Hyderabad: Demolition of historic Victoria Zenana building stopped

Hyderabad Desk

Hyderabad: In a major relief for heritage activists and concerned citizens, the demolition of the Victoria Zenana hospital building has been halted on orders from the Telangana high court. The heritage structure was in line for being demolished to make way for a multi-storied parking facility in the court premises, under which the Zenana building falls under.

In an order dated May 16, the high court’s Registrar wrote to the Roads and Buildings department’s south division executive engineer, deputy executive engineer, and assistant executive engineer (high court buildings) asking them to not start demolition work at the ‘H Block’ in which the Zenana building is situated.

Earlier a letter dated April 15 from the High Court’s Registrar was found granting administrative sanction for dismantling ‘H-Block High Court Legal Services Committee building, dog canal and the structures abutting the same’ for the construction of a multi-level car parking. The order was issued based on a writ petition (no. 735 of 2023) seeking more parking space in the Telangana High Court premises. It essentially also includes demolition of the Zenana building.

An archival image of the Zanana building. (Image: By arrangement)

It led to an outrage from heritage activists from Hyderabad, who also held a meeting last week and decried the move. Eminent personality and historian from the city Sajjad Shahid in a letter also appealed to the Telangana high court’s chief justice against demolishing the historic Victoria Zenana building.

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“There is a Qutb Shahi era fountain in the endangered area. It is unclear what is going to be its fate,” Sajjad Shahid said at the meeting last week, about the fountain which goes back to around the time when Hyderabad was founded by Mohd Quli Qutb Shah, the fourth ruler of the Golconda dynasty (1518-1687).

The meeting seems to have had an impact as the historic structure for now is safe. It may be noted that is was also easy for the state government to issue such orders as the victoria Zenana building was denotified from the state’s list of protected monuments in 2010 via government order No. 47.


The Victoria Zenana building in fact is one of the heritage structures that was built during the reign of Mahboob Ali Pasha, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad (1869-1911). It is one of the markers of the city’s built heritage before Hyderabad was modernized and rebuilt by the seventh and last Nizam Osman Ali Khan (1911-1948) after the Musi river flood 1908. Ironically, the Telangana High Court is part of the modern buildings constructed as part of that modernisation by the last Nizam.

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