Gachibowli: Heritage well wallows in a state of neglect

Gachibowli: Heritage well wallows in a state of neglect
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Gachibowli: Heritage well wallows in a state of neglect

Highlights

Water conservation activist takes up restoration work, seeks govt support

Gachibowli: After finding plastic and debris dumped in the Gachibowli heritage well, a conservation activist has taken up its pre-restoration work. 'Gachi' means limestone plaster and 'bowli' stands for well. The name of the place Gachibowli in IT corridor is derived from this well.

Languishing in apathy for years, the well is beside the Dilawar Shah Begum mosque in Tellapur, 10.7 km from Gachibowli. It was lost due to decades of neglect. Kalpana Ramesh, the activist, has decided to clean up garbage and debris. After restoring the MJ Market, IT Industry and Municipal Administration Minister KT Rama Rao promised revival of stepwells (bowlis) in the City. The Gachibowli well is waiting for its restoration. The well is amid a variety of Nizam period architecture. It is well within a well which has three flights of steps, two on each storey. It is in the shape of a square with four arches. The well is not on the State heritage list of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA). It is a bit dislocated with continuous dumping of debris due to which the square shape got disturbed and the edges have been damaged. Beside the well, two borewells were dug causing more damage to it. Adding to the damages, locals have laid a concrete road near the well. "No one knows deep down inside how much damage was caused to the well, as the beautiful steps are not visible," shares Kalpana.

Under the 'Rainwater Project,' a start-up launched by her, with the 'Blue Hyderabad' campaign, Kalpanana has decided to revive the well by cleaning up garbage and debris. She told The Hans India: "Under the 'Rainwater Project' we have taken up the pre-restoration work of the heritage stepwell. We were surprised to see the large amount of garbage dumped in the well. We were only able to remove some garbage."

Kalpana says the goal is to preserve the well and try to revive its water so that it can be used by devotees who come to offer namaz at Jama Masjid-E-Dilawarsha Begum, who can see the well. She stated that limestone of the well would be sent to a laboratory with help of architects to ascertain what type of lime was used to build the well, as the same should be used to restore it.

Kalpana is trying to engage IT professionals, heritage activists, students, and others to preserve the well. An awareness camp conducted at the well, in coordination with Society for Advancement of Human Endeavours (SAHE), Hyderabad, was attended by the British Deputy High Commissioner Dr Andrew Fleming, among others. Old maps with the mosque committee members show that this land, including the well, was a 'maqta' Gachibowli, a gift given to the wife of Dilawar Shah those days. Built during the Asafjahi period, it is around 200 years old. Once the well was a water resource for the entire Gachibowli area; as residents used to drink and use its water. Now, it is completely neglected and left to decay.

A mosque committee member, Mohammed Afzal, said: "The well is under the mosque. The committee has given several representations to the government for preserving the heritage well as it can be used for performing 'Wudu' ablution for namaz, but all requests went in vain."

Anuradha Reddy, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) convener, Hyderabad chapter, said: "In the surroundings of the well there are several borewells dug up due to which water is completely drained out from the well. In these days of increasing prices of land in Gachibowli, the well may soon disappear. The government must restore the well, as it is heritage and symbolises the name 'Gachibowli'.

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