Thursday, 20 June 2019

Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower, Hyderabad, India - a simple and impressive heritage structure

Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower  Hyderabad, India.  en.wikipedia.org
Considered to be an important part of Hyderabad architectural heritage, Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower is a five-storied  tall clock tower  that  was built in 1892 by Asman Jah, a palgah noble and  Prime Minister of Hyderabad (1887-94).  It was built in Indo-European style with a four-faced, free-standing structure,  diminishing in elevation and plan  from the ground up. It is in the   middle of a big  elevated garden  named after Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, sixth Nizam. It was a gift to the commoners to keep track of the time as there were no wrist watches or table clocks in those days. The Clock Tower, Mahboob Chowk was awarded the INTACH Heritage Award in 2008.

Until recently this 127 year old clock tower  was in a state of neglect and decay. It became a hangout for the hobos, junkies and drunks. The plastering  on the tower was peeling  off and there was a thick growth of vegetation sprouting from the cracks. One could see the growth of moss all around the structure. Now, this heritage structure is back to glory and  in October 2018, the clock started ticking after a long gap. Thanks to the restoration work undertaken by GHMC as part of the Charminar Pedestrian Project (CPP).

The five major clock towers in the city, namely the ones at Moazzam Jahi Market, Shah Ali Banda, Monda Market, Sultan Bazaar and Mahboob Chowk, have been lying defunct for  several years.  The GHMC began the restoration work  on Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower after several,complaints. 
Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower  Hyderabad, India.fourtowers.blogspot.com
The lower two parts have  cantilevered balconies all around the tower wall supported by  Qutub Shahi style brackets with low intricately wrought metal railings.  The architectural attractions are the Clerestory windows above the door openings, the base in dressed granite with a small central portion in stucco  and an arch on top.  In another part/ stage the corners are decorated with slender detached Corinthian columns and the finial is a cupola of smooth stucco plaster resting on an octagonal base.

Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower  Hyderabad, Indiaen.wikipedia.org
Located in the midst of a garden, the clock tower has four clocks on four sides. So, one could see time from any direction. The clock tower is designed in the Turkish style. Lots of people visit this place as it is close to the Charminar and  Laad Bazaar. The Mahboob Chowk was once a commercial community shopping center of the city with shops selling a variety of  wares from household items  of daily use, etc. Close to the clock tower are some heritage structures like Moti Mahal built in 1880 and the mosque west of the tower. The latter was rebuilt by the VI Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan in 1904http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2018/oct/01/mahboob-chowk-clock-starts-ticking-again-1879387.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahboob_Chowk_Clock_Tower