Hyderabad’s bowlis in revival mode

The stepwell in Bapughat that is being restored.  

Gachibowli, Rethibowli, Doodhbowli, Putlibowli, Gangabowli, Haribowli, Hathibowli, Enginebowli… the names remain while the bowlis, meaning wells, have mostly disappeared in the city. But a new consciousness towards heritage and water is changing the way citizens see the age old step-wells in the city.

A few days back, Principal Secretary MA&UD Arvind Kumar tweeted a photograph of a private stepwell cleaned up with the help of the department in Gudimalkapur area. “Bhagwandas Baoli is cleaned by @HMDA_Gov. We will be lighting it up one of these days to enable photography by heritage/baoli lovers (will keep informed). Requesting citizens in the neighbourhood to ensure cleanliness and be a watchdog for anyone throwing garbage,” tweeted the urban development czar. “Hyderabad was dotted with bowlis but they were filled up before my time. Putlibowli got its name as there was a marble statue near it and people chose the name. Doodhbowli got its name as milkmen from outskirts would reach the well to sell their milk near Fateh Darwaza in the Old City. It is time we save whatever heritage we can save,” says Oudesh Rani Bawa who grew up in the Gowlipura area.

The stepwell near the maqbara of Mah Laqa Bai Chanda and a stepwell in Bapughat that is being restored. Photos: Serish Nanisetti

The stepwell near the maqbara of Mah Laqa Bai Chanda and a stepwell in Bapughat that is being restored. Photos: Serish Nanisetti  

At the foothills of Maula Ali Ashoorkhana, two step-wells inside the Mah Laqa Bai Chanda’s maqbara are still in use after they were restored nearly 10 years back. In the step well of Balaji Temple in Pahadi Shareef a new addition to age-old temple is the idol of Lord Krishna. The massive step well inside the Sitarambagh Temple in the eponymous area has become a tourist attraction besides fulfilling its role of supplying water to the temple. The step well attached to the Amapalli Sri Rama Temple in Ammapalli with its covered corridors on its side has been a preferred spot for film shootings over the past few years.

One of the exciting discoveries has been a stepwell inside the Bapughat premises. The restoration of the step well has been going on apace. As the city marks World Water Day it is appropriate that its legacy of water heritage going back centuries is being protected and restored in a small way.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 6:14:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/hyderabads-bowlis-in-revival-mode/article34134810.ece

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