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

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)

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Architecture · Daily Life · Monument · Out of place · Urban

The changing skylines

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It is not just the metro that seems to have an impact on the changing skylines. While changes are inevitable, one cannot but stop to wonder if they need to overshadow the past so decisively!

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 · Heritage · Landscape

People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. – Joseph Fort Newton

The arid vegetation around the Golconda fort during a summer morning might make you wonder if it’d look more appealing during a monsoon evening. Perhaps I shall revisit the place in a few months to find out!

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. 

Heritage · People

“Punja”-gutta

Punjagutta literally means a palm impression on a hillock. A visitor offers his prayers to what is believed to be an imprint of the palm of Hazrat Ali on top of the hillock.

Nestled on a hilltop between precariously balancing rocks and a tamarind tree this shrine is said to be almost as old as the city itself. While the ashoorkhana was built during the Qutb Shahi rule, the mosque was a recent addition. From the top one can see a few weather crafted rocks that fortuitously survived the rampant modernization in the bustling centre.

It is quite awe-inspiring to imagine how the palm-impression was formed. The palm impression also has another impression at a distance of 2 feet to suggest that of a knee. A little away from the palm and knee impression is yet another impression to suggest that of the hoof of a horse.

While it was astonishing to discover something of historic value amidst this mini corporate jungle – what was more surprising was the fact that there until I reached the foot of the place not a soul knew about the Punjagutta Pahad. The encroachments do not make the experience pleasurable and it is equally disconcerting to know that neither this gem nor the rocks have been listed under the archaeological monuments.

If the rocks around would talk, I wonder if anyone would  take heed.

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.