Portion of Golconda fort's recent Naya Qila wall collapse, Hyderabad indicates impending danger if unchecked!!

Collapsed wall of Golconda fort, Hyderabad. thehansindia.com

 Among the tourist spots in Hyderabad, Telangana, the striking landmark sites are the Charminar and the Golconda fort, the latter lies about 10 km from the city. Obviously, the footfall at Golconda and Charminar has been  enormous in the past decade. Managed by the Archaeological Survey of India, the upkeep of the enormous fort is not up to the mark. Understaffed, red tapism in getting funds and official lethargy are the main reasons why numerous monuments are slowly crumbling and losing their charm across the land. The UNESCO recognized world heritage Hampi monuments in Karnataka are facing similar fate like Golconda fort  In the case of Hampi,  recently a pillar at Hampi's  Virupaksheshwara Temple, KA  was damaged during CM Siddaramaiah's visit. It was done by  party workers and the ASI ia raising this issue.

Collapsed wall of Golconda fort, Hyderabad. thehansindia.com

The recent news that portions of the Golconda Fort’s Naya Qila (new fort), built between the 14th and 17th centuries, had given way   creating a three-metre-wide hole is a sad one. The 8 to 9 meter wide and 12 meter high vertical wall with ashlar masonry and dressed blocks of granite  laid together without bonding material, had now begun to slide  inwards, as its earthen sections were washed away due to heavy rains. Inward sloping of the granite blocks on the rampart wall of the Naya Qila (new fort) has to be carefully tackled by the experts from the ASI. At stake is the heritage aspects of this historical fort that needs periodic maintenance. 

The Golconda  fort, Hyderabad. hyderabad.telangana.gov.in

Golconda fort, India  thehansindia.com

It was in 1656 the  Naya Qila that includes  a hillock and a lake, was added as an extension to the outer wall of the fort, enclosing a small area by  the Qutb Shahi dynasty.  The Mughal Army of  Aurangzeb used the hillock to train his guns at the older fort, built in the 12th century. Media reports and heritage lovers claim that poor planning and “unscientific and ad-hoc interventions'' have made the fort structurally weak. During rains, etc excess water flow which is not supposed to flow through this area  caused additional damages to the fort wall.  According to  Sajjad Shahid, a civil engineer and co-convenor of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) prompt action by the ASI is a must to prevent further damages.  Mohammed Saifullah, a heritage activist said that a large part of the upper parapet of the fortification behind the Makki Darwaza collapsed in the afternoon due to the incessant rains Qutb Shahi-era rampart wall in Golconda is  on verge of collapse; 

 Primary cause of this severe damage is due to  rechannelling of water in this site that  negatively impacted the ramparts of Hyderabad’s famous heritage monument

 A 52-acre golf course came up recently in the  Naya Qila portion of the Golconda Fort and it was done by changing the terrain. The bastion near the baobab tree known as Tad Burj, is a tee-off point, The change included  filling up the water body inside the fortification. The source of water is  from the lake outside the fort, which used to flow into the fort, but it is channelised through a new opening created two years ago. 

The caving in the rampart wall  resulted in the change of alignment of rock blocks.  Architect Sibghat Khan, who noticed  the changes in the fort wall during a heritage walk said “The wall was not damaged overnight. It happened due to channelling of water from the Shah Hatim Lake to prevent flooding in Nadeem Colony. If the water can be drained through the moat, further damage can be limited,

Since Oct. 2020  the AST has known the seepage problems at  parts of Golconda Fort and  and the people are worried about insecure    boulders protruding from above.  This is part of the heritage architecture  is well planned in such a way as to  allow the water .to drain out naturally without  causing stress to the fort wall. 

In another incident in the same month, a portion of inner fortification of the Golconda Fort, near the Jagadambika temple inside the fort complex collapsed due to heavy rains. In September 2020  a portion of the Golconda Fort gateway, Moti Darwaza was damaged due to heavy rains.

 Considering the heritage value of the fort, its popularity  and  vast size, the ASI has to be extra vigilant and take precautions to strengthen the structure before the rainy season. Golconda Fort is listed as an archaeological treasure by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. The Government should not let it rot.