Since I wrote about Nila Gumbad and the dispute between the Railways and ASI in my previous blog post, I thought I'd go visit Nila Gumbad once again to see just what the situation was there, how close the railways line was to the monument etc. I've visited Nila Gumbad a few times before, but had always just seen it from the west - from the side of Humayun's Tomb.
The image below shows Nila Gumbad and the area around it, taken from close to the eastern pavilion that lies along the outer wall of Humayun's Tomb. The road that the ASI wants to reroute around Nila Gumbad currently passes between the monument and Humayun's Tomb. It's also very probable that in constructing the road, the arched wall connecting Nila Gumbad with Humayun's Tomb was broken, which the ASI probably wants to restore as well.
Nila Gumbad from Humayun's Tomb. The railway line is visible behind the gumbad, and the road that the ASI wants to reroute lies in front of the gumbad
On this visit I went around to the east of the monument, on the side of the railway line, and was quite shocked to see that the Nizamuddin railway station starts right next to the monument! So it's not just that the railway line passes very close to Nila Gumbad, but the railway station also begins right there. An approximately 5 meter wide area has been left around the monument, and then the railway property beings. The station and railway lines lie to the east of the monument, and there is some kind of railway storage area to the south of it. The panoramic shot below is taken from north of the monument, and shows the proximity of the station, railway line and monument.
Panoramic view showing the railway station and gumbad . Click to enlarge
As can be seen from the panoramic shot, a dirt path leads from in front (north) of the monument, which leads to a spot that is used as an informal crossing across the railway lines to the other side, i.e. towards Serai Kale Khan. I saw quite a few people using this path to cross the railway lines (there is no designated crossing on this side of the railways station). There is of course the issue of security vis-a-vis the railway station, since anyone can easily walk from here onto the platform.
But the closeness of the station really makes me see the railways point of view. There is hardly any space to construct a road around the monument on this side, and any changes to the railways station and storage area will require at least a bit of a re-think and re-design, though if they put their heads to it I'm sure they can get to a workaround (pun intended).
The board indicating the beginning of Nizamuddin railway station is clearly visible from the gumbad platform
A couple of shots of Nila Gumbad - showing the blue tile-work that give the monument it's name and make it unique