Hyderabad City

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Hyderabad City

This article has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.

{Haidarabad). — Capital of Hyderabad Stale, or the Nizams Dominions, situated in 17° 22' N. and 78° 27' E., on the right bank of the Musi river, a tributary of the Kistna. It is the fourth largest city in the whole of India. The population (including the suburbs, Residency Bazars, and the adjoining cantonment) was : (1881) 367,417, (1891) 415,039, and (1901) 448,466. In the last year, Hindus numbered 243,241, Musalmans 189,152, and Christians 13,923. There were also 863 Sikhs, 929 Parsis, 318 Jains, and 40 others. Hyderabad is on the Nizam's State Railway, distant by rail from Bombay 492 miles, from Madras 533 miles, and from Calcutta 987 miles. The city was founded in 1589 by Muhammad Kuli, the fifth Kutb Shahi king, who ruled at Golconda, five miles west of Hyderabad. It was first named Bliagnagar, but the name was afterwards changed to Hyderabad. It continued to prosper until Aurangzeb began to interfere between the king and his discontented minister, Mir Jumla, in 1665. In 1687 Golconda was stormed and Hyderabad fell into the hands of the Mughals, in whose possession it remained until the first Nizam pro- claimed his independence, and made it his capital.

The city is surrounded by a stone wall flanked with bastions, and pierced with thirteen gates and twelve khirkls or posterns. It is built in the form of a parallelogram, 6 miles in circumference and 2\ square miles in area. The wall was commenced by Mubariz Khan, the last Mughal SF/l>a/iddr, and completed by the first of the Nizams. The city has extended beyond its former limits on the north and east. Four bridges span the Musi. The Burana Pul, or 'old bridge,' is the westernmost, and the Oliphant Bridge the easternmost, while between these two are the Afzal Bridge and the Champa Gate Bridge.

The most imposing of the buildings due to the Kutb Shahi kings is the Char Minar, or 'four minarets,' erected in 1591, and occupying a central position in the city, with four roads radiating from its base. The minarets, 180 feet high, spring from the abutments of open arches facing the cardinal points. During the occupation of the Mughals, one of the minarets was struck by lightning, and its reconstruction cost Rs. 60,000. M. Bussy, the French general, and his troops occupied the Char ISIinar in 1756. The building was thoroughly renovated by Sir Salar Jang a few years before his death. Close to the Char Minar are the Char Kaman, or 'four arches,' built in 1593 over four streets, leading to the four quarters of the city. The Char-su-ka-Hauz, or ' cistern of four roads,' is situated to the north of the Char Minar.

The king had a pavilion erected near the cistern, from which he used to witness the manoeuvring of his troops. The Dar-ush-shifa (hospital), about 200 yards to the north-west of the PuranI Haveli ('old palace'), built by Sultan Kuli Kutb Shah, is a large building consisting of a pa\ed quadrangular courtyard, with chambers all round for the arcommodation of the sick. A number of native physicians were formerly maintained to minister to the sick and to teach medicine, but the building is now used as a barrack for some of the irregular troops. Opposite the entrance is a fine mosque erected at the same time as the hospital. The Ashur Khana, a large building west of Sir Salar Jang's palace, was erected by Sultan Muhammad Kuli Kutb Shah in 1594, at a cost of Rs. 66,000. It is used for the Muharram ceremonies. The Purana Pul (' old bridge ') connects the city with the Karvan road to Golconda. It consists of 23 arches, and is 600 feet long, 2)Z broad, and 54 above the river-bed, and was built in 1593.

The river is very narrow here, and the banks are steep. The Gosha Mahal palace, erected by Abul Hasan, the last Kutb Shahi king, stands a mile north of the city, and has a large cistern and pleasure-grounds for the zanana. It was used until lately as a barrack, but is now a military club. The Mecca mosque, situated to the south-west of the Char Minar, is 225 feet long, 180 broad, and 75 high, and is built entirely of stone, occupying a paved quadrangle 360 feet square. Fifteen arches support the roof, which is surmounted by two large domes, rising 100 feet above it. It can accommodate 10,000 wor- shippers. Muhammad ^ Kutb Shah commenced the building, and after his death its construction was continued by Abul Hasan, but Aurangzeb completed it. Nizam All Khan and all his successors are interred in the grounds of this mosque. The Jama Masjid, which is near the Char Minar, was built in 1596. Ruins of a Turkish bath are to be seen in the courtyard. With the exception of the Mecca Masjid and the Gosha Mahal, all these buildings were constructed by Sultan Muhammad Kuli Kutb Shah, who is .said to have spent three millions sterling on public buildings and irrigation works, while his nobles followed his example. An extensive burial-ground, known as Mir .VIomin's Daira, was originally consecrated as the necropolis of the Shiah sect by Mir Momin, who came to Hyderabad from Karbaln in the reign of Abdullah Kutb Shah. It contains his remains, but now both Shiahs and Sunnis are buried here. Sir Salar Jang's family burial- ground lies to the south of the Daira.

