ASI unearths hidden underground chamber in Red Fort

A hidden underground chamber has been recently uncovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) personnel in Red Fort. The ASI personnel stumbled upon this chamber when they were in the process of cleaning the wall at Lahori Gate, which leads to the 17th century Red Fort.

Referring to this development, the ASI officials said they were not aware of its existence until recently and that the chamber was buried under a pile of mud. The ASI after completing the cleaning process has once again restored the chamber to its original size and shape.

An ASI official associated with the restoration work said, “It was probably used to keep ammunition as it was a common practice at that time (Mughal or British period) to place ammo under soil to protect it from hot weather as the soil works as an insulator. However, no ammunition was found in the cell. The chamber was just full of mud.”

This is not the first time that such a chamber has been uncovered. In the past also, the ASI discovered live cartridges and explosives on the premises of Red Fort. This incident took place when the ASI personnel were cleaning a well inside the fort in 2017. Also, in 2004, when the ASI was in the process of restoring the fort, ammunition was found in a disused stepwell.

Referring to this development, a retired police officer, who was part of PM’s security unit in Delhi Police, said, “At Red Fort, we check every room for possible threats before Independence Day celebrations. Every corner is sanitised. We have never heard of a century-old hidden underground tunnel ever on the rampart there. If there were any explosives in the rampart, the ground sensor and radar would have detected it.”

The ASI officials are not yet able to determine the exact period when the chamber was constructed, but stated that it might have been constructed after the British gained access of the Red Fort following the end of Mughal rule.

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