While it has brought cheer to many, the incessant rain in the last two days is spelling doom for the Badshahi Ashoorkhana, the hoary monument at Patharghatti. Heavy seepage of water through the roof and walls of half-a-dozen structures in the complex pose serious danger to this protected monument.
Interestingly, the Department of Archaeology and Museums has been carrying out repairs here since the last couple of months. But water continues to leak from the roof of the mini Ashoorkhana and Sarai adjacent to it, exposing the quality of work. The lime mortar plastering has come unstuck in some places and the arch pillars look totally soaked in water. Rainwater continues to stagnate on the roof of the mini Ashoorkhana and can prove hazardous to the structure.
Sunday’s downpour has only heightened the threat to this house of Shia mourning built by the founder of Hyderabad, Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, in 1594 – three years after Charminar was built. A place of tourist importance, the Badshahi Ashoorkhana is used for storing ‘Alams’ and sees hectic activity during the month of Muharram.
The Archaeology Department has taken up restoration of two sarais, Niaz Khana, mini Ashoorkhana, the Mujawar’s (caretaker) house and the compound wall at the cost of Rs. 70 lakh. But the repair works are progressing at a snail’s pace. The heritage structure was also repaired at a considerable cost during the biodiversity conference held in 2012. “But with the onset of the monsoon, the structure leaks everywhere. The ornamental elevation of the main Ashoorkhana has also developed cracks,” rues the caretaker’s son, Mir Abbas Ali Moosvi.
Though the wooden rafter roof of the mini Ashoorkhana was repaired early, the lime sebara finishing was not done leading to water stagnation here whenever it rains. Further, the authorities did not bother to plaster the rear wall of this structure resulting in its weakening. One can see a tree protruding at the back.
Authorities are yet to take up repairs to the Niyaz Khana and the compound wall. Beautification and fencing of the chabutra and guardroom at the main entrance also hangs fire. On the pretext of pendency of writ petition, the Department is said to be progressing slowly. However, the High Court has made it clear that this should not come in the way of proceeding with the restoration work, it is said.