Among the more recent buildings may be mentioned the rnrnni Havell ('old palace '), an extensive building in the north-eastern (juarier of the city, built by the first of the Xi/ams, and still occasionally used by the present ruler. The Nizam's ("haumahalla palace consists of three quadrangles, with handsome buildings on either side, and large cisterns in the centre. 'I"he palace is luxuriously and tastefully furnished, and the zanana or ladies' apartments lie beyond the third quadrangle. There arc other royal residences at Golconda, Sururnagar, Mania .All,

' Xol to be confounded with his uiule and predecessor, Muhaniiuad Kuli. the t'l Hinder of II\derab.^d city. Asafnagar, Lingampalli, and Malakpct ; but His Highness at present usually resides in Sirdar Villa at Malakpct near the racecourse. Salar Jang's palace is situated near the Afzal Gate and consists of two portions: one containing the l>aradari and Lakkar Kot ('wooden palace ') lies on the right bank of the Musi, and the other is beyond the road leading to the PuranT Havell. Both are extensive buildings covering a large space of ground. Shams-ul-Umara's Baradari, situated in the west of the city, was built by the hrst Shams-ul-Umara on an extensive piece of ground. The Falaknuma, a very fine palace, was built by the late Sir Vikar-ul-Umara on the summit of a hill in the southern suburb of the city, at a cost, it is said, of 35 lakhs. The view of the city and suburbs from this palace is most striking, and no building in Hyderabad equals it in point of architecture or design. It was purchased by the Nizam in 1897. The Jahannuma palace and its beautiful gardens, belonging to the late Sir Asman Jah, are situated north of the Falaknuma. The palace and the bungalows in the gardens contain a great number of ingenious mechanical toys.

The suburbs may be divided into those beyond the river Musi and those adjoining the city. The former comprise Begam Bazar, Karvan, Afzal (lanj, Mushlrabad, Khairatabad, Saifabad, and Chadarghat, extending for a distance of 3 miles from east to west and an average breadth of i^ miles from north to south, covering an area of over 5 square miles. The Residency Bazars are situated to the south-east of these suburbs and to the north-east of the city. The other suburbs adjoining the city to the east and south are known as Yakutpura, Malakpet, and Jahannuma, and occupy an area of 4 square miles.

The Residency is situated on the left bank of the Musi, opposite the north-eastern corner of the city. The building is an imposing one, and stands in the midst of a beautiful park-like expanse, with handsomely laid-out gardens. It was commenced in 1800, under the supervision of Mr. Russell of the Madras Engineers, and was completed about 1807. It contains a Darbar Hall on the ground floor, measuring 60 feet by 33 and 50 feet high. The grounds contain bungalows for the l^^irst and Second Assistant Residents, while the Residency Surgeon resides in a bungalow outside the walls. On the south side are large ranges of offices. Beyond the north gate are the court of the Superintendent of Residency Bazars, the Residency hospital, and the Residency high school and clock-tower ; while the telegraph office is situated to the west of the building. A cemetery close by contains, among other tombs, those of two Residents, Mr. G. A. Bushby and Mr. Roberts, who died respectively in 1856 and 1868 ; and of Sir W. Rumbold, Bart., a partner in the house of Palmer & Co., who died in 1833.

The Residency is surrounded on all sides by populous bazars, over which the Resident exercises civil and criminal jurisdiction. The population of the bazars in 1901 was 16,904, and they form a great centre of trade, where branch houses and representatives of all the wealthy bankers in India are to be found. \Vest of the Residency hospital is the Local Funds building. On the right of the road leading from the western gate of the Residency is located the Hyderabad branch of the Bank of Bengal, an imposing stone building. The British Post Office is situated in the north-west corner of the limits of the Residency Bazars, and a little to the north lie St. George's Church and schools, adjoining which is the old cemetery.

