Renovation of University Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid Project - At a glance
Ar. M. Farhan Fazli
Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture
Convener, Heritage Cell &
Incharge of Work, Jama Masjid Project
Jama Masjid, Aligarh Muslim University is one of the oldest structures established in the campus. The construction of mosque was started in 1879 by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (the founder of the University) and was declared open on 1 February 1915. The mosque is almost prototype of the elegant Jama Masjid of Shahjahanabad, Delhi. The only difference being in scale and magnitude.
Jama Masjid is having three multifoilated domes resting on the drum. In addition, it has two lofty minarets, longitudinally stripped with red sandstone and Dhaulpur stone. The white marble strip, on which the calligraphic inscription from Holy Quran is engraved, enhances the central Iwan. The interior is highly ornamented with white Araish plaster having Calligraphic inscriptions from the Holy Quran and golden floral patterns.
The carved pillars, ingraved minarets, single piece stone screens (jalis), stone inlay, multicolored glass doors, sarasenic parapet walls, the calligraphic inscriptions, and a series of arches ranging from multi foil, trifoil, four centered, semicircular, jack arch and pointed arch are enhancing the beauty of this architectural marvel of nineteenth century in the campus.
There are various problems associated with this marvel piece of architecture. The age related decay of the building is one of the crucial factors since this building was built more than hundred years ago. With the passage of time it requires restoration and conservation to retain it in its original form.
Fortunately, the structure of Jama Masjid is still intact though more than hundred years have been elapsed since its construction. This magnificent piece of architecture is getting deteriorated due to lack of expert management and maintenance as well as negligence and unawareness.
Consequently, there is improper placement of new services, addition of new toilet block, filling up of arcaded openings, the plant and vegetation growth, choking of spouts and thereby water logging on the roof causing dampness from the top, algal growth, peeling plaster. Rising dampness on exposed brick external walls and placement of cement mortar on these lime pointed walls to stop dampness results in the rise of dampness level above the cement plaster. On the internal walls of the mosque, the Araish plaster was replaced by cement plaster upto 4 feet height during previous efforts probably to control rising dampness at the ground level which enhanced the scaling up of dampness above the cement plaster causing further damage of Araish work. The ceilings were repainted by using enamel colors which has lost the original beauty of the ceiling. The floral pattern was repainted by golden colour which turned black during course of time.
About the Project:
The conservation of Jama Masjid of
AMU Jama Masjid Conservation Committee:
1. Mr. Rashid Ghani Khan (Convener)
2. Mr. Javaid Said
4. Prof. M.M. Sufyan Beg
5. Ar. M. Farhan Fazli
"Working Committee" for the Renovation Work of AMU Jama Masjid:
Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah, Vice-Chancellor,
2. Prof. S.M. Jawed Akhtar, Officiating Finance Officer
3. Prof. M.M. Sufyan Beg, Principal, Z.H. College of Engg. & Tech.
4. Prof. Mohammed Arif, Chairman, Department of Civil Engineering, ZHCET
5. Prof. Anwar Khursheed, University Engineer (Building Department)
7. Prof. Parvaiz Talib, OSD, New Management Complex
8. Mr. Mohammad Farhan Fazli, Assistant Professor, D/o Architecture, ZHCET and Convener of Heritage Cell (In-Charge of Work)
9. Mr. Mohd Khalid Hasan, Assistant Professor, D/o Archtecture, ZHCET
10. Dr. Orus Ilyas, Assistant Professor, D/o Wildlife Sciences
Mr. Rashid Ghani Khan, Samanzar, Lal Diggi,
(As a Representative on behalf of donors)
1. Mr. Arvind Kumar (Conservation Scientist)
3. Ar. Tanzeel Ahmad (Trainee Architect)
Beside these conservation professionals, a team of skilled and semi-skilled workers like conservation assistants, craftsmen (stone carvers, inlay artists, calligraphers etc), painters, carpenters, electricians, masons (specialized in traditional works) have been engaged on the project.
a) Detailed documentation and research for the commencement of conservation work to ensure the quality of restoration in Jama Masjid, AMU.
b) Architectural elements and structural systems are to be retained and restored in their original form as much as possible.
c) In case of severe damage, if retention is not possible then such elements have to be repaired or replaced retaining the features of that element.
d) Total reconstruction in Jama Masjid is against the international conservation practices accepted worldwide, therefore selective replacement should be done if absolutely necessary.
e) Original structure is to be retained by strengthening and repairing the structural elements while doing the conservation of Jama Masjid.
f) Additions and alterations in the mosque or strengthening of elements is to be done with similar material, style and construction system.
g) Strengthening of heritage cell for developing an expert team to monitor every stage of conservation work and to provide technical inputs for the judicial completion of the project.
Present Status of Jama Masjid:
The age, weathering and negligence have become the major source of deterioration. Another problem associated with this heritage building was the previous efforts to repair and restore which were threatening the mosque due to the lack of expertise about the conservation of heritage structures. The provision of new services in an inappropriate manner are destroying the aesthetics and beauty of this incredible building. This Heritage mosque is sound in its structural stability apart from few structural cracks which can be easily repaired. Jama Masjid can still withstand for centuries with the help of a regular management and maintenance plan.
1. Detailed Documentation of the building
· Removal of cement plaster at lower level of walls and measures against rising dampness
· Reintegration and revival of floral patterns and calligraphic inscriptions
· Cleaning, consolidation and re-adhesion of the Araish plaster
· Treatment for flaking of paint layer
· Reintegration of lacunae in plaster
· Application of protective coating
· Cleaning of stone elements
· Repair of inlay work of manuscripts written on exterior
· Removal of lime coatings/splashes of cement on stone pillars/carvings
· Repair of Lime plaster with traditional lime plastering method
· Lime pointing of exposed brick walls
· Restoration of original roof drainage system
· Repair and maintenance of roof and its waterproofing.
· Restoration of entrance wooden doors in its original form.
· Restoration of stone inlay in calligraphic inscriptions.
4. Structural Conservation
· Consolidation of structural cracks
· Strengthening of facades
· Consolidation of stone
· Repair and consolidation of minarets
· Re-electrification for illuminating the interior walls and ornamentation.
· Spotlights and floodlights for illuminating the façade of the building.
· Installation of mechanized canopies in the courtyard of Jama Masjid as are installed at Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Madina.
7. Formulation of Annual Maintenance Plan
8. Tentative Estimate of the Project
· Kindly see the report at http://amu.ac.in/pdf/masjid/report.pdf