Mangaluru, Feb 07, 2020: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to get the metal barricade put around the historic Sulthan Bathery in the city removed. Earlier, the Union Culture Ministry’s National Monument Authority had erected the metal barricade around monument.
ASI Bengaluru Circle’s Superintending Archaeologist Shivkant Bajpai, who visited the monument here on Tuesday, following a report appearing in these columns on December 30, 2019, said that he would write to the authority to get the barricade removed.
“We were not consulted at all by the authority before it carried out the work,” Mr. Bajpai told The Hindu.
Sulthan Bathery, said to have been built on the banks of the Phalguni by Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan in 1784, is one among the two Centrally-protected ancient monuments in Mangaluru; the other being the Mangaladevi Temple. Besides acting as a post to keep watch on those entering the region through the Arabian Sea, the bathery also served as an arms and ammunition depot.
Though ASI intends to get the metal barricade removed, the monument needs protection, Mr. Bajpai said. ASI would design one that suits the monument and the landscape, he said.
Inspecting the monument along with ASI’s Junior Conservation Assistant, Karkala, K. Gokul Praveen, Mr. Bajpai said that the metal barricade did not gel with the structure. The barricade was in place by the time he took over office about four months ago, he said. ASI would design a protection mechanism that syncs with the monument and its surroundings, Mr. Bajpai said.
He said that the bathery was built in such a location that in the event of a fire accident involving ammunition, water from the adjacent river could be used to mitigate it.
Asked whether ASI has any plans to give a facelift to the monument, the officer said that it was properly maintained and there was no need for any facelift. Yet, the district administration may plan to develop its surroundings to attract more visitors, he said.
Conservationists as well as local residents were aghast over the barricade that completely destroyed the beauty of the structure in the background of the Phalguni, they said.
Architect Niren Jain had then felt that the authorities concerned should have worked in collaboration while ensuring protection to the monument. Barricades or enclosures should appropriately be designed in sync with landscape, he had said.