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If All Goes Well, Allahabad University’s ‘Big Ben’ Could Tick Again
PRAYAGRAJ || Modelled on London’s Big Ben, the clock tower at Allahabad University in Sangam City could start ticking once again if all goes well. Painted in red and yellow hues, the Allahabad University is once again working on bringing back the iconic clock to life to make people abreast of its unique history and heritage appeal.
If the University has been known for eminent personalities and different feats achieved over years, the clock has helped many a person stay punctual.
Closed since 5 September 1999 now if all goes well, the clock will tick soon. Considered a crowning jewel of the university's Senate Hall, University administration has prepared a budget proposal of ₹ 1 crore. The task for repairing of the watch has been assigned to Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).
Installed in the dome of the Senate Hall at a height of 50 feet in 1912 by England's 'JG Bachelor Sun and Company' its minute needle is 6 feet 3 inches long and the hour needle is 5 feet long. The iron girder which holds a five-hour clock is placed in a wooden box made in England. Made of brass, the watch is valued at an estimated Rs 50 lakh.
Professor Heramb Chaturvedi of the Department of Medieval and Modern History has been quoted saying that the clock had the unique ability to keep informing people of time every 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes.
Initially there were hiccups in its functioning in 1972 when it was shut down and later redone for four years and then stopped. An old artisan of Katra tried to rework the clock for eight thousand rupees. But the clock failed to tick beyond a point.
The clock takes inspiration from Big Ben situated at the north end of London's Westminster Palace. It is the largest four-faced clock in the world and the third largest independently located clock tower. The watch and dial were designed by Augustus Pugin. The celebration of the 150th anniversary of this World Heritage Watch was celebrated in London in May 2009.
One of the oldest universities of India, the Allahabad University has also been given the status of 'Oxford of the East'. It was founded on 23 September 1887 inspired by 'Alfred Lear'. It is the fourth oldest university in the country after Calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay (Mumbai) and Madras University established in the era of British India.