoration of the dome. “I will take up the matter with the board officials on Monday and ensure the repair is undertaken as soon as possible,” Akhtar said. The news of the damage has upset heritage enthusiasts and historians.