NEW DELHI: Long-awaited Delhi City Museum is set to become a reality as the Tourism Ministry and The Arts and Cultural Heritage Trust (TACHT) will soon enter into agreement to set up the facility, which would come up at Dara Shikoh Library on Ambedkar University campus at Kashmere Gate.
A six-member expert panel headed by secretary tourism to vet the content and exhibits has been formed.
The trust, known for creating the Partition Museum in Amritsar, will adopt the heritage building under the Central government’s ambitious ‘Monument Mitra’ scheme.
Besides, separate galleries on India’s independence freedom movement, subsequent division of the country, and history of seven cities of Delhi, a sound and light show and audio-video guide facility are also proposed.
Around 10 years ago, the Delhi government first conceived a proposal to convert the centuries-old Dara Shikoh Library into a city museum with the intention of preserving and promoting the cultural heritage of the city.
According to the government officials, aware of the development, the first draft of memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been shared with the trust.
“The six-member panel will act as an advisory body, which will approve features of the museum and archival collections. There will be another panel-technical committee comprising engineers and other officials to oversee facilities and services,” said a senior government officer.
The official said that Delhi government’s archeology department is the custodian of the building and has started handing over its archival material to TACHT for preservation.
Dara Shikoh, who was the heir-apparent of Emperor Shah Jahan, built this mansion cum library at Yamuna bank during 1639-48.In later years, it served as the residence of Mughal viceroy of Punjab Ali Mardan Khan and a powerful British officer in Mughal court David Ochterlony at the beginning of 19th century.
When it became the British residency, the façade of the building was modified by adding classical colonial features.
“The building is being conserved by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) and the work is nearing completion. Site inspection has already been done and as soon as the MoU is finalised, the building will be handed over to the TACHT in a week or so,” said another government official.
When contacted, Mallika Ahluwalia, chief executive officer (CEO) and curator at Partition Museum refused to comment on the matter. Besides, a Partition museum, a gallery depicting the life of ill-fated Mughal prince Shikoh, known for his mystical bent of mind, is also proposed.