Hyderabad: A portion of the King Kothi palace’s Purdah gate has been damaged, resulting in a considerable part of the heritage structure breaking. The incident is said to have taken place a few days ago, after a vehicle rammed into a part of the Purdah gate’s wall.
On Thursday morning, at the time of this report being written, the wall was redone with cement, and bricks could be seen lying around in a heap. The part where the Purdah gate was damaged has been covered. However, adding cement to repair the structure is likely to be counter-productive, as the palace was built with lime-mortar.
The King Kothi palace is a 2.5 lakh square feet property, which was the residence of Osman Ali Khan, the seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad (erstwhile princely state). Khan ruled from there and continued to stay there even after the Hyderabad state’s accession to India on September 17, 1948. The last Nizam died in 1967 at the age of 81.
“The King Kothi palace is an old structure that was built with lime-mortar, which is a material that uses natural elements, and is different and smoother compared to cement. When cement is used in such cases, it will in fact further damage such structures, as it is a rougher material,” noted Sibgatullah Khan, architecture student, who runs Deccan Archive.
The King Kothi palace was originally constructed by a nobleman named Kamal Khan, whose initials were said to have been inscribed on the front portion of the place. It was eventually acquired by Osman Ali Khan, who took a liking to the structure.
The palace had three portions, Osman mansion (which was torn down in the 1980s), Nazri bagh (where visitors would offer the Nizam a ‘nazar’ or offering), and the Purdah gate, which was called so as it would always be draped in a curtain. The main building has been converted into a government hospital as well.
The King Kothi palace was also in the news few years ago. It was found that ex-staffers of a construction company, Mumbai-based Niharika Infrastructure, had reportedly forged documents and sold the property to a Kashmir-based hospitality firm, Times of India reported in 2019.
According to the same report, the palace was sold by the by the Nazri Bagh Palace Trust to the construction company at least over a few years ago. When officials from Niharika Infrastructure visited the place, they were realised that the ownership was transferred. Currently, the Mumbai police and Enforcement Directorate are investigating into the matter.