A portion of the chajja or balcony at the the main entrance to Hyderabad’s Chowmahalla palace collapsed on after heavy rains lashed the city on Saturday evening. No one was injured in the incident.
The palace building, located close to the historic Charminar, was constructed in the 1750s by Nizam Salabat Jung, the fourth Nizam of Hyderabad.
The debris comprising chunks of lime mortar and wooden beams from the tower, far away from the main palace building, fell on the Khilwat main road at around 5.30 pm.
The gateway that suffered damages was to undergo repair in March this year. To prevent further damage to the structure, emergency repair works will now be taken up.
G Kishan Rao, director of Chowmahalla Palace, said there is no threat to the structure at all. “It is a very small window that collapsed. We have been trying to get the whole structure repaired but due to the COVID pandemic, we could not. As soon as the rainy season is over, we will take up the repairs,” he told indianexpress.com.
According to Rao, the gateway structure was checked for its strength and lifespan when restoration activities were taken up on the palace building a decade ago. “It is surely a very old structure but there is no immediate danger to it. It is for the experts to assess and if there is any need, it will be taken care of,” the director added.
When contacted, city-based historian Mohammed Safiullah said it was nothing to be alarmed of and requested the Palace administration to pay some attention to the external facade just the way they have maintained the buildings inside the premises. “I had a close look at it. The volume of debris may be two-three tonnes. Luckily, it did not cause any damage to the structure as it fell directly on the ground,” he said.
The palace was the nerve center of power for the Deccan region between 1750 and 1950. Originally built in around 51 acres, it has seen governance for two centuries and what is remaining of it today is barely 12 acres of land. The rest of it are either encroached upon or sold away, Safiullah said.
About the gateway that suffered damage, he said it could not be more than a 100-years old.
“Most of the palace was given a major face lift during the sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Pasha’s rule in the 1800s. The Khilwat Mahal with the darbar hall was built during the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan Pasha’s time in the 1920s. And this gateway was the modern entrance to the palace built in the 1930s. The most prominent photos of the structure can be found during the silver jubilee celebrations of the seventh Nizam when it was lit up,” he explains.
Princess Esra Jah, the first wife of Prince Mukarram Jah, the eighth Nizam, had taken up the latest restoration activities for the palace two decades ago. “It took nearly six years to fully restore the palace to its original beauty. All structures were examined then,” Kishan Rao added.
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