NEW DELHI: As twilight descended over the city on Tuesday, it saw the dawn of a bygone era at Humayun’s Tomb as the Aga Khan unveiled the restored gardens of the monument with water flowing in its many fountains. Visitors were taken back in time to the 1560s, when the mausoleum was completed.
The restoration project, for which the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) had given US $6,50,000, tried to erase the colonial character the tomb’s Moghul gardens had ‘‘wrongly’’ acquired over the past decades.
‘‘The water channels were relaid to exacting standards. Over 2,500 trees and plants were introduced in accordance with the original landscaping. Wells were re-excavated and incorporated into a rain water harvesting and irrigation system,’’ said the Aga Khan, who is the spiritual leader of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims.
Greenery wasn’t the only thing that was restored here. The walkways, edging stones, water channels and sandstone benches were also given the original look. The garden restoration project, undertaken by the AKTC in association with the Archeological Survey of India, was conceived in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.
Visitors were clearly in awe of the tomb’s newly restored glory. ‘‘I am feeling the ambience of the place as it would have been centuries ago,’’ said noted sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. Other noted guests included Union culture minister Jagmohan, deputy-chairperson Rajya Sabha Najma Heptullah and Urban designer K T Ravindran.