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Hyderabad: Heritage step-well cries for attention

Heritage step-well cries for attention
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Heritage step-well cries for attention 

Highlights

Built in memory of Hazrata Saide-bi-maSaheba in 19th century, it is situated opposite Sailing Club

Tank Bund: A historical Baoli (step-well) built in memory of Hazrata Saide-bi-ma-Saheba in the middle of 19th century, situated opposite to Sailing Club near Tank Bund, is lying in a disused state, uncared for and totally in a state of neglect.

The age-old well, which once used to be unique and popular in those days with a 'lighting lamp' in it, now being looked uncared for, leading to encroachments.

Usually, for lighting a lamp one needs electricity, battery, oil or ghee but a unique and magical lamp present in this heritage Baoli lights up with the water. This grand structure has an astonishingly wealthy history.

Earlier, when the monument was being looked after by the great-grandson of Hazrata Saida-bi-ma-Saheba, Syed Magdum Ali Khan and the entry was restricted to religious persons only. He used to maintain the Baoli, it is also being mentioned by his family that Magdum, a Sufi Saint used to light the lamp in the Baoli by filling the lamp with the Baoli water.

It is being said that still the lamp made up of red sand is lying under the well, which is poorly maintained by the current caretaker of the tomb. This wonderful heritage step-well was built by Syed Abdul Haq, who was conferred the title of Diler-ul-Mulk by the Nizams for his administrative capabilities. Syed Abdul Haq also constructed his mother Saidanima's grave, at the start of Tank Bund.

Abdul Haq, titled Diler Jang (1853-96), was a high official in the Nizam's Dominion. A few years back, the archaeological department took over the monument and decided to open it to the public, but after the formation of the Telangana state the monument has been kept closed for years, leaving uncared for decades have caused serious damage to the structure.

Speaking to The Hans India, great-great grandson of Syed Magdum Ali Khan, Syed Meraj Nawab says, "The tomb is built in a structure of Asif Jah and Moghal, now there has been continuous encroachment in the tomb premises, some locals are filling construction waste into the well with an aim to take over the well and built a temporary shop on it."

Meraj further alleged that land sharks have already installed blue tin sheets in order to construct a shop and give the place for rental purposes. He also said that though several representations have been submitted to Central and State authorities including the Chief Minister of Telangana, Telangana State Wakf Board and others but till now no action has been initiated by any of the authorities.

He demanded that the heritage monument also be registered with ASI, and should be protected and maintained. The tomb is now acting as a locked room as it has been kept locked for years. This has led to a serious damage to the structure, depriving it of its charm.

"Hyderabad's built heritage is important to the city; the State administrators simply must find a way to support restoration and protection. Or, soon the heritage well may disappear bit by bit, year after year," said Anuradha Reddy, convener of the INTACH Hyderabad Chapter.

Principal Secretary of MA&UD and Metropolitan Commissioner Arvind Kumar, who is keen on restoring the city's heritage stepwells, promised to take up the restoration works of the Saide-bi-ma-Saheba Baoli.

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