Three days after a theft was reported at the Shamsheer Kotha in Golconda, the Department of Archaeology and Museums is not sure what exactly is lost. It was only on Monday that the department started verifying and counting the articles in the Shamsheer Kotha, the armoury of Qutb Shahi kings.

As the name suggests, Shamsheer Kotha was the place where the Golconda rulers kept their swords, guns, muskets, bows and arrows besides chest plates and other weaponry. Growth of wild grass and trees within the Shamsheer Kotha premises is hampering the task of stock taking, it is said. Apparently visits from departmental staff have been few and far between.

Situated on the main road that passes through Fateh Darwaza, this ancient structure has four rooms and a small mosque on the south western side. Thousands of small iron balls measuring 2 cm to 25 cm, which were used for firing canons, were packed and kept in gunny bags here. Now they have got strewn all over as some of the sacks have got torn, it is said. “We have an old record and are trying to cross check. Counting of the articles will be completed by tomorrow,” said G.V. Ramakrishna Rao, incharge director, Archaeology and Museums. The department is expected to lodge a formal complaint with the police on Tuesday since the latter insisted on the details of the articles lost. Officials are not certain since how long the armoury is being pilfered. “A departmental enquiry will be initiated into the whole thing,” Mr. Rao said. Strangely, officials try to downplay the incident saying what was kept in the Shamsheer Kotha was not of ‘antique value’. Therefore, it is not thrown open to visitors, they point out. They suspect some burglar had scaled into the premises to get hold of the iron balls for what they were worth. As such the department has mounted a vigil at the scrap shops in the area.

However, historians feel the contents of the Shamsheer Kotha are antique in nature since they belonged to the Qutb Shahi period. In fact Shamsheer Kotha and the adjacent Khazana Building Museum and the Ashrafi mosque were built during the reign of the third Golconda king, Ibrahim Qutb Shah. A declared monument, the arch door of Shamsheer Kotha has intricate floral designs carved in wood. “All three were part of Mohammadnagar founded by Sultan Quli Qutb Shah,” says M.A. Qayum, noted historian.

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