Aga Khan Trust for Culture is an organization currently spearheading the ten-year restoration project of India’s Hyderabad tombs. Sitting in the Qutb Shahi Heritage park, the landmark is 108 acres and has over 75 monuments that lie across the area. As a memorial to the Qutb Shahi family, which ruled India’s Hyderabad area for close to 170 years, the tombs have been dubbed by the Aga organization as the country’s most significant historical site for Islam.
While the monuments were not a massive travel attraction in the past, the hopes are that numbers will increase dramatically after the project is complete. It began in 2013, and each of the site’s monuments are receiving conservation work and renovations. The project includes 23 mosques, 40 majestic mausoleums, six step-wells, pavilions, garden structures, and a hamam bath.
CNN reported that each of the tombs have unique characteristics, bringing in architectural styles of Hindu, Persian, and Pathan elements. An Aga Khan representative has stated that a tremendous amount of work has been done, with 20 of these monuments already finished, while landscaping restoration is currently being conducted throughout the park.
Specifically, the restoration project is targeting bulges and cracks for repair, and replacing any architectural elements that might be missing, such as stucco plasterwork or stone. To ensure the authenticity of these monuments are maintained, original materials are solely being used, in the likes of stone and lime mortar. Additionally, a large team of traditional craftsmen have been hired to perform the delicate aspects of restoration, and they are using hand tools to conduct these reconstruction activities.
The project is so hefty in nature, the spokesperson for the project added that it will take several million man-hours to complete, using horticulturists, plasters, stone carvers, carpenters, masons, and glazed-tile makers. There are also plans in the works to build a walking trail and museum on site.
Phase one won’t be complete until 2018, however guests are encouraged to visit and walk around a majority of the park and marvel at the tremendous amount of restorative work that has been done to date. In fact, the organization is saying that once finished the tombs will be comparable to the Taj Mahal as one of the best architectural wonders in India.
Located on the west side of Hyderabad (on its outskirts), Qutb Shahi Heritage Park is close to the incredible Golconda Fort, and promises to be a must-see attraction for those travelling to India.