Ramp work at Moula Ali shrine is altering the historic site’s structure

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Hyderabad: Little by little, the Qutb Shahi era historic Moula Ali shrine is being robbed of its sheen and original heritage. With works to build a new ramp going on in full swing, the development work on the huge rock is coming at the cost of the city’s history, given that the site’s very shape is being altered.

As of now, the state government is constructing a second ramp to allow cars or vehicles to reach the top most part of the shrine. Earlier, one ramp was built some years ago to facilitate vehicles to reach halfway up the huge rock. While there is a case to construct the ramp, especially for aged people to reach the shrine easily, the works are coming at the cost of changing the historical site’s very shape.

Moreover, on the western side of the Koh-e-Moula Ali shrine, where the current work is ongoing, old Nizam-era structures have been lost due to the rock’s partial destruction. In the first phase earlier, the ramp was built on the right side of the first landing. Under the second phase, an 850-metre ramp is being built. It lands behind the shrine where a parking lot is being constructed.

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“While there is a need for an easier way to reach up the shrine, the ongoing works are causing harm to the Moula Ali shrine. Some of the Nizam-era pavilions on the huge rock have been lost now,” said Hyder Razvi, a member of the Shia Muslim community, and a local activist. Moreover, the question also arises as to how the state government has altered a historical site without the required permission, or if that is even allowed, given that the Moula Ali shrine is older than even the Charminar.

When contacted, a senior official from the Waqf Board said that whatever works are being carried out have the requisite permission from the concerned authorities. On pressing further as to how a heritage site can be altered just like that, the official who did not want to be quoted, told Siasat.com that nothing unauthorised was being done. However, it may be noted that making such drastic changes on such medieval sites is typically not allowed.

History of Moula Ali

The story of how the Moula Ali shrine was built goes back to the reign of sultan Ibrahim Qutb Shah (1550-80), the third of the Golconda kings. it is said that Mallik Yakoot, a transgender person, had come to rest at the Lalaguda area to recover from an ailment. While resting there, he reportedly had a dream in which he was asked to follow a man in green robes and climb up the hill.

It is said that Yakoot, after reaching on top, saw Imam Ali (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammed), only to then wake up from his dream. However, he then went up the hill for real, it is said, and saw the hand print of Imam Ali branded on a part of the rock. The hand mark was then supposedly hewn out of the rock and placed in the great arch at the site, which everyone goes to today. The Moula Ali shrine has been importance since then, and predates Hyderabad.

Ibrahim Qutb Shah was also the father of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who eventually built Hyderabad in 1591, with the Charminar being the first or foundational monument of the new city built then. The Qutb Shahi empire was vanquished in 1687 during an eight-month long battle with the Mughals, lead by emperor Aurangzeb.

The Nizams of Hyderabad, who were essentially high-ranking Mughal officials, eventually became governors of the Deccan. The first Nizam, Kamruddin Khan, took over as the governor of the Deccan in 1724, and ruled from Aurangabad, which was the first capital of the dominion.