The Husain Sagar, a large sheet of water, which when full extends over an area of 8 square miles, lies between Secuxderabad on the north and Saifabad, a portion of Hyderabad, on the south, and is the source of water-supply for the Residency and suburbs north of the Musi river. The dam is 2,500 yards long, and forms the road con- necting the northern suburbs with Secunderabad. It was built by Sultan Ibrahim Kutb Shah, in about 1575, at a cost of 2^ lakhs. The Mir Alam, situated to the south-west of the city, is another magnificent sheet of water, 8 miles in circumference. The dam consists of a series of 21 semicircular retaining walls with their convex side facing the water. Its total length is 1,120 yards, and it was constructed by French engineers in the Nizam's service. Mir Alam, the Minister, built this, and the Baradari and other buildings, out of the prize-money which fell to his share after the fall of Seringapatam. The dam alone cost 8 lakhs. The city and suburbs are now amply supplied with water from these two large tanks, ^^'ater-works have been constructed, though the systems are not yet complete. This supply has led to a considerable improvement in sanitation ; and cholera, which used to be an annual visitor, has not been known in the city for the last few years.

The houses of well-to-do people in the city are chiefly built of stone and brick, standing within large gardens. Those of the commontr people were formerly built of mud, but are now gradually being replaced by brick structures. The old streets and lanes were narrow, l)ut have of late been widened through the exertions of the municipality. In the northern suburbs, however, most of the houses are of a much superior plan, resembling the bungalows of Europeans, and are situated in suitable compounds. It may be said that practically three-fourths of the old city and suburbs have been rebuilt or renovated since the ministry of the late Sir Salar Jang, in addition to the buildings erected during the last half-century.

Hyderabad now contains three colleges, several English and verna- cular schools, a large Roman Catholic church, and a number of places of worship for other Christian denominations. The public gardens, beautifully laid out, with two large tanks in the centre, and surrounded by a picturesque wall, lie at the foot of the Naubat Pahar. To the south of these gardens is the Hyderabad station of the Nizam's Guaranteed State Railway. Near the Afzal Bridge are the Afzal Ganj Hospital and Mosque ; the former has accommodation for 78 in-patients, and a large staff of surgeons and nurses. Most of the State secretariats and other offices are situated in Saifabad and Chadarghat, but the High Court and the Small Cause and Magistrates' Courts, the Treasury, and the Accountant General's and certain other offices are located in the city. The system of municipal administration and the arts and manufactures carried on in the city are described in the article on Hyderabad state.

Ameenpur Lake

Serish Nanisetti, First Biodiversity Heritage Site in India: fish for everyone, June 3, 2017: The Hindu

Ameenpur Lake today brims with life.

Ameenpur Lake becomes the first Biodiversity Heritage Site in the country. Fish and birds return, but much remains to be done

On the western fringes of Hyderabad, surrounded by fantastic primordial rock formations, modern apartments, factories and a village, is a sprawling and ancient man-made lake. Ameenpur Lake dates back to the time of Ibrahim Qutb Shah, who ruled the kingdom of Golconda between 1550 and 1580. According to one account, the tank was excavated to irrigate a large public garden. The lake is now divided into two parts called Pedda Ameenpur and Chinna Cheruvu.

As of June 2017, Ameenpur Lake has the distinction of being the first water body in the country to be declared a Biodiversity Heritage Site. The biodiversity tag was awarded for the Pedda Ameenpur Lake, which is at a higher elevation than Chinna Cheruvu.

The lake brims with life: bar-headed geese, cormorants, ruddy shelducks, and grey herons. The checkered keelback snake snaps up fish and buffaloes wallow in the deep end. Farmers harvest paddy at the shoreline. The teeming birdlife was one of the reasons Ameenpur Lake caught the imagination of the average person; birders and photographers throng the lake to catch sight of flamingos, pelicans and cormorants swallowing fish or—even better—birds swooping down to steal a fish from a water snake.

During the famous annual bird race, Hyderabad’s birdwatchers generally make the lake their first stop. At last count (in 2016), the lake recorded 186 species, up from 171 in 2015.

Urban mess

The biodiversity tag, says G. Sailu, project coordinator of the Telangana State Biodiversity Board, can play an important role in protecting such lakes that are otherwise rapidly disappearing due to the ravages of urbanisation. “We have been able to stop encroachments, garbage dumping and the disturbance to birds that used to occur here. If we can conserve this lake, we can use it as a role model for other lakes across the country,” says Sailu.

Spread across 93 acres, the lake is still less than a third of its original size of 300 acres because of rampant encroachment.

