HMDA set to give Nizamia Observatory facelift soon
Total of Rs 2.3 crore to be spent to restore building, develop landscape
HYDERABAD: Established in Ameerpet in 1901, the Nizamia Observatory has remained unused for over a century. However, it is set to undergo restoration by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) at an estimated cost of Rs 2.30 crore.Arvind Kumar, the Special Chief Secretary of the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) department, made the announcement after inspecting the observatory with HMDA officials on Tuesday.‘’Inspected Nizamiah Observatory today along with an HMDA team. We will be taking up restoration at Rs 2.30 crore and make both units functional including telescopes (sic),” Arvind posted on X.
HMDA officials said the dome-shaped observatory, known for housing one of India’s largest telescopes and for its significance in observing terrestrial and celestial events, currently sits dormant. It is located within the premises of the Centre for Economic and Social Studies in Ameerpet and is under the control of Osmania University (OU). The restoration project will involve giving the building a new appearance, as well as undertaking landscape development in the surrounding area. Notably, observatories like this one are typically situated outside urban areas to ensure clear skies for unobstructed observations, officials said.
The Nizamia Observatory was founded by Nawab Zafar Yar Jung Bahadur, a nobleman and amateur astronomer in Hyderabad, in 1901. Its establishment began with the purchase of a six-inch telescope from England. The construction of the observatory, complete with a special dome to house the 48-inch telescope, commenced in 1963, and the telescope itself was installed in 1968-69. During that time, this telescope ranked among the largest in India, and the research conducted collected at the observatory were published in reputed journals.
In the mid-1950s, due to the expansion of Hyderabad city and increasing air pollution, a new observatory was established on approximately 200 acres of land in Rangapur village. This new observatory was named the Japal-Rangapur Nizamia Observatory and became operational in 1968-69. It was subsequently utilised to observe significant celestial events such as solar eclipses and comets like Halley and Shoemaker-Levy.