Transporting a magnificent edifice back to the 17th century — by Yunus Y. Lasania on Hindu com
While time did take a toll on the 400-year old tomb, a lot of modern interventions damaged the original construction.
Anyone who has seen the towering structure in the past will remember the yellowish and black colour of the tomb’s dome and walls, which is in complete contrast to its present white demeanour, thanks to restoration work on it which began last year.
But what emerged during its restoration will shock any heritage lover. The tomb was covered in five to six inches of cement and the 16 century decorative stucco plaster on the roof level of the structure was lost.
The damage is being undone, thanks to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), which is restoring the edifice to its glory in collaboration with the Telangana Department of Archaeology and Museums. The project is being funded by the Tata Trust.
“The entire cement layer from the dome has been removed and re-plastered with lime mortar. In fact, deep holes of about four to five feet were also dug in the dome for scaffolding when cement was applied,” pointed out Yoshowanth, one of the architects from the AKTC who is working on the project, being funded by the Tata Trusts.
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Archive News from 2013 when the MoU was sign with Aga Khan Developement Network:
Hyderabad, India, 10 January 2013 – A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a ten-year, integrated conservation and landscape restoration project at the Quli Qutb Shah Tomb complex in Hyderabad was signed today by the Andhra Pradesh State Department of Archaeology and Museums, the Quli Qutb Shah Urban Development Authority and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Aga Khan Foundation.
The MOU was signed in the presence of Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy, Honourable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Vatti Vasant Kumar, Minister for Tourism, Archaeology and Museums, Smt. Chandana Khan, Special Chief Secretary for Archaeology and Tourism, GV Ramkrishna, Director of Archaeology, Kishore Babu, Director of the Quli Qutb Shah Urban Development Authority, Luis Monreal, General Manager of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and Gulam Rahimtoola, Vice Chairman of the Aga Khan Foundation, India.
The Quli Qutb Shah Archaeological Park comprising the Qutb Shahi Tombs Complex and Deccan Park, is one of the most significant historic medieval necropolises with 70 structures within its complex, encompassing 40 mausoleums, 23 mosques, five step-wells/water structures, a hamam (mortuary bath), pavilions, garden structures and enclosure walls built during the reign of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty that ruled the Hyderabad region for 170 years in the 16th – 17th centuries.
The signing of the MoU has been preceded by a year-long documentation programme, where each of the 70 structures within the tomb complex – Deccan Park area have been documented and their conservation needs established. Topographical surveys of the entire 106 acre site have also been undertaken and a landscape master plan prepared.
The Aga Khan Historic Cities Programme, promotes the conservation and re-use of buildings and public spaces in historic cities. It undertakes the restoration and rehabilitation of historic structures and public spaces in ways that can spur social, economic and cultural development. Individual project briefs go beyond mere technical restoration to address the questions of the social and environmental context, adaptive re-use, institutional sustainability and training.
The Aga Khan Development Network agencies are presently undertaking a similar project in the Humayun’s Tomb – Sundar Nursery – Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti area of Delhi, where over 50 monuments are undergoing sensitive conservation works, coupled with landscaping of over 200 acres of the World Heritage Site setting.
As with the ten year Delhi project which commenced in 2007, the Aga Khan Development Network agencies will be undertaking the proposed conservation and landscaping works with their own financial resources or those raised from partner agencies such as the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and other corporate donors.
The conservation works will be undertaken from master craftsmen using traditional tools, building techniques and traditional materials respecting the intention of the original builders.
Further research including excavations will be required prior to preparing detailed landscape proposals for the immediate setting of the monuments. A significant portion of the site would be developed as an ecological zone with plantations of local flora to encourage birds, as well as revive the historic water bodies.
AKTC expects to commence works on site within three months. The Qutb Shahi Tombs Complex, presently nominated to the World Heritage List, is proposed to be developed as an urban Archaeological Park, to showcase and ensure long-term preservation, and to enhance understanding of the 70 monuments that stand within its boundaries. Future connections with Golconda Fort will allow this site to serve as a starting point for the Qutb Shahi Trail of Hyderabad, leading to significant interest in heritage amongst the local citizens and tourists.
Source: AKDN org