Culture · Food · People · portrait · Street

Grilled Delights!

Of the immensely popular street food on the streets of old city Hyderabad, the kebabs deserve a special mention.

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Architecture · Heritage · Monument

Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower

The text below is an extract from the article appearing on line at http://www.primetimeprism.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1039:hyderabadas-heritage-mesmerising-architectural-splendours&catid=14:cover-features&Itemid=69

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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Architecture · Daily Life · Heritage · Monument

Gulzar Hauz

The text below is an excerpt from an article published in the Hindu titled Glory of the Gates – http://www.hindu.com/mp/2004/03/10/stories/2004031000490300.htm.
The vast area between the arches (now shrunk, with buildings and part of Patterghatti built much later, taking over the space) was square and called “Jilu Khana” or the guard’s square. In the centre of the square was the beautiful “Char-Su-Ka-Hauz” (the cistern of four cardinal points), which later came to be known as “Suka-Hauz” and now Gulzar Hauz. In the past it was said to be an octagonal reservoir that was intended for quenching the thirst of the army. It was because of the historical and architectural importance of the “kamans” that they have been protected under the heritage regulation, after the State archaeology department in 1975 surprisingly denotified them.

Much water has flowed down the Musi or should we say Gulzar Houz, since royalty left behind a rich legacy. With the fading away of the Qutb Shahis, the Mughals and the Asaf Jahis, the “kamans” have fallen on bad days. Though a half-hearted attempt by authorities restored a part of their glory during the last two years, they continue to be besieged by encroachments of the worst kind. If Charminar Kaman has petty vendors using it to showcase slippers and jewellery, pearl shops encircle the Kaman-e-Sehar Batil. Perfume vendors and newspaper shops turned into kabab joints occupy Machili Kaman. A newly built place of worship obstructs the view of this arch. A sanitaryware shop functions from the Kali Kaman.

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Architecture · Daily Life · Heritage · Monument

Kaman-e-Sehar-Batil

The text below is an excerpt from an article published in the Hindu titled Glory of the Gates – http://www.hindu.com/mp/2004/03/10/stories/2004031000490300.htm.

The western arch was the grandest, most significant and has an interesting legend attached to it. Called the “Kaman-e-Sehar-Batil” (the arch of the magic breaker) now corrupted to Kaman Sher-e-Batil and Mitti-Ka-Sher, it was the gateway leading to the fairy tale royal palaces of Dad Mahal, Kudadad Mahal, Lal Mahal, Chandan Mahal, Sajan Mahal, Nadi Mahal and Jinan Mahal on a vast triangular area extending up to the river Musi. Unfortunately none of these palaces exist today.

It was owing to its importance, that Mir Momin had erected a large stone pillar by its side and inscribed on it certain Quranic verses, to ward off evil spirits and neutralise the effect of black magic on the king and the royal family. Built in the “pillar and lintel style”, this lofty arch’s shutters were made of expensive ebony and sandalwood studded with nails of gold and rich in-lay work with precious stones. The inside of the arch was decorated with a screen made of cloth with gold work, maintaining the privacy of the palace complex.

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Architecture · Daily Life · Heritage · Monument

Machli Kaman

Each kaman had a different name and at least two of them had folk tales to narrate. The northern arch (the first one after crossing Madina cafe) is the Machli Kaman or the “arch with a fish”, so called, as in olden times, a big fish made of bamboo and a paper aeroplane, were hung in the centre on every new lunar year day, as a symbol of good fortune and prosperity.

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Daily Life · Heritage

Purana Kabutar Khana

A small portion of the Purana Kabootar Khana in Hussaini-Alam. I assumed there was only at Hasmathgunj. Thanks to Baquer Siddiqi for suggesting  the place.

The text below is an excerpt from an article published in Times of India.

Birds have held a special place in the hearts of Hyderabad’s dwellers since time immemorial. The descendants of Qutub Shahi kings and Nizams were renowned patrons, whose love for the winged creatures pervades among the common folk even today.

The Purana Kabutarkhana in Hussaini Alam, which is more than 200 years old, was built by Siddi Ibrahim, a descendant of Quli Qutub Shah. It has around 135 pigeonholes, which can together hold more than 800 pigeons. “The coop was built because Siddi Ibrahim loved birds and wanted to provide them with food and shelter,” says Syed Ibrahim Ali who traces his lineage to the Qutub Shahi kings.

Ali proudly points out that the pigeons that live here do not desert the place and continue living here for generations. Adding that his family has been taking care of the coop for more than two centuries, he says: “Members of all communities come here to feed the birds. We also take care of the structure and carry out frequent repairs in case of any damage.”

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Architecture · Doors · Heritage · Windows

Devdi Asman Jah

The gate portion of the Asman Jah Devdi is all that remains of this devdi.

Like many Hyderabadi, Sir Asman Jah is said to be a great food lover and would request his Darogha Pakwan (shahi bawarchi) to prepare unique dishes like baara singha (Antelope) cheeks curries, kababs and at least 18 different types of biryanis & pulaos. When Sir Asman Jah a book was said to be published of all the recipes that the Nawab patronised with the help of the daorgha pakwan.

More about Asman Jah Bahadur below from wiki :

Sir Asman Jah or Nawab Asman Jah Bahadur, was a noble man belonging to the Paigah family. He was the Prime Minister of Hyderabad state (1887–1894), India.

Sir Asman Jah’s full name and titles were: Muhammad Mazharuddin Khan, Nawab Rafat Jung, Bashir-ud-Doula, Umdat-ul-Mulk, Azam-ul-Umara, Amir-e-Akbar, Sir Asman Jah K.C.I.E. He was born in the year 1256 hijri and was married to Sahebzadi Parwarishunissa Begum, daughter of Asaf Jah V. He was a council was appointed to carry on the administration of the state and acted as co-regent in addition to carrying out the duties of minister of justice and was the Prime minister from 1311 hijri till 1318 hijri.

He built the famous Bashir Bagh Palace and Asman Garh Palace, now part of the hertige structures of Andhra Pradesh.

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