HYDERABAD: Summer is here, so is holiday season for schools. This is the time of the year when historical tourist destinations like Charminar witness maximum footfall. Regardless of the heat, thousands of domestic and international tourists arrive to visit the historical monument. However, this year, many were worried that the ongoing Charminar Pedestrianisation Project(CPP) works would become a damper for tourists. But numbers say otherwise.
Department of Tourism figures show an increase in visitors in the month of March compared to last year. While 83,210 people visited the monument in March last year, the figure for corresponding period in 2018 stood at a whopping 93,142. All the above figures are of domestic visitors and there has been no increase in international visitors.
As part of CPP, the area around the 427-year-old monument is being laid with paver stones and the formerly congested area is now wide and free for movement. The stalls have been pushed far ahead and the area has been completely widened making it free for pedestrians to walk freely. “It used to be chaotic earlier as people did not have enough space to park their cars. Now, it’s far better. They park either at Chowmahalla Palace or at the Unani Hospital. As a result, it has become easier to manage the crowd,” says a traffic constable.
With no parking allowed beyond a point, local shopkeepers have found a new business —rent the space outside their shops to those who want to park their vehicles. They charge as little as `10 and visitors are happy to pay the amount. However, traffic police officials claimed they are unaware of such an arrangement.
“Preservation will be a never-ending process”
Two years ago, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) took up conservation works of the four towering minars of Charminar. ASI officials, who are responsible for the restoration and conservation of the monument, say conservation will be an ongoing process. This, however, will not put an restriction on entry of visitors. “There will be unforeseen events affecting the health of the monument or any heritage site. So this will be a never-ending process. Currently, we are focusing on disintegration of the plaster and ensuring that the whole monument has a single coat with no gaps or breakages,” said Milan Kumar Chauley, superintending archaeologist from ASI.
What is Charminar Pedestrian Project?
Charminar Pedestrian Project aims at improving the quality of urban environment around Charminar in order to make it more accessible, secure for visitors as well as to restore the cultural heritage for the future generations