Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Conservation work at Delhi’s Zafar Mahal to begin


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Zafar Mahal

Mains level: Not Much

zafar mahal

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is set to initiate conservation works at Zafar Mahal in south Delhi’s Mehrauli.

Zafar Mahal

  • Zafar Mahal, located in Mehrauli village, South Delhi, India, is considered the last monumental structure built during the fading years of the Mughal era.
  • The palace was built in the 18th and 19th centuries, with a forlorn history due to the deportation of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II, by the British.
  • The monument is now in a neglected and ruined state and locals often play cricket and gamble inside the protected monument.


  • The Mughal dynasty ended after 332 years when the last Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II (1837–1857) was deported to Rangoon, Burma, now Myanmar from the imperial city of Delhi.
  • The palace had graves in the precincts of Zafar Mahal built within a marble screen enclosure by Jahandar Shah for his father Bahadur Shah I and others who followed, and is a minor reflection of the history of the place.
  • Bahadur Shah Zafar II, who wished to be buried in the precincts of the palace, was buried in Rangoon.
  • The palace used to be visited by Bahadur Shah Zafar II for hunting during the monsoon season, and he was honoured here during the Phool Walon Ki Sair festival held in February/March.

Key Structures

  • Zafar Mahal consists of the Mahal or the palace, built in the 18th century, and the entrance gate, reconstructed in the 19th century.
  • The palace is a three-storied structure in red sandstone embellished with marble, and the gate is imposing with an 11.75 feet opening at the entrance.
  • A masjid called the Moti Masjid, built by Bahadur Shah I, was also located within the palace precincts.
  • The palace now sits in a dilapidated condition and its restoration is limited by the inadequate documents to deduce the original construction details.

Demolished or Illegally Occupied Structures

  • Zafar Mahal used to be a huge palace consisting of many other structures that are no longer present or occupied by local residents.
  • These structures include the Diwan-e-Khaas of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the house of Mirza Babur, the Baoli of Aurangzeb, the house of Mirza Nili, the Thana of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the house of Mirza Salim, and the Khwas Pura.


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