JAIPUR: The city's historic landmark Hawa Mahal has turned a shade lighter in some corners after enthusiastic civic authorities used water pressure hoses to clean the 18th century monument ahead of Parvasi Bhartiya Divas.
Built of red and pink sandstone in 1799, the ‘Palace of Breeze’ was washed with water thrown by fire tenders but it resulted in fading of its traditional colour on several lattices, according to historians and heritage lovers.
The exercise, which was undertaken on Tuesday night, left some colourless patches in some portions of the monument, according to historian and heritage lover Jitendra Singh.
The city is being decked up for the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas which is beginning tomorrow.
Another historian Raghvendra Singh said, "The monument's colour has faded in some parts and the method adopted by the authorities to clean it was wrong".
However, officials of the Archaeology department said the cleaning exercise has removed dirt from the monument but it has not lost its colour.
"Pollution and bird droppings had dirtied the monument. An effort had been made in the past to clean it with dry cloth and thereafter it was cleaned with water," Mr Zaffurullah Khan, the Circle Superintendent, Archaeology and Museum department, said.
"After cleaning it with water, neither has there been weakening of the plaster and nor has the khamir colour become dull. The water has cleaned the bird droppings and the dirt," he said.
The State Tourism Minister, Ms Bina Kak said, "The water pressure was low and there is no damage to the monument because of the pressure of water".
Maintaining that the historic structure should have been cleaned in such a way that its beauty was preserved, Raghvendra Singh cited the example of a 'haveli' in Jaisalmer which had lost its original colour after being cleaned in a similar manner.
Dwelling into the Hawa Mahal's history, Jitendra Singh said the structure was coloured pink for the first time in 1876 when Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh was the ruler of Jaipur. The five-storey structure was built with an aim to enable female members of the royal family to watch royal processions, passing through the city, without being seen by outsiders.
It is situated inside the walled city area and is an attraction for tourists.
The city is, meanwhile, preparing for the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas which is beginning tomorrow.
Thousands of beautiful flowers have been planted around major dividers of roads and routes from where hundreds of guests will pass during the three-day event.
Walls and flyovers have been decked up with traditional paintings and the main venue of the function, Birla Auditorium, has also been gave a facelift.