Hyderabad

The vanishing walls of Hyderabad

A part of the wall that surrounded the Hyderabad lies in a state of neglect at Nashemannagar in old city. It is referred to as Fasil.   | Photo Credit: Arrangement

Centuries that strolled past took away most of the grand fortification that once threw a protective ring around Hyderabad, the capital of Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rulers. And few vestiges of the bulwark that lay strewn in parts of the old city remain steeped in apathy, waiting to vanish with time.

The once walled city of Hyderabad comprising most of the present old city area had lost almost all of its wall length and most of its doors and windows. With none to care for its lost grandeur and historical and heritage values, the fortification could be seen in small patches at places such as Nashemannagar, Fateh Darwaza, Aliabad and Lal Darwaza.

According to historical accounts, the fortification walls with a circumference of around six miles came interspersed with 13 gates (darwaza) and 13 windows (khidki). The defensive walls were said to have stood tall at about 18 feet height with a spread of about 8 feet width.

“It was designed such that horse mounted soldiers could patrol the peripheries on pathways atop the walls. Made of stones and masonry of that period, it was built strong,” says M.A. Qayyum, former deputy director of the State Archaeology and Museums department.

Historical accounts suggest the wall construction having begun during the Qutb Shahi rule and completed in the Asaf Jahi period with the movement of citizens streamlined for day time and the gates closed at night.

All but two ‘darwazas’ at Dabeerpura and Puranapul still stand majestically while most of the ‘khidkis’ have been lost due to apathy, both from citizens and administration, and to accommodate the needs of a burgeoning city.

The decline of the ramparts is said to have started in the early 1900 followed by damages caused by the floods of the year 1908. “Large part of the walls were said to have been affected during the floods and crumbled,” says Mr. Qayyum. Later, in the 1950s, the then city municipality dismantled some more to facilitate the movement of buses. What is left of the fortification is in a bad state and the disrespect shown to the remnants could be seen from the overflowing garbage alongside it at places like Nashemannagar. “If not cared now, even the last proofs of the ramparts will be lost and the once-walled city gets nudged into just being a legend,” says Mr. Qayyum.

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 7:31:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/the-vanishing-walls-of-hyderabad/article7597515.ece

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