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Wonder clock to be on show soon

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Visual delight: The chime clock at Chowmahalla Palace being readied for public display .
Visual delight: The chime clock at Chowmahalla Palace being readied for public display .

J.S. Ifthekhar

Move over SJM musical clock; equally elegant chime clock at Chowmahalla

Hyderabad: Salarjung Museum watch out. The grand musical clock here has competition. The challenge is from an equally wonderful and elegant chime clock which boasts of a variety of musical bells and functions. This mechanical marvel is not a new find. It has been lying under layers of dust and neglect at the picturesque Chowmahalla palace, the living heritage.

Twenty functions

Only recently it has been taken out, repaired and is being readied for public display. This antique clock performs nearly 20 different functions. Like its cousin in the Salarjung Museum it too has a timekeeper emerging from an upper deck and striking the gong as many times as the hour of the day. The similarities end here. The Chowmahalla clock has even more to offer. The chiming clock strikes on the quarter hours too with a different tune playing out every 15 minutes. A king with a ‘hooka’ is ensconced in the front. His head keeps bobbing up and down every second. He is flanked by two soldiers who keep fanning him. A small curtain goes up every hour and a toy band saunters in playing a ‘sarangi’.

Subsidiary dials

A peep into its rear shows the marvellous chiming bells and the figurines attached to a moving lever. Not just this. The clock has subsidiary dials for the day, date and month at the bottom. This huge pendulum clock is full of brass work. There are exquisite carvings of dragons on the sides and top of the mahogany cabinet in which the clock is encased. “It is so heavy that 15 persons have to carry it,” says a palace hand. It will be put up for public display in the Tahniyat Mahal from November 1.

This UK-made clock dated 1800 was acquired by the sixth Nizam Mahboob Ali Pasha. When the palace authorities wanted to display it, they found the clock had stopped ticking long ago. The search for a repairer began. Luckily one Manik Rao, who runs a clock shop in Abids, came forward to repair it. And he has done a good job in restoring the clock, said Palace Director Kishan Rao.


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