Cleanup bid for PBD washes colour off Hawa Mahal?

Jaipur, Jan 6 (IANS) An effort to clean the famous Hawa Mahal ahead of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)-2012 here may have left the 18th century ‘Palace of Winds’ with colourless patches and also damaged some of its outer surface, archaeological sources said Friday.

Apparently over-enthusiastic to clean the city ahead of the PBD, the civic authorities here washed the pink coloured Hawa Mahal using the fire brigade’s water pressure hoses, the sources said.

The action on the outer surface, carried out to remove dust and grime from the building, has left several patches on the monument with faded colour and damaged parts of it, the sources said.

Experts are saying the action was unwarranted and the cleaning was carried out without any care and supervision.

The city is being cleaned ahead of the PBD being organised here Jan 7-9.

‘During a visit to tourist spots in the city a couple of days ago, Rajasthan Tourism Minister Bina Kak had expressed dissatisfaction over the sanitation work at Hawa Mahal as it had a lot of dirt and dust,’ an official in the state archaeological department told IANS on condition of anonymity.

He said civic officials were accompanying the minister and immediately directed the fire department to carry out a clean-up without consulting the archaeological department.

‘Heavy pressure pipes were used in the cleaning. Along with dust and stains, the building’s colour was also washed away. This has left many patches on the building without any colour,’ said the officer.

The cleaning has triggered protests from experts and city residents.

‘The monument represents the city globally and what the civic agencies have done is completely childish. Using pressure pipes has damaged the outer surface of the building which might prove dangerous for its existence in future,’ said Dharam Saini, an archaeological expert.

Ateeq Mohammad, a resident of Ramganj in the walled city, said Hawa Mahal’s pink colour symbolizes the culture of Jaipur, which is known as the Pink City.

‘If civic agencies wanted to clean the stains and dust over its building, they should have been done so under the supervision of experts,’ said Ateeq.

Minister Kak told media persons here that the civic authorities were told to carry out the cleanliness work under experts supervision.

‘It is being examined if the use of pressure pipes has done any damage to the outer surface. An inquiry has been initiated,’ said Kak.

Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh and designed in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna. Its unique five-storey exterior is known for its 953 small windows called ‘jharokhas’, which let breeze pass through and hence the name Hawa Mahal.