Hyderabad’s heritage: Nizamia Observatory to get facelift

Hyderabad: Lost glory of the Nizamia observatory, an optical structure in Punjagutta, dating back to the era of Nizams, will now be revived by the government of Telangana.

The observatory known for having India’s biggest telescopes and also for terrestrial and celestial events currently lies unused on the premises of the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad, facing light pollution and urbanization of the locality.

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The heritage structure which was one of the oldest and second observatories in the country lies in a dilapidated state after it was neglected by the authorities.

A few cyclists who visited the structure on Tuesday requested the Telangana IT and urban development minister KT Rama Rao to consider renovation activities for the observatory.

Responding positively to their request, KTR directed the state’s special chief secretary of urban development, Arvind Kumar to take up the renovation works at the site.

The observatory is located in Ameerpet as it was once upon a time on the city’s outskirts. Such astronomy equipment is usually situated outside cities, as the skies are clearer for observations.

As the city expanded and Ameerpet was also urbanised and a new observatory was built outside Hyderabad and this structure went into disuse.

History of Nizamia Observatory:

The Nizam era structure was founded by Nawab Zafar Yar Jung Bahadur, a rich Nobleman and an amateur astronomer in Hyderabad in 1901 when he bought a 6-inch telescope from England. He installed it in Phisal Banda Palace, Hyderabad (Now Deccan Medical College and Owaisi Hospital).

Bahadur died in 1907 and requested that Nizam’s government take over the observatory. In accordance with his wishes, the administration of the observatory was taken over by the finance department of the Nizam Government in 1908.

Akbar Ali became Director of the Observatory in 1944 and worked till 1960.

The construction of the observatory with a special dome to house the 48-inch telescope commenced in 1963 and the telescope was installed in 1968-69 upon the completion of work.

The telescope was one of the biggest in India during those days, and the research work and data obtained from the observatory were published in national and international journals.

There are currently proposals to convert the space into an engineering college.