GUJRAT: A centuries-old baoli in Kharian is being restored by the archaeological department (steppedwell).
On the request of civic society, the Punjab government approved a project to rehabilitate the site, for which Rs10 million was made aside in the current fiscal year.
The site is being excavated, with at least 25 feet drilled so far, with experts predicting the well depth to be between 70 and 80 feet.
Baoli is a Persian name for a well with stairs leading down to the bottom where water can be retrieved. Such wells were built centuries ago along the main routes of army convoys and travelers riding elephants, horses, and other animals. It used to be a source of drinking water when there were no techniques to pump it up to the surface.
During the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the steps of the baoli in Kharian were carved out of stone. During the summer season, the subsurface water table was divided into multiple chambers to keep the water cold.
According to Muhammad Imran, an assistant director at the archaeological department, manual excavation is being done to prevent causing any damage to the site’s original construction.
The entrance to the baoli had been restored to its former configuration after one arch had been opened. The exact number of arches would be known after the excavation, and a steel railing would be installed to protect the site from potential damage.
After the district administration vacated it last year, a large number of people encroached on various portions of the two-Kanal and 14-marla property, which had been neglected for a long time.
Later, civil society organizations petitioned the Punjab government to restore the area’s former tourist status.