Badi Baoli at Qutb Shahi tombs restored to full glory

The 400-year-old step well collects 10 lakh litres of water this rainy season

July 11, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:44 am IST - HYDERABAD:

HERITAGE REGAINED:Work is almost complete at the Badi Baoli (step well), with the western wall, which had collapsed in 2013, also fully restored now.-Photo: K.V.S. GIRI

HERITAGE REGAINED:Work is almost complete at the Badi Baoli (step well), with the western wall, which had collapsed in 2013, also fully restored now.-Photo: K.V.S. GIRI

Among all the structures on the premises of the Qutb Shahi tombs, one of the first to come up near the entrance is the Badi Baoli (step well), built more than 400 years ago by Sultan Qutb-ul-Mulk, the first ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty.

The huge quadrangle edifice, which looks like anything but a well, has been brought back to life about three years ago after a part of it had collapsed due to heavy rains.

And now, it is the same monsoon that is making the Badi Baoli do what it was meant to do: to collect water for the purpose of irrigation or gardening on the premises.

“We have collected one lakh litres of water after it had started raining this year,” said Ratish Nanda, CEO of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which is currently restoring the Qutb Shahi Tombs.

In 2013, the western wall of the Badi Baoli had collapsed due to heavy rains, and details of the construction remained only on a small portion of the structure. A visit to the old step well now will perhaps bring a smile on the face of any heritage lover. The details have been restored, and the cement on parts of the edifice has also been taken off.

The restoration was also done with the help of archival images from the 1860s, when certain changes were made to the structure during the Asaf Jahi era.

“The work is going to finish in a few days, as the lime-plaster is being applied,” mentioned Mr. Nanda.

Collecting Water a part of the restoration plan:

One of the advantages of restoring the Badi Baoli is that the AKTC is utilising the water collected for irrigation and restoration work as well, effectively having to rely lesser on water tankers.

“We have created catchment areas for all the six baolis on the premises. Wherever there is a step-well, we built channels to divert rain water directly into it, instead of allowing it to get logged or sucked underground,” explained Mr. Nanda.

Apart from the Badi Baoli, the AKTC has also restored the Hamam (bath) Baoli and the Jamshed Baoli.

The other three step-wells in the Qutb Shahi Tombs premises are located in the Eidgah and the Deccan park.

They will also be restored at a later stage of the restoration, which is currently in its first phase. Under it, about 30 of the 70-plus heritage structures will be restored by the end of 2017.

The historic necropolis is being restored by the AKTC in partnership with the Department of Archaeology. The project is also being funded by the Dorabji Tata Trust.

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