Culture · Daily Life · Events · Food · Heritage · Monument · People · Street · vendors

Ramzan nights (around Charminar)

To describe the Ramzan experience around Charminar as a sensory overload would be an understatement. There is so much to see, feel, hear, smell , eat or even buy and take delight in. The experience might even leave you wiser in consumer behaviour too and render you incapable of bargaining because you are after all a “king” !

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All you need to make Sheer-Korma (apart from milk and sugar)
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The gentlemen around the shop assured everyone passing by that they would find the most fashionable designs here
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The only time I might be seen amidst so much bling!
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Daawat-e-Iftaar – when the fast is broken and the entire community eats together

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Iftar at the Makkah Masjid
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If you started out in the hope of a good bargain – he will certainly not entertain you!
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Still trying to figure out what pendel would mean.
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And the shopping and feasting continue into the night

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Architecture · Events · Heritage · Monument · Reflections · Still Life

Residency

A few years ago, when I visited the Residency at the Koti Womens College, I was told about the opulent Durbar Hall and the double stairways. I could hardly imagine the grandeur I would see,  when I finally got the opportunity to visit the Residency during the event Reviving Residency.

The mansion weaves its own mystique with the Durbar Hall, painted ceiling, chandeliers, galleried halls, inlaid wood and drawing rooms. It was built in European neo-classical style, similar to the White House in Washington DC. It was intended to cement the power of the British East India Company, and maintain its influence over the independent state of Hyderabad and the Nizam. The Resident was appointed to protect the British interests in the Deccan region.

It was commissioned by the British Resident in Hyderabad, James Kirkpatrick, around 1803. Up until Independence this colonial building served as the seat of the British Resident after which, in 1949 it became part of Osmania College for Women.

The Residency was the backdrop of the romance between British Resident James Kirkpatrick (the protagonist of William Dalrymple’s ‘White Mughals’) and Khairunnisa. Kirkpatrick fell in love with and eventually married Khairunnisa, a local girl from an aristocratic Muslim family, and adopted the local customs and rituals.

The British Residency is now a protected monument under the control of Telangana State Department of Archaeology and Museums. An anonymous British donor had pledged $1 million to the World Monument Fund for its restoration. The  ongoing conservation work is in collaboration with World Monuments Fund (WMF), National Culture Fund of Union Ministry of Culture and the State Department of Archaeology and Museums.

Reviving Residency was organised to commemorate the completion of phase I of the Restoration of the site and the commencement of phase II.

There are plans to convert the Residency to a museum once the restoration is complete.

I hope to revisit sometime soon, see it in natural light and experience it’s architectural beauty all over again.

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All the images on this blog are protected by copyright. Please do not copy, blog or repost in ANY way. If you wish to use them please get in touch with me through email (lakshmi.prabhala@yahoo.co.in)

Architecture · Art · Culture · Heritage · Landscape · Monument · Uncategorized

Back to life

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A month ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Qutb Shahi tombs site and had a (brief) look at the restoration activities and to say that it is a mega project would be an understatement.

The entire restoration project is divided into three phases and each phase is planned such that the visitors can move about freely in the rest of the site.

The three years of restoration work has infused life into the weather beaten mausoleums at the Quli Qutb Shahi tombs complex near Golconda fort. The sparkling white domes of the renovated structures are a contrast to the older monuments that patiently await their turn for a makeover.

Although the Quli Qutb Shah tombs’ complex is commonly referred to as ‘Saat Gumbaz’ or ‘Seven tombs’, it encompasses a total of 75 structures comprising 40 mausoleums, 23 mosques, six baolis (step-wells), a hamam (mortuary bath), an Idgah, pavilions, garden structures and enclosure walls spread across an expanse of 108 acres.

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The tombs (close to the main entrance) that are scheduled for phase II and III seem to wait for their turn to get a facelift – Originally the Badi Baoli and Fatima Sultana’s tomb was planned as a part of phase II but due to collapse of a wall in the Baoli due to rain and the plinth of Fatima’s tomb – they were included in Phase I

The complex is an example of rare architectural splendor and was selected for conservation by the Government of Telangana. The objective was to restore the grandeur of the site and develop it as an urban archaeological park called Quli Qutb Shah Archaeological Park.  The aim was to showcase and ensure long term preservation as well as enhance understanding of the monuments that stand within its boundaries.

The main aim of the project is to ensure long term preservation of the monuments which is achieved by using traditional materials and craftsmen. Only traditional building materials like lime mortar and stone are used.

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Badi Baoli – the 400-year-old step well that collapsed in 2013 now collects enough water to fulfil the needs of the restoration activities at the site

 

The revival of Badi Baoli, one of the six step wells within the complex, is probably as remarkable as the 400-year-old quadrangular structure used for water storage. In a span of three years, starting from a collapsed condition in 2013, it has become completely functional and collected about 33 lakh liters of water during the monsoon of 2016, which is now used within the site for the restoration activities.

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The terrace of the Hamam or mortuary bath is now devoid of any vegetation.
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The Idgah which stands to the south of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb, is one of the earliest structures constructed by Sultan Quli Qutb Shah
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The tomb of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad is the most grand and stands on a pavilion
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The ceiling of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah after the restoration works are complete.
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On the external walls of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb, portions of the original intricate glazed tile work are still visible.
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The Southern Gate, connected to the Golconda fort through an underground passage, was used as a processional pathway to bring the body to the tomb site for burial ceremonies

It is common belief that a body was brought to the tomb complex for burial from Golconda through an underground passage. An archival photograph suggested the possibility of a processional path way connecting the Golconda Fort with the tomb complex.

Excavations were conducted at a depression found south of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb that revealed an arched gateway. This gate over which a mosque stands, would have been the processional path that was preferred for entry to the tombs during burial ceremonies.

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The finer details of patterns in the stucco plaster on Sultan Qutb-ul-Mulk’s tomb (the first Qutb Shahi King) have been restored.
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The tombs that are scheduled under the first phase of the restoration.
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Among the tombs that are restored, the tomb of the second Qutb Shahi king, Jamshed Qutb Shah stands tall and is unique with its octagonal base.

The restoration project also envisages landscaping in about 15 acres as part of the Qutb Shah Heritage Park. Activities like tree and bird mapping have been conducted and various species of both have been identified. These studies will help improve the bio-diversity of the Qutb Shah Heritage Park as well as aid in creating an ecological zone with introduction of suitable tree species and development of a bird habitat typical of the region.

You could read the entire piece that was published in the Wow!Hyderabad Magazine Apr 2017 issue

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Architecture · Art · Daily Life · Monument

the calm before the ….

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Perhaps, the most photographed spot in Hyderabad. Whether you are a tourist or a resident. Whether the place is packed or empty. Whether the birds take off in all directions or stay put on the ground or eat out of the hands of the visitors. A peaceful morning or hectic dusk, in all probability you would return with some interesting images. Even if you happen to realise it much later.

Shot on an early morning visit, a rare quiet moment when the pigeons were gathering in great numbers, building a sense of anticipation before they eventually took off in a frenzy and circled around the monument.

All the images on this blog are protected by copyright. Please do not copy, blog or repost in ANY way. If you wish to use them please get in touch with me through email (lakshmi.prabhala@yahoo.co.in)