Despite this, all is not well with Ameenpur Lake. Spread across 93 acres, the lake is still less than a third of its original size of 300 acres because of rampant encroachment. A new cinderblock brick kiln has come up on one side of the lake. Satellite images show a sewer from a chemical industry complex on its western shore discharging effluents into the lake.

Sitting in the shade of an ancient peepul tree, Narasimha Reddy, the village patel who looks equally ancient, tut-tuts the biodiversity tag. “It has not changed anything. Do you see a change? The water is green. Even 10-15 years ago, we used to drink the water from the lake. If you threw a coin into the water, you could see it clearly deep inside. Now your skin will peel off if you dip your hand into the lake,” he says.

Srikant Bhamidipati of the Birdwatchers Society of Andhra Pradesh also sounds a bit sceptical. “The number of bird species appears to have come down; there are fewer trees now; and a foul smell pervades the lake. Birdwatchers and fishers—they come and go, they don’t disturb the habitat. But the lake continues to be under threat from several other sources, and a single clean-up is not going to help.” .

No more thermocol

On the other hand, many of those who depend on the lake for their livelihood are delighted. The fish catch has gone up, for one. “Earlier, the lake would shrink every summer reducing the catch, but this year the water spread has been consistent and we didn’t have to spread our nets across the whole lake,” says Venkatesh, a fisherman from Ameenpur village, as he picks out the smaller fish still entangled in his fine net. Until two years ago, fishermen used drums and firecrackers to shoo away the birds that competed with them for the catch. But now there is enough fish for everyone.

The cleanliness of the lake has improved too, he says: “We used to get plastic bottles, plastic sheets, pieces of thermocol, and bits of rubber tyres entangled in our nets. Not any more.”

In turn, the fishermen have been forbidden from bringing their vehicles right to the edge of the lake as they used to before. “We have to carry the catch to the road now,” says Venkatesh.

“It was because of the biodiversity tag that the government was granted ₹3.72 crore to improve the weir, open up inlets and clean up the lake,” says Tejdeep Kaur Menon, an IPS officer who has commanded and cajoled the neighbourhood as well as the trainees at Telangana State Special Protection Force to clean up the lake.

“We have helped sensitise 123 housing colonies in the area about sorting garbage and littering. We blocked off the road on the lake bund after we discovered that aluminum cans containing chemicals were being dumped in the lake. “The offending pharmaceutical company agreed to pay up ₹16 lakh as penalty to the Pollution Control Board,” says Menon.

Other companies are being persuaded to set up sewage treatment plants. A number of borewells had been sunk in at the shore, with water siphoned off to nearby colonies. That has also been stopped. A survey for marking the Full Tank Level has been carried out. Once the markers are in place, it will reduce chances of further encroachments.

Meanwhile, other birders are not complaining. They say that the number of birds and their diversity has gone up. Pelicans would not typically visit the lake, but they arrived in large numbers last year. Recently, a few bar-headed geese were spotted for the first time too.

The recently formed Biodiversity Management Committee is obviously still finding its feet. “We have begun in a small way. We are planning to construct a fence around the lake once the funds kick in. Our panchayat has sanctioned ₹5 lakh for the project. Right now, our biggest role is to raise awareness about the lake’s ecological importance,” says village sarpanch Srinivas Goud, who is part of the committee. “Most school children now understand the importance of protecting the lake. That I think is a good beginning.”

Neknampur Lake

Attempts to purify the lake

February 2018/ Use of tulsi and ashvagandha

Syes Mohammed, Tulsi and ashvagandha to purify Hyderabad lake, February 2, 2018: The Hindu

See picture:

Plants on the ‘floating treatment wetland' help to clean the lake by absorbing nitrates in the water (Neknampur Lake, Hyderabad). Photo Credit- Nagara Gopal

Plants on the ‘floating treatment wetland' help to clean the lake by absorbing nitrates in the water (Neknampur Lake, Hyderabad). Photo Credit- Nagara Gopal
From: Syes Mohammed, Tulsi and ashvagandha to purify Hyderabad lake, February 2, 2018: The Hindu

From a distance, it might appear as if hyacinth has consumed the Neknampur Lake in Hyderabad city. But a closer inspection will reveal that there is more to the water body than meets the eye. Gently floating on the surface is an artificial ‘island’ made of meticulously chosen plant species.

“The island is a floating treatment wetland (FTW). Several plants on this FTW help clean the lake by absorbing nutrients such as excess nitrates and oxygen present in the water. They thus reduce the content of these chemicals,” says Madhulika Choudhary, who heads Dhruvansh, an NGO.

