ASI to install lightning conductor over Humayun's tomb

ASI to install lightning conductor over Humayun's tomb

ASI to install lightning conductor over Humayun's tomb

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will install a makeshift lightning conductor over the dome of Humayun's Tomb, after a massive storm struck down its finial, rendering the world heritage "vulnerable".

After Friday's massive thunderstorm, the monument's "crown" carrying the lightning conductor for Tomb's safety, and an "auspicious symbol" were dislodged leaving vulnerable to lightning strikes.

"The damage of the finial is a matter of worry as it carried among other items, a lightning conductor and since there are forecast of more storms, our topmost priority is to save the monument from any lightning strikes. "And, therefore by Monday we will try to install a makeshift lightning conductor on the top of it," Vasant Swarankar, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Delhi Circle told PTI on Sunday.

He said, the absence of finial on top was like a "king without its crown". "Apart from physical safety, it provided an aesthetic beauty to the monument and represented it's auspicious significance," Swarankar said.

The ASI, he said, was working to rebuild the finial, but specified no timeline. "The finial which had a wooden shaft made of Sal has been lost. And, so we are trying to source seasoned wood. The other parts included nine copper utensils with a brass finish over it. Among the nine, two-three parts are damaged.

Swarankar added that the finial also bore Islamic inscription which roughly translates to,"Khuda jo hay jo barkat rakhe, kisi bhi aapda se bachahye (May God always keep it prosperous, protect it from any calamity). And, therefore its absence from the apex of the monument is also an absence of the auspiciousness of it all".

The ASI Delhi chief said, he was "shocked" when he received information about the finial being knocked off as "something of this nature has not happened in the over 150 years of history of ASI".

"We will also try to see if there was any lacuna on ASI's part," he said. The Aga Khan Foundation has recently carried out restoration work at the tomb, dubbed the "dormitory of the Mughals" and part of India's select list of World Heritage Sites.