Tribune News Service
Kapurthala, June 18
A project to revive tourism in the state by renovating heritage buildings initiated by ex-tourism minister Navjot Sidhu four years ago has finally started taking shape.
As the work had started in November 2017 to restore four buildings, it’s the 187-year-old Gol Kothi, which has found its lost glory. Covering nine kanals and nine marlas, the kothi in which Maharaja Jagatjit Singh resided in for sometime in the 1880s, was completely in a shambles.
Having been declared unsafe by the Public Works Department around five years ago, a part of it had been temporarily closed and the remaining was being used as the residence of the Chief Medical Officer. Located right opposite the office of Kapurthala SSP, the initial target to finish the project was May 2019. At a cost of Rs 4.98 crore, the renovation work has been completed by Rajasthan-based Rajputana Constructions Pvt Ltd.
Skilled workers from Madhya Pradesh were roped in to ensure that the original touch and heritage look of the building was not lost and the work was done using slaked lime and red sandstone.
The onlookers have been seen commenting that while Hadira, another historical building renovated in Sultanpur Lodhi in 2019 had lost its original look, Gol Kothi partly retained its originality. The kothi was built on the orders of Maharaja Fateh Singh in 1833 as the residence of Maha Mantri of his state.
Three other buildings, which were to be renovated as a part of the ‘conservation and adaptive reuse of colonial heritage’ project started by Sidhu included Deewan Hall, Buggy Khana and Gulabi Kothi, popularly known as Bhoot Bangla. The plan was to connect Kapurthala and Sultanpur Lodhi to Jang-e-Azadi near Kartarpur, Goindwal, Tarn Taran and Amritsar, for a religious and historical tourist circuit.
Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Deepti Uppal said the projects were being directly dealt with the Tourism Department. “A tender for setting up a restaurant inside it had been floated recently. Any plans for its formal inauguration will be known to the department officials,” she said.
She said a part of Darbar Hall, which earlier housed the administrative complex , was renovated a year ago. “Another part of it is currently being renovated. Deewan Hall can be the next project in line. Since Buggy Khanna still houses the office of the Vigilance Bureau, it needs to be vacated first and relocated, before the work commences,” she added. Tourism Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said he would discuss the latest status of the heritage buildings with officials concerned and accordingly plan works.
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