Hyderabad

More structures unearthed under Naya Qila bagh

The Naya Qila garden inside the Golconda Fort where new structures have been discovered by ASI officials.

The Naya Qila garden inside the Golconda Fort where new structures have been discovered by ASI officials.  

Activists against handover of the parcel of land abutting the Naya Qila garden to State

Archaeologists of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have unearthed some more structures dating back to 15th century under the Naya Qila bagh inside the Golconda Fort.

The ASI has been carrying out excavations in the area surrounding the Qutb Shahi garden to find out the extent of the built-structures in the complex.

“As per the original Memorandum of Understanding between the State government and the ASI, only 10 acres were to remain under the control of ASI while the rest was to be handed over to the State government. We have been doing excavations preparatory to the handover,” said Milan Kumar Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist of Hyderabad Circle of ASI.

According to sources, the Chief Secretary has written a letter to the Director-General of ASI asking for the handover of the parcel of land abutting the Naya Qila garden which was under the control of ASI.

“We found a few more structures when we dug trial trenches in 3-4 acres over the past three years. While the MoU condition was to handover all the Naya Qila area, except the 10-acre parcel of the garden, we are recommending keeping control of about 15-acres of land,” informed Mr. Chauley. Currently, about 30 acres of land near the garden is under the control of ASI.

Once the handover happens, the golf course will virtually surround the medieval Naya Qila garden. The extent of the Naya Qila garden has been a subject of dispute. Historians believe that the the natural lake is part of the garden as it helped water the garden. Now, the lake area is part of the golf course with a manicured fairway, tee boxes, water hazard, putting green and other features.

Civic activists are against the handover of the additional land warning that the whole Naya Qila bagh will disappear. “The talab (lake) area had structures older than the Golconda Fort. Some of the chabutras (platforms) are of Kakatiya era. Now, nothing can be found. Earth-movers have been used in a nationally protected site to wipe out evidence. If this handover happens, only a small portion of the garden will be left without the context,” says Lubna Sarwath of Save Our Urban Lakes. The archaeology department has conducted multiple excavations in the Naya Qila area in the early part of the 20th century under Ghulam Yazdani, and in the early part of 21st century, showing the extent of the garden which had shaded walks, fountains, reservoirs, cascading waterfalls and other garden features.

The ASI had inserted Clause 5 in the MoU about the utilisation of space around the Naya Qila garden: “This area shall be demarcated aesthetically and not utilised for the Golf Course.”

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:59:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/more-structures-unearthed-under-naya-qila-bagh/article30332825.ece

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