The FTW on Neknampur Lake was inaugurated on February 2, World Wetlands Day. Measuring 3,000 sq. ft., the FTW is a joint effort of Dhruvansh, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, the Ranga Reddy district administration and other organisations. It has already been recognised by the India Book of Records as the largest FTW in the country.

Based on the soil-less hydroponics technique, the FTW comprises four layers. Floatable bamboo forms its base, over which Styrofoam cubicles are placed. The third layer consists of gunny bags. The final layer is of gravel. “Hydroponics permits plants to grow only on sunlight and water. There is no need of soil. There are small holes at the bottom which facilitate the flow of nutrients from the water to the plants (biological uptake process), which are held upright by the gravel layer,” Ms. Choudhary says.

Cleaning agents planted on the FTW include vetivers, canna, cattalis, bulrush, citronella, hibiscus, fountain grass, flowering herbs, tulsi and ashvagandha.

Micro-organisms growing on the FTW and plant root systems break down and consume the organic matter in the water through microbial decomposition. The root systems filter out sediments and pollutants. The NGO claims that FTW is strong and can hold the weight of as many as four people. Compared to sewage treatment plants, this method is much cheaper.

Periodic biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) readings are taken from the Pollution Control Board. When the project began, the BOD was 27 mg/l. “When the first small island (100 sq ft) was floated here eight months ago, we knew it was too little to clean up the entire lake. We are hoping that in four to six months there will be a fundamental change because of the FTW,” Ms. Chaudhary says.


1990-2017: urban area stretches from less than 22,000 to 72,000 hectares

Sudipta Sengupta, Hyderabad grows 3-fold, leaves no space to breathe, October 29, 2017: The Times of India

Change in land prices in Hyderabad, area-wise, 2009-14 and 2014-17
From: Sudipta Sengupta, Hyderabad grows 3-fold, leaves no space to breathe, October 29, 2017: The Times of India


Hyderabad's current spread, according to the study , is higher than most Indian cities

Rough estimates suggest that land available for Rs 30,000 (approx) per square yard in pockets such as Marredpally , even until 10 years ago, are now valued at Rs 60,000 per square yard

From less than 22,000 hectares in 1990 the urban extent of Hyderabad, over the next two-and-half decades, spiraled to over 72,000 hectares, shows an international multi-phased research -atlas for urban expansion. Its current spread, according to the same study , is higher than most Indian cities.

But while this rapid growth is indicative of Hyderabad's phenomenal success in attracting more business houses and talented human resource to its shores, it also speaks of the doom that the rising value of real estate - an offshoot of the same development story -has spelt for the city's open spaces.

If the earlier settlements, particularly centered around the twin city of Secunderabad, have lost many of their local parks and green pathways, the modern IT corridor has raised its concrete head at the cost of vast agricultural stretches. In fact, multiple studies point to a steep 50 per cent or more drop in the rain-fed agricultural expanse of the city, by the turn of the new millennium, especially in hi-tech Hyderabad.

"Even till the late 1970s, the area from Banjara Hills onwards -towards the western corridor -was nothing but barren land. I recollect being offered land on Road No 12 for Rs 3 a square yard. I refused because I thought it was back of the beyond. Now, the land values run into crores," said Capt (retd) J Rama Rao, who has been championing the green cause for years.

On the other side too, right from Begumpet to Sanikpuri, the land values have tripled over time. Rough estimates suggest that land available for Rs 30,000 (approx) per square yard in pockets such as Marredpally , even until 10 years ago, are now valued at Rs 60,000 per square yard.

"Every piece of open space is now being eyed as prime property. The government is equally responsible. It is going after whatever little lung space the city has to construct offices or infrastructure projects - under the garb of serving the people," complained a green activist part of the 'Save KBR' movement questioning the state's move to lease out a portion abutting the national park for a multi-core realty project.The land for the project was auctioned for a jaw-dropping Rs 335 crore in 2006.

But even as common citizens point fingers at developers, members of this community insist that a majority of them abide by the 10 per cent open space rule. "In fact, 25 per cent of our land is kept under mortgage with the civic body, which releases it only after it physically examines the layout and ensures that this norm (among other rules) has been honoured," said Ashwin Rao, director, Manbhum Constructions adding how the open space, road area is handed over to the government body by developers through a 'gift deed', to procure the occupancy certificate.

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