Hyderabad

When gravity powered the fountains of Hyderabad

The limestone pipes at Naya Qila in the Golconda Fort that helped create fountains in the garden.

The limestone pipes at Naya Qila in the Golconda Fort that helped create fountains in the garden. | Photo Credit: Serish Nanisetti

Fountains and gardens are nothing new to Hyderabad. Gulzar Houz, Katora Hauz, Langar Houz are still the location markers in the city as are Amin Bagh, Bagh Lingampally and Aam Bagh. Plants in these gardens were watered and the fountains operated all without electricity, as the garden planners used the magic of undulating terrain of Deccan Plateau to chisel out exquisite gardens.

“The 15-feet fountain near the High Court building was functioning. So were the Gulzar Houz and Charminar fountains, and they did it using gravity with the knowledge of hydraulics,” says Sajjad Shahid, a civil engineer and historian.

The spout of the fountain inside the Telangana High Court premises.

The spout of the fountain inside the Telangana High Court premises. | Photo Credit: SERISH NANISETTI

The fountain inside the Telangana High Court complex carved in black granite with water spouting from the trunk of elephants and other mythical creatures is an exquisite example of medieval craftsmanship. The fountains inside the Charminar and Golconda Fort are now connected to the municipal water supply system and electricity is used to create the spray.

A few kilometres away is the Hayatnagar Masjid which was built by Hayat Bakshi Begum. It shows the inner working of fountains and water channels. Just outside the masjid is the Hathi Bowli. “It is believed that elephants were used to draw water to fill the overhead tanks. There are clay pipes that carried the water to the tank in the northeast corner of the masjid. The water would be under sufficient pressure to rise to the ablution tank as well as power the fountain,” informs Mr. Shahid.

These engineering marvels are not limited to the Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi eras. The Bagh-e-Naya Qila inside the Naya Qila of the Golconda Fort incorporated Kakatiya-era water structures including platforms for leisure. Now, these can be spotted as grassy knolls in the lake of Hyderabad Golf Club. On the other side of the lake was the quadripartite (chahar bagh) with a stream running in the middle. Remains of the pipelines that helped create the fountains exist on the left side near the garden pavilion.

The 1914-18 Leonard Munn’s maps of Hyderabad show hundreds of homes having their own courtyards with fountains marked with the legend of F. Most of these have disappeared, with some relics surviving in the ablution tanks.


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Printable version | May 30, 2022 4:23:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/when-gravity-powered-the-fountains-of-hyderabad/article65467410.ece