Architecture · Culture · Heritage · People

Heritage Walk

The picture is taken from the heritage walk at Qutb Shahi Tombs organised by Spic Macay as a part of Virasat 2010, and conducted by Prof Subodh Sanjay (UoH). For those interested there is a concert by Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia later in the evening at 5:30 pm at the DST University of Hyderabad.

It was my first time at a Heritage Walk though I had been meaning to attend the one at Charminar to Chowmahalla for a long time. I went there assuming it would be mostly about the history and architecture of the monuments and their rulers. To my surprise this was the last session in the whole talk while most of the time was spent discovering some of the hidden engineering marvels in the place. An eye opener of sorts, never knew there was so much to be known even though I had been to the place close to a dozen times.

Generally tombs are meant to replicate paradise. They should be grand and with a lot of greenery and birds ..For this to be achieved, water needs are to be managed. An ingenuous water supply system made of earthen/stone pipes ensured that tanks in the Golconda Fort had continuous supply. Water from the Durgam Cheruvu, some 5 km away, was transmitted through Toli Chowki -Shaikpet in an open channel which passed through the Qutb Shahi tombs to the Golconda Fort. This water was stored in a step well which is at the far end in the Qutb Shahi tombs complex, drawn out with the help of Persian Wheels whenever required.

The area of the Qutb Shahi tombs is at a gradient. During rains this allowed the water to flow in the direction of the gradient and water plants and the fountains. At the other end of the garden a tank was present for the run off water to be stored and drawn out with the help of Persian Wheels and helps maintain other areas of the compound.

There is a Hamam or the bathing area. There is provision for cold hot as well as steam bath and every detail within this building and is a testimony to the advanced hydrological as well as thermodynamic engineering skills of the builders present during the Qutb Shahi era and how they came up with very practical ideas to achieve this. The Hamam is said to be present as a mortuary bath but this can be debated as one wouldn’t have a provision for a steam bath if such were the case.

There was a lot more discussed, some of which I do not remember and all of which I cannot do justice to by writing here. I do hope these kind of Heritage Walks occur more frequently so that people are aware of our wonderful heritage and also understand the need for preserving it.

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