Only a small portion of the six-mile circumference wall survives now
It once used to protect people but now cries for protection itself. The remains of a granite built fortification wall constructed around the city some centuries ago to ward of attacks from enemies is on the verge of being erased.
In fact only a small portion of the six-mile circumference wall survives now. One can locate its remains at City College, Aliabad Darwaza, Sultan Shahi, Fateh Darwaza. The biggest stretch exists between Lal Darwaza and Aliabad Darwaza, but in a poor state. It can crumble anytime, conservationists fear.
Not much has been done to protect the fortification wall despite the fact that it occupies an important place in the history of the city. In fact the older part of the city is still known as “walled city”, generally meaning a fortified area.
Death knell in 1908
Originally, the construction of the wall began during the Qutb Shahi period but it was completed during the reign of Asaf Jah I. The wall had 13 gates and windows and the last to be built was the Afzal Darwaza. These gates used to be locked after dusk and opened at dawn. The keys were kept in the custody of a senior administrator, it is said.
In fact the death knell for the wall was sounded during the 1908 floods. A big portion of the wall between Puranapul and Darulshifa suffered considerable damage.
Then in the mid-nineteen century the City Improvement Board saw it as a hindrance for the movement of people and asked them to get involved in dismantling it and for this purpose advertisements were placed in newspapers, recall some old-timers.
“People readily enrolled with the administration and took up the demolition,” informs M. A. Qaiyum, former Deputy Director, Archaeology and Museums.
However, Haroon Khan Sherwani, noted historian, represented the matter to Delhi and ensured that the bulldozing of the gates and fortification wall was stopped. But by then irreparable damage had been done.
Now only Dabeerpura and Puranapul Darwaza are left for one to be transported back into history.