Plan to throw it open for visitors by this September
Hyderabad: No smoke, no fire. The guns have fallen silent. What greets one here is only an eerie calm and a crumbling structure. The place which was home to cannons and muskets may not boom again but it is sure going to witness a flurry of activity.
The bustling Gunfoundry will soon have the hoary monument after which it is named fully restored. Already a major portion of the ruins of the foundry have been refurbished. Crumbling walls and sunken furnaces are back in place thanks to the initiative taken by the Department of Archaeology and Museums.
Situated behind the Lepakshi Handicrafts Emporium, not many are aware of the importance of this foundry where cannons and muskets were manufactured once. French General, Monsieur Raymond, who worked for Mir Nizam Ali Khan, the second Nizam, built several foundries during 1786. But this is the only surviving one now.
Poor maintenance coupled with vagaries of nature have played havoc with this protected monument. Till recently one could see fungus, fissures and cracks all over. The tapered portion of the brick wall had collapsed and the fire places built underground with vaulted roof, had all but disappeared. The area was full of debris from nearby buildings. All this is cleared and walls restored using special bricks. The State Bank of Hyderabad donated Rs. 5 lakh and the Department forked out Rs. 13 lakh for conservation and restoration of the foundry.
The area was excavated to find out the layout plan of the foundry but no tangible evidence was found. “Since it is a residential area we could not dig deeper,” said J. Kedareshwari, Director, Archaeology and Museums.
Granite flooring is provided over the entire 170 sq. metre area. It is also planned to provide greenery, sunshade and install 6 to 8 cannons in the foundry. “By September we plan to throw open the Gunfoundry for visitors,” Dr. Kedareshwari said.
Will there by any entry fee? Yes, very nominal.