A transformation that’s hard to believe

A must-see monument: The tomb of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, restored to its past glory.

A must-see monument: The tomb of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, restored to its past glory.  


Qutb Shahi tombs wear a new look after restoration

A wildly unbelievable transformation greets visitors who manage to get a sneak peek of the Qutb Shahi tombs complex near Golconda. On World Heritage Day celebrated on April 18, citizens can pay a sum as entry fee and see the change that is brought about, thanks to the five-year effort mounted by the Department of Archaeology and Museums and Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

The centuries-old mausoleums, which had suffered due to indifferent upkeep and unscientific slap-dash maintenance, is a changed place now. The tombs may not gleam, but they have been restored to a state where they don’t leak nor appear to be falling apart.

The most radical restoration has been with the tomb of Sultan Quli Qutb ul Mulk, as the conservation team discovered that the tomb was built within a walled enclosure. “Nobody believed us when we discovered that the first king’s tomb was inside a walled enclosure. People always said that the concept of walled garden was brought to India by Mughals. But when we did the excavation with clues from archival images, we discovered enough evidences to demolish the old notions. The symmetry was disturbed by later tombs, but the evidence was unmistakable. We restored it to the state it was built,” said Ratish Nanda of AKTC.

Though the April 18 event is to mark the end of first phase of restoration, it forms the most extensive one which included some emergency restoration as well. Among the toughest challenges was the sudden collapse of a portion of western wall of Badi Baoli (big well) in the monsoon of 2013 which the team restored to a state that it became a source of water for the whole year.

The change can be noticed from the neatly-manicured lawns to the alignments. Earlier, due to ill-defined paths and disappearance of old pathways, it looked like a village mud path.

Now, there is a complete transformation with a natural navigation in place, thanks to extensive landscaping work. Photographs clicked from the air show the old symmetry with different levels and stages.

“We are working towards creating a great experience for visitors. We are planning an interpretation centre that will put the area in context. Also, the documentation that we are creating will be a guide to future restoration and conservation efforts elsewhere,” said N.R. Visalatchi, Director of Department of Archaeology and Museums.

Among the challenges faced during the course of restoration was the opposition from local lumpen elements. At one point of time, a few men brought in a dead body and created ruckus demanding that they would bury it near one of the masjids. Even the police machinery was of no help. But now, all that is in the past.

Come April 18, Hyderabad will have a heritage gem that will be worth the time and money.

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Printable version | Nov 22, 2019 1:45:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/a-transformation-thats-hard-to-believe/article23543390.ece

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