Sluggish but marvellous work

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Landmark: The Qutb Shahi Jamia Mosque at Khairtabad which is being given a facelift. -
Landmark: The Qutb Shahi Jamia Mosque at Khairtabad which is being given a facelift. -

J.S. Ifthekhar

Skilled artisans have been working to restore the glory of the Khairatabad mosque

Hyderabad: The work progresses at a sluggish pace. For months workers are seen merely shaping up the minaret. Frustrating indeed, but a closer look will show that the time is well spent. The intricate decorative pattern on the minaret is back – as if it had not been disturbed in the first place. Inch by inch the slender minaret is regaining its pristine glory.

Repair and renovation work of the Khairatabad mosque, a protected monument, is going on for the last one year. And it is nowhere near completion. The work is painstaking and it can’t be hurried, says J. Kedereshwari, director, Archaeology and Museums.

Situated in Khairatabad, the grand mosque around which the locality has grown, is a finest piece of Qutb Shahi architecture. However, age and negligence has chipped away its beauty. The Archaeology department has stepped in after the mosque roof developed a leak and the lime plaster and stucco work started falling. Vegetal growth has also caused fissures in the minarets especially in the rear side.

The mosque, which has a three arched opening in front, was built by Khairat-un-Nisa Begum, daughter of Mohd Qutb Shah, the sixth king in the line of Qutb Shahi dynasty. She is believed to have constructed the mosque for her tutor, Akhund Mulla Abdul Malik.

The department has engaged skilled labours from the old city to control and repair the damage. Care has been taken to use only indigenous material – lime, sand, jute, molasses, alovera.

The curing is done using molasses liquid soaked with ‘karakai’, a gumming substance. For a change water has not been used at all. The leaky roof has been plugged and the broken stucco work of a minaret completed. Still two more minarets remain to be attended.

Once they are restored, it is proposed to apply mother of pearl powder of sea shells to lend sheen to the minarets. The Archaeology department is spending Rs. 25 lakh on repair of the mosque.

However, authorities are upset by the construction of a portico by the mosque committee affecting the front elevation.



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