Neglect leads to rot of Hyderabad’s Qutb Shahi relic
Inside what used to be the Gowlipura darwaza in the necropolis of Rifai’e stands two gombuz (domes). Inside the bigger one, on a raised platform, lay the graves of Khairat Khan and his minor son. Khan was a nobleman in the court of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah VII. Constructed i
HYDERABAD:Inside what used to be the Gowlipura darwaza in the necropolis of Rifai’e stands two gombuz (domes). Inside the bigger one, on a raised platform, lay the graves of Khairat Khan and his minor son. Khan was a nobleman in the court of Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah VII. Constructed in 1655 AD in Qutb Shahi style of architecture, the external walls of the tomb are adorned with jaali panels.
However, gross neglect and lack of maintenance over the years has turned the elegant structure into a crumbling eye sore. Firstly, the raised five-feet platform lies dilapidated with portions of it inaccessible because it has started sinking. From the gaps between the dislocated platform parts, plants could be seen sprouting, and the usual litter of empty alcohol bottles, broken CDs and so forth could be found dumped. Ironically, the Department of Archaeology and Museums describes the tomb as: “One of the iconic structures dating back to the dynastic rulers of Hyderabad and the walls of this tomb are still intact showing the skill of Qutb Shahi eras.”
In a more dismal state is the second tomb, adjacent to the one dedicated to Khan. It’s said to be of his wife, although there is no inscription on the grave. It lies on the ground level and remains unlocked unlike Khairat Khan’s. Apart from the dome being virtually inaccessible because garbage is dumped all the way from the lane to the entrance, stray dogs have made the 400-year-old relic their home.
Septuagenarian Syed Yasin Ali, whose family manages the workings of the Rifai Dargah and cemetery located beside the tombs, said they approached the Wakf Board several times seeking renovation but no action has been taken. “About seven-eight years ago, the government mended the upper reaches of the tomb, including minarets. However, there has been no activity since then. In fact, there was a watchman stationed here until a few years ago, but he was discontinued,” Ali said.
A highly-placed official in the Department of Archaeology and Museums redirected our queries on the matter to another official. The second official shirked off the questions saying he “does not deal with this.” On insistence, he said he does not want to answer any questions on Khairat Khan’s tomb. However, Telangana Waqf Board Shia member Hyder Agha Qibla said, “We will look into the matter and take necessary steps to preserve it.”
Khairat Khan was deputed by Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah VII as an ambassador to the court of Persian king Shah Abbas Safavi. In 1634, he returned to Hyderabad after spending nearly 10 years in Persia. Khan even built many shops close to the Northern steps of the Musa Burj. The headstone of Khan’s grave shows that the death happened in 1655.