Surge of trash lays siege to Golconda

Hyderabad’s iconic monument has never smelled so bad in its 500-year history

The Golconda Fort in Hyderabad is a treasure trove of tales about valour and betrayal. It is a standing monument to medieval art, craftsmanship, techniques of warfare, and construction know-how. But today the iconic heritage site is sinking under filth and garbage, so much so that tourists walk through its precincts with handkerchiefs to their noses.

A rancid smell pervades the entire 13 sq km fort area. Residents in the locality live with the foul odour even as garbage keeps piling up and sewerage lines remain clogged.

Even the Fort’s moat serves a function never imagined by its original architects — it is a massive garbage bin.

The Moti Darwaza, a narrow ‘S’-shaped gateway originally built to keep rampaging elephants out, is permeated by stench from garbage bins placed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). “Those in cars can zip away, but for students of the nearby Shangrila and Gowtam School, walking is an ordeal. If they walk on either side of the road, they could slip and fall on the garbage,” says Muhammad Altafuddin, who runs a restaurant.

The population of the Golconda area is 2,13,359 as per the 2011 Census, while GHMC officials peg the current population at over three lakh.

“Every day we lift about 10 tonnes of garbage using small tipper autos — about 1.5 tonnes from the houses and the rest from six public bins,” says a senior GHMC official.

Waiting for old maps

Sewage continues to flow on the main road, shocking visitors. “I am trying to get older fort maps. These had marked out areas under the the Archaeological Survey of India and the Army. If revenue officials give the information, we can remove the encroachments,” says Milan Kumar Chauley, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI.

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