The 400-year-old historical edifice is in danger.

Four hundred and nineteen years old and still going strong. Yes, we are talking about the Charminar, the most beautiful monument in Hyderabad. And, much to the relief to the citizens of this city, it surely does not look like this structure is going to crumble in the near future.

Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty built the Charminar in 1591, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda, to what is now known as Hyderabad.

The monument gives us a beautiful insight into Islamic architecture.

“When this erstwhile community centre was built, it was surrounded by large gardens. People, horses and elephants moved on the roads around it.

The shops came up later and evening visits to the area became even more interesting,” says Anuradha Reddy, convenor of the Hyderabad Chapter of INTACH.

The Charminar has been a silent witness to the growth of population in the city and also the urbanization around it, which has added many more roads, shops and means of transport and communication. All this without whimpering or complaining.

The fall?

Recently, a chunk of plaster fell off from the south eastern minaret. Every resident of the twin cities seems to be upset about this. M. Vedakumar of the Forum for Better Hyderabad says, “the Charminar has been deteriorating over the years.

These buildings that are built in the centre of the city, are exposed to various forms of air and noise pollution, dust pollution and vehicle emissions.

All this settles on the walls making them dirty and very difficult to clean.

The vibrations caused by vehicles around such monuments shake the superstructure as well as the very foundation that the building is supported by.

Moreover, heavy rain and stagnant water and moisture have lead to fungus on the inner and outer walls."

C. Sreelakshmi, Deputy Superintending Architect, ASI, says, “repair work at the Charminar will commence very soon. Soon after the heavy rain settles, work can be done in full earnest.” Parents, schools and teachers, should take time off and educate the children about the culture and heritage of the place they live in. This will help to inculcate an interest in their young minds and in the future they will take care of our age old history and heritage," says Anuradha Reddy. Vedakumar suggests, “Heritage clubs should be set up in schools and they should take active part in teaching and participating in various activities in the city.” Lets create awareness and protect our heritage to make sure that further deterioration does not take place at an accelerated speed to this and other monuments in the city.