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Original grandeur returning to Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb by AKTC

Friday, 2017, July 21
Grand spectacle: Work going on at brisk pace on the parapet wall of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb inside the Qutb Shahi tombs
Serish Nanisetti

Work on restoration of original parapet wall in progress under aegis of Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Visible for miles around, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah’s tomb is one the grandest monuments in the tombs complex at the foothill of Golconda. Built during his lifetime in the early part of seventeenth century, the tomb being restored by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, now radiates grandeur in its off-white colour amidst the dark and dappled grey monuments in the area.

“Work on the dome chamber and restoration of plaster motifs and medallions has been completed. The focus is now on restoring the parapet wall which used to exist before the 19th century intervention. We got clues from archival images from 1860. Using them, we are restoring the parapet wall to its original form,” says Ratish Nanda of Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

The tomb had an unsightly metal parapet before the conservation effort began. But before taking up work on the parapet, the conservation architects had to focus on the dome, adding water spouts to the terraces and restoration of stone masonry which was in a damaged state.

Flooring and parapet was a challenge for craftsmen and artisans from across the country who are working on the project. They had to dress 2-metre long granite blocks weighing 5-6 tonnes, haul them and then fix them in their place using traditional methods.

One of the earliest paintings of the tombs complex shows the massive domed structure built in 1602 that soared to a height of 48 metres with an arcaded crypt. In the later part of the 20th century, the arcade was bricked up creating faux lattice.
Grave chamber

“With the restoration of the old style parapet wall the tomb can be seen in its correct context. We have also removed the earlier interventions where the arches at the lower level were bricked up during late 1980s,” says Mr. Nanda.

Under the arcaded chambers amidst the musty smell of age and monsoon is the grave of Muhammad Quli. Even the grave chamber’s level was changed over the years with addition of layers. It is one of the few tombs where the grave chamber is accessible.

With the removal of brick jali, a striking contrast becomes visible with and the monument looks the way it was supposed to appear by the builder and more importantly behave like that. One of Hyderabad’s historians wrote about how Charminar was visible from the eastern portion of the platform for the king who designed both the monument and the tomb. Now, Charminar looks like a distant memory as buildings and houses have blocked the view.

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