Friday, August 03, 2007

Discovery of Hyderabad

When my boss summoned me to his cabin yesterday; I ran up the stairs preparing for all the questions I thought he was going to ask me. What came at me was something I was totally unprepared for! He asked me to take our Architect Coordinator on a trip of the old city of Hyderabad. Show him the historical sites, palaces and tombs that dot the city. There was not much I thought about this trip; then or later. Today morning when I was driving to the office, I wondered whether things would be the same as I remembered them. After all, I was going to "see" them after a long while. 7 years to be precise!

Ketu (Architect), Ravindra (GM-Commercial) and I left office at around 10:30 and after a short discussion decided to go to the Qutub Shahi Tombs and the Golconda Fort first and then think about what we were going to do next. Once we reached the Qutub Shahi Tombs, we were greeted with a huge iron gate which was locked. Cars are not allowed inside anymore, they said. After the bomb blast at the Mecca Masjid in May. Anyways the weather was just perfect and we didn't feel the pinch. As we walked the first few meters, the first tomb came in full view. It was a magnificent sight! Greenery all around, birds chirping and a elegant tomb rising high above! Then the dismay crept in! What hits you at first is that you can see the wear and tear crying out for attention. Absolute lack of maintenance or restoration of Sultan Abdullah Kutub Shah's tomb was shocking. Then you had the graffiti artists show casing their art! Horrible. Anyways, we were quickly swept away by the grand arches, intricate detailing and charm of this building.

Ketu led the way, obviously engrossed, explaining to us about all the difficult and impressive things the masons and the architects of those times did! It was a lesson in architecture for us! We then went and saw the tomb of Hayat Bakshi Begum. This one was quite well preserved and looked in good condition. The graffiti though was present on every square inch of the walls! From proclamations of love to just guest book style entries, names were everywhere. We then saw a few other tombs and the mosque where Aurangzeb is believed to have offered prayers during his stay at Hyderabad. Ketu kept pointing and I kept clicking with the camera! The album is embedded below:

Once we were done with the tombs we then started for Golconda Fort. I left the Tombs with a feeling of awe and disappointment. Awe for the masterful skill with which these tombs were conceived and built. Awe for the materials used and their success in passing the test of time. Disappointment because of the general apathy shown by all of us; visitors and the government alike towards this heritage monuments. I can only hope we can do something to save them before it is too late!

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Copyright © Kartik Agarwal - 2007