Hyderabad

Heritage enthusiasts deplore ramp works at Moula Ali hill

Workers drill and chisel the Maula Ali hillock to build a ramp.   | Photo Credit: Arrangement

The rat-rat-rat of pneumatic drill breaks the calm of the day halfway up the Maula Ali hillock. The smooth rock is now pock-marked with holes. Blocks of granite are tossed to one side as workers insert chisels to crack the rock into pieces to build a ₹25-crore ramp that will transform the small spiritual shrine. A grey haze of granite dust hangs in the air.

“We are restoring the naqqar khana (drum house), arches and other small structures on top of the Maula Ali hill. Once the ramp is completed, we will take up the work of the half-dome that will protect the shrine and will be visible from across the city,” says Syed Nazeer Hasan Abedi of Al Kausar Trust, which is restoring the heritage spiritual site.

“Once the ramp is built, the view of the two chattris will be blocked. It will take away some of the aura of the place. I had seen the markings earlier but this is not what I had expected. They are building a two-lane ramp and a parking space for 50 cars near the tower,” says Sibghat Khan, an architecture student, who chanced upon the destruction while on a visit to the site and raised an alarm.

In the first phase, the ramp ended on the right side of the first landing. The current 850-metre ramp being built in the second phase takes it up the hillock and lands behind the shrine where a massive parking lot is being readied.

Maula Ali is a medieval religious site built during the Qutb Shahi era after Ibrahim Qutb Shah’s aide had a dream. Over successive years, especially during the early part of Asaf Jahi rule, the shrine gained in importance as rulers patronised the spiritual spot. The Urs of Hazrat Ali turns the hill and its surrounding areas into a fairground with hundreds of thousands of visitors and pilgrims thronging the site. During Muharram, thousands of mourners reach the site to commemorate the battle of Karbala.

“What is the need for a ramp? When the Nizams and his noblemen could climb the hill to pray, why can’t people do the same now? This will take away the charm of the place,” says Anuradha Reddy of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage.

The Maula Ali hillock has seen slow destruction right from the time when a communication tower was built by the police department in 2009 right beside the small ashoorkhana.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 2:38:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/heritage-enthusiasts-deplore-ramp-works-at-moula-ali-hill/article34314084.ece

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