Road widening to erase landmark gateway on Karwan stretch

It is listed as Grade-I protected site by Hyderabad Urban Development Authority in 1997

It is listed as Grade-I protected site by Hyderabad Urban Development Authority in 1997

The last ceremonial entrance to a devdi (mansion) on the Karwan-Golconda route is set to be razed for a road-widening project. The Assistant City Planner of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has served a notice on the residents of Devdi Akram Ali Khan to give consent for clearing the frontage of the the property for widening the road between Mughal-ka-Naka to Puranapul. “To avoid heavy traffic congestion on the road, the GHMC has taken up the work relating to widening of this road on top priority basis. An area of 39.75 square yards from your property is getting affected under the proposed road-widening,” reads the notice served on Mohammed Akhtar Ali Khan, whose family lives in the large enclosed space reached from the entrance. A school run by his family member also functions from within the premises.

The Hyderabad Urban Development Authority listed the entrance as a Grade-I protected site in its 1997 notification citing its ‘mixed Mughal and European architecture’. The Grade-I listing is defined by HUDA as “they may be associated with a great historical event, personality, movement or institution. They have been and are, the prime landmarks of the city”.

“I am surprised that they want to demolish this ceremonial gateway which is a key link to the importance of Golconda and Hyderabad. I used to travel out of this place to study in Aaliya and later Osmania University,” says Mohammed Akhtar Ali Khan who reminiscences about a time when the courtyard had a swimming pool. “There were two sections one for the men and another women. There was a swimming pool here,” he points out a dressed stone edge which is the relic of the pool. The entrance has two levels with stucco decoration still intact on the windows that open to the street.

The family traces its lineage to the daughter of Bairam Khan the tutor of Mughal emperor Akbar and came to Hyderabad with Aurangzeb.

“We cannot demolish everything and say Hyderabad is a historic city. The inside has been demolished. Now the family wants to protect the entrance arch and they have legal protection as it is a listed site. Urban planning has to be sensitive,” said Anuradha Reddy of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage when asked about the development.

Incidentally, a 100-feet road has been laid on the edge of the Musi River between Puranapul and Karan Singh Marg that connects to the Mughal ka Naka.

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