''Moazzam Jahi Clock Tower'', Hyderabad- both clock and market complex got back their old world charm

clock tower M J Market in Hyderabad picxy.com

clock tower M J Market in Hyderabad ndiatimes.com

Hyderabad, India, mapsofindia.com

Clock towers were part of many cities and towns during the colonial days. In the later years iconic clock towers were built to honor the local king or the famous personality of that town or a visiting dignitary. Such impressive towers - be they small or big served  dual purposes - they showed the time of the day or night and as they were  in a prime locality they served as an important landmark of the town or city.  Because of changing socio and economic scenario their popularity is on the decline, but their old charm still persists as they are declared as heritage structures linking the present with the past era. 

Moazzam Jahi Clock Tower, Hyderabad. in.pinterest.com

renovated M J Market in Hyderabadthehindu.com

Above image:  Greater Hyderabad; The old clocks in clocktowers in the city are chiming again after years of neglect. Thanks to the efforts made by the  civic body and a clock maker team who modernized them. Among the first clocks to be repaired was the Secunderabad Clock Tower (December 2020) followed by  this one at the M J Market in Hyderabad......

Across India the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, Telangana  have the rare distinction of possessing several colonial clocks towers of various sizes and shapes at various places and they all  came up before 1947. Standing majestically as examples of imaginative, artistic and structural skills of men of bygone era, in the erstwhile capital of the Nizam alone there are about 13 clock towers. Many of them have been dysfunctional for reasons of  lack of clock mechanics with expertise in old imported  clocks, non-availability of spares for the worn-out parts, etc.  Yet other bottlenecks are periodic changing of batteries with worn out parts and the height of towers. In case of rains, the clock batteries get damaged due to leaks in the building and the corporation can not carry out  any  civil work as the towers carry heritage tags.

Grand entrance gate. MJ market, Hyderabad

Renovation wok. Moazzam Jahi market, Hyderabad indiatimes.com

repair work. Moazzam Jahi Clock Tower, Hyderabad. .deccanchronicle.com

Above image:  Moazzam Jahi  Market Clock Tower in Abids: The Ramesh Swiss Watch Gallery of  Secunderabad, was given the work to fix one of the four clocks. In may 2019, because of heavy wind one of the hands fell off. the clock. Connected to an electronic device which shows a uniform time on all four clocks, the dial has a diameter of  5’-1”. The hands of the clocks are made from fiber instead of metal. The renovated 85 year old  Moazzam Jahi Market, a heritage monument,  was reopen to public on the day of India's independence in 2020. Covering 1.77 acres of land the renovation cost was Rs. 15 crore.  It included the entire structure with new flooring and architectural lights, water-proofing on the terrace, a new drainage system, underground duct for cables, etc., footpath with bollards, replacing of four clocks and restoration of the gold finials on top of the clock towers. Restoration of the grand entrance gate is a great feat. the legacy of the past is preserved with its charm and splendor..... .

clock tower M J Market in Hyderabad .thehindu.com

The Sultan Bazar Clock Tower inside the Residency  building, Moazzam Jahi Clock tower,  the clocks at the Shahalibanda and Murgi Chowk and others are part of the history of these twin cities. Decades ago they were  functioning properly as they were periodically being well-maintained.  Be they students or workers or common men or  just commuters,  the hourly reverberating sound of the clock inside the Residency Building and other clocks at many places was a familiar one and could be heard at far off places. 

Before India's  independence and in the later period  people had to depend on  clock towers to check time. But with the advent of mobile phones and advanced digital watches, these  vintage clock towers have lost their importance and public utility. These once iconic towers still stand at vantage places as vestiges of past era- either colonial or monarchial. 

Efforts are afoot to make them functional soon but they are  beset with many hitches. In the colonial days they functioned smoothly and the spares were available easily.  With the passage of time and change of technology, the old system of  clock technology - a geared mechanism to move the hour and minute hand and bang the gong periodically- has become obsolete.  They require constant vigil and maintenance. The expensive spare parts are  difficult to be procured; each of the geared wheel is as big as a football. As for battery operated clocks,  they need regular upkeep and must be kept in safe places without any leak in the walls or roofs. 

In the twin cities the clock tower project contractor Ramesh Watch Company  opted for  improvised  digital clocks with GPS - Global Positioning System (GPS) and are accurate to 500 millisecs. Carefully provided with with an amplifier and a speaker, the customized chimes can be heard in a radius of two km. The advantage is if the electric supply is disrupted due to outage, etc., clocks readjust the time.

The city officials are repairing the dysfunctional clock towers      Among the first clocks to be repaired were the Secunderabad Clock (functioning since December 2020)  and  the Moazzam Jahi Clock Tower.  When the work began on  the latter  the team had just completed the work when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread fast; though the work was interrupted, after a year, the clock kept functioning. It is said the rest of the clock towers will become functional in the near future.