Telangana govt to restore Hyderabad’s Nizamia Observatory

Hyderabad: The lost glory of the Nizamia Optical Observatory, established in 1901, is set to be restored by the government of Telangana at a cost of Rs 2.3 crores.

The announcement was made by special chief secretary of the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Arvind Kumar, after inspecting the observatory along with HMDA officials on Tuesday.

“We will be taking up restoration @ ₹2.3 crs & make both units functional including telescopes (sic),” Arvind posted on X.

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The observatory, known for having India’s biggest telescopes, is currently in a bad shape. It is situated on the premises of the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Hyderabad.

The observatory is located in Ameerpet, which used to be the city’s outskirts when it was established. Such astronomy equipment is usually situated outside cities, as the skies are clearer for observations.

Brief history

The Nizam-era structure was established by Nawab Zafar Yar Jung Bahadur, a 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 (Now Deccan Medical College and Owaisi Hospital).

Bahadur died in 1907. In accordance with his wishes, the administration of the observatory was taken over by the finance department of the Nizam government in 1908.

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.

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.