Architecture · Heritage · Monument

Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower

The text below is an extract from the article appearing on line at

Clock Tower, Mahboob Chowk
The Mahboob Chowk, a historic city square is located at a short distance from the Lad Bazar to the west of Charminar in Hyderabad. In its heydays, it was a hectic commercial community shopping center of the city with shops selling diverse wares from household goods of daily use to arms and ammunition. In its present days, it now is home to traders of poultry, exotic birds, antiques and metal ware.

Dominated by a large mosque and a grand Clock Tower in the middle of a small elevated garden, the elegant tower in an Indo-European synthesis style, was constructed in 1892 by Asman Jah, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad.

The mosque to the west of the Tower was reconstructed by the VI Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan in 1904 adding to the original one built by Khaja Abdullah Khan in 1817. The Moti Mahal, constructed in 1880, is to the east and is a fine example of European architecture with predominantly French definitions. This grouping of three Grade II listed heritage structures in close proximity, makes the Mahboob Chowk area a very important part of Hyderabad’s architectural heritage.

Mahboob Chowk is unique because of its style of architecture, amongst the fine examples of free-standing clock towers that the city has. It is a four-faced, free-standing structure, composed of four stages diminishing in elevation and plan dimensions from the ground up. The lower two segments are provided with wrap around cantilevered balconies supported on Qutub Shahi style brackets with low intricately wrought metal railings. Clerestory windows above the door openings, the base in dressed granite with a small central portion in stucco with pilasters flanking the openings and supporting fluted springing for the stylized trefoil arch speak of the architectural splendors of yore.

The next stage is completely in plaster, again with bull nosed clerestory windows and stucco detailing around the openings. The third stage has the clocks installed over the door openings. To prevent distraction of the eye from reading the time the frontage at this level is without any embellishment. The corners are decorated with slender detached Corinthian columns and the finial is a cupola of smooth stucco plaster resting on an octagonal base. For the unique synthesis in architectural style and for its grand and majestic proportions, it was given the INTACH Heritage Award.

At the time this Clock Tower was built, watches and clocks were a rarity and a luxury not available to the common man. Royalty and nobility could plan their day and were surrounded by several timepieces, pocket watches and other such conveniences. The Clock Tower was gifted to the common citizens of Hyderabad so that they could go about with their daily activities.

The Clock Tower, Mahboob Chowk was awarded the INTACH Heritage Award in 2008.

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