The winding Narne Road connecting Film Nagar to Tolichowki, once famous for the spectacular view it offered, is now dotted with upscale residential projects

“Yahan se Qutb Shahi tombs sirf teen-chaar kilometre hai. Jaake dekhlo (The Qutb Shahi tombs are just three-four kilometres away; go have a look),” says a banana seller, as we walk towards a clearing, trying to get a better view of the tombs. To get an unhindered view of the tombs, you either have to trespass private property or hoist yourself up the short wall that lines some of the vacant land on Narne Road. There isn’t much vacant land though.

This wasn’t the case even a decade ago. Even if you whizzed past the road, you could take in the sights of a distant Tolichowki and the three domes of Qutb Shahi tombs. Today, there is a ‘Grand View’ board hidden behind foliage, near the Grand View colony. But there’s no real view to behold on your left, as you drive down Narne Road towards Whisper Valley. Oh wait, how many of us remember how this area looked like before Whisper Valley came up?

Historian and author Narendra Luther feels the area has suffered what the rest of Banjara and Jubilee Hills have, as a result of haphazard urban development. “It’s depressing to see the best views being blocked. From where I reside, I could see the Charminar straight ahead, Golconda Fort on the right and Hussainsagar on the left. Now that there’s no curb on the height of buildings in these localities, these hills are a shadow of their glorious past,” he says.

New high-end projects by Akshay builders and Halcyon are in the offing near Nyaya Vihar (the residential colony of members of judiciary is another recent addition to the area). On a hazy, dusty day, if you peered intently, you will notice the tombs amidst the clutter of several other high rises in the horizon.

Frauke Qadar of Society to Save Rocks feels nothing much has come out of deploring the state of affairs in the area. “From above the ridge, the view used to be fantastic,” she says. During one of Rock Walks conducted by Society to Save Rocks, Frauke and her team walked up to the furthest corner of Grand View colony to have a glimpse of the tombs and the Golconda Fort. This route is not easily accessible and involves some help from the residents in the area.

Several small and large rocks have been broken down on the Narne Road to make way for new projects. “Rocks are not only part of our ecosystem but also an integral part of Hyderabad’s history. When we break down one too many rocks, we’re also erasing history,” says Frauke.