Hyderabad: After successfully restoring the Qutb Shahi tombs here with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), the Telangana government has signed another memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the AKTC to restore the Saidanima’s tomb, Badhshahi Ashurkhana and Shaikpet Sarai in the city. Of the three monuments, two are currently inaccessible to the public.
Telangana principal secretary (municipal administration and urban development) Arvind Kumar on Friday announced the MoU signing on Twitter, and said that work will commence soon by the AKTC on the projects. The organisation has nearly completed restoration of the historic Qutb Shahi tombs, the royal necropolis of the Qutb Shahi or Golconda dynasty that founded Hyderabad. The site has virtually transformed from when work had begun in 2013.
What are the three new sites that will be restored?
Badshahi Ashurkhana: The site is a protected heritage site and is the second oldest monument of Hyderabad, as it was built immediately after the Charminar, which was constructed as the city’s foundation in 1591 by Mohd Quli Qutb Shah of the Golconda or Qutb Shahi dynasty (1518-1687). Construction of the site began in 1592.
Though some ancillary structures in the open ground like Naqar Khana, Abdar Khana and Niyaz Khana have suffered intense damage, however, the main hall of the Badshahi Ashoorkhana remains intact. Walls decked up with multicoloured tiles and the dominant theme of flaming Alams is the cynosure of all eyes here.
A mosaic of staggered hexagons with jewel-like shapes fills the arch on the southern wall. Typical Indian colours like mustard yellow and brown add vibrancy to the panel on the western wall while the north-west wall sports a large ‘Alam’ in the centre of the side panels. Circling swirls of flowers and leaves surround the compositions.
The walls of this historic structure were damaged during the floods of 1908. and were temporarily repainted in a similar design.The Badshahi Ashurkhana was constructed between 1592-96, sometime after the Charminar was built in 1591. Like other Ashoorkhanas, this one too saw bad days for nearly a century after the Qutb Shahi dynasty fell to Aurangzeb’s army in 1687. And it wasn’t until Nizam Ali (the second monarch of the Asaf Jahi dynasty) came to power that the Badshahi Ashoorkhana was given an annual grant.
Saidanima’s tomb: The tomb of Saidanima was built by Sardar Abdul Haq, who also bore the title Diler Jang (1853–1896). He was originally from the Bombay Province (run by the British crown) and rose to prominence in the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, in the late nineteenth century. Jang became the princely state’s home secretary and then changed course to become the director of the Nizam’s State Railways in 1885.
In this capacity, he travelled to England as well. Jang eventually built a tomb in memory of his mother, Saidanima, which is located north side of the Hussain Sagar’s reservoir bund road, heading towards Secunderabad. It is somewhat in isolation from most historical monuments and is a landmark monument which often goes unnoticed unless one stops for a few seconds and notices his/her surroundings.
The baoli (stepwell) inside the age-old Saidanima’s tomb on the Hussain Sagar or Tank Bund road has been lying due to neglect and lack of maintenance from years. Except for the main tomb area, the rest of the complex has clearly fallen prey to encroachments, as is the case of many historical Waqf properties in Hyderabad and Telangana.
Shaikpet Sarai: The Sarai is the resthouse in Hyderabad. Built by the sixth Golconda king Abdullah Qutb Shah (1626-72) in the 17th century, the Sarai has 30 rooms, stables for horses and camels, a mosque, and a tomb. Located a few kilometers away from Golconda Fort, the Shaikpet Sarai can accommodate 500 people. It was built for traders who used to visit Hyderabad from across the world.