GATEWAYS OF OLD SARAI AMANAT KHAN , AMRITSAR
BY RASHMI TALWAR
“In exercise of power conferred by rule 32 of the ancient monuments archaeological sites and remains rules 1959 (of AMASR Act 1958)
The central government has declared the area upto 100 meters from the protected limits and further beyond it upto 200 meters near or adjoining protected monuments to be prohibited and regulate area respectively for the purpose of mining and construction.
No person can make any kind of construction/excavation/ mining operation within prohibited and regulated area without the written permission of the Director General, Archaeological survey of India, New Delhi.
Whosoever unlawfully undertakes any mining operation or construction shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with both.
………Archeological survey of India (Chandigarh)
This blue warning board is written at the “SARAI AMANAT KHAN” MONUMENT
PRESENT STATE OF THE MONUMENT
However it was seen by this writer that the adjoining areas are being used as residences with new constructions. This was evident from the fact that while the monument and its adjoining areas are constructed with “NANAKSHAHI BRICKS” the new construction uses ordinary thick modern bricks . many of the adjoining portions are also being used as animal sheds and shelters.
Also the restoration work undertaken hardly gels with the structure’s construction . on many occasions movie production houses use the sarai in a historical backdrop . While the rooms in the arches are portrayed as jails without due permission from the ASI , they only connive with the local guardian of the monument and use the premises for photo shots . In the process many of the monument’s structures are misued by using nails and others articles to launch lights and other paraphernalia used for filming .
The beautiful ‘SARAI’ is situated in village Amanat Khan located 35 Kms South-East of Amritsar on Tarn Taran-Attari road.
The Gateways and Sarai was built by ‘AMANAT KHAN’, the Mughal noble and calligrapher of the magnificent Taj Mahal.
The warning reads on the Protected Monument reads:
“This monument has been declared to be of National Importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological sites and remains Act 1958 (24 of 1958). Whoever destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces, imperils or misuses. This monument shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 3 months or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both”.
THE SARAI WAS BUILT ON A SERENE PORTION OF LAND
It comprises of small cells around a big quadrangle with two imposing Gateways known as LAHOURI DARWAZA –which is white inlaid with fine glazed tile and Persian calligraphy and on the opposite side is the DELHI DARWAZA of red sandstone of RAJASTHAN and file filigree work can be seen in the upper balcony . Both DARWAZAS are placed in the center of eastern and western wings.
A mosque, well and open space for horses and bullocks etc. were provided within the quadrangle.
It has a “prayer Chamber” and is entered through arched opening. The roof is spectacularly made with Nanakshahi bricks in a grand circular rising upto the dome
The spandrels of the arches are decorated with fine glazed tile work. The gateways, both similar in design, consist of two chambered central passage with rooms.
The façade has two arched recesses, placed on either side of the central opening above which are Projecting balconies, executed in triviate style.
The remaining portions are being decorated with arched recesses in low relief to the outer corners are added two octagonal towers crowned with Cupolas. The edges of the arches, the spandrels and two small panels are decorated with glazed tile-work. The colored designs show floral scrolls and GULDASTAS placed in between foliage. (Notification No. PN 19571 Dated 25.06.1928).