HYDERABAD: The artisans are busy at work restoring the damaged stuccos of the Charminar. However, unfortunately, they are unable to replicate the intricate details of the original designs.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials say these artisans, who are from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, do not have the expertise to replicate intricate designs. “When it comes to intricate designs, they are comfortable working with cement. But when it comes to lime mortar, they are not able to do the same,” said an ASI official.
For instance, the mosque at the top of Charminar has a fine floral design, with flowers interspersed at intervals with small animals. When the artisans took up the restoration work, they were not able to match the floral designs with the original.
Apart from it being a testament to the skill that artisans of the 19th century had, it is also a glaring reflection on bureaucratic red-tape that ASI faces on a day-to-day basis. The ASI official said that the mortar that is used for these designs is different from those that are used at other places, such as walls and so on.
The official said, “Almost 22 ingredients are needed to make the mortar for these designs. Many a time, these materials are unavailable.” To top that, there is the added expenditure pertaining to importing labor from other States, incurring traveling costs, food and so on. The ASI official said that the permission for these takes a lot of time, and often gets stuck in the bureaucratic process.
ASI wants GHMC to inspect drainage system nearby
The Archaeological Survey of India has urged the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to inspect the drainage system to ensure that there is no leakage of water into the foundation of the Charminar.
It had come to light a recently that heavy construction works were taken up within the 100 m perimeter to the monument. It was reported that the earth was dug deep. An ASI official said there are drainage systems beneath the Charminar Pedestrian Project (CPP) pavement, and that the construction work nearby could damage that.
He said that if there was any leakage, it could flow into the foundation of the iconic structure, damaging it, and thus requested the GHMC to inspect the same