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March 06, 2011

Page: 26/39

Home > 2011 Issues > March 06, 2011

News in Brief

17th century Siva temple in utter ruins

HYDERABAD: From being a popular place of worship in the 17th century, the Akkanna Madanna sarai has now turned into an abandoned and dilapidated structure, waiting to crumble any moment.

Located in the Maheshwaram mandal of Hyderabad (close to Shamshabad airport) this religious site, which was among the first few historic structures in Andhra Pradesh to be notified as a 'state-protected monument', has neither been maintained nor restored for the last many years. Constructed during the Qutub Shahi period, the site now lies in ruins with broken walls, pillars and gates.

In fact, a group of heritage conservationists who recently visited the sarai claim that the site has turned into a dump yard over the years, with garbage found littered in every corner of the heritage precinct. "Several parts of the historic structure have either become fragile or fallen off completely. The site looks more like a neglected wasteland than a heritage monument now," said one of them pointing out how new constructions too have sprouted on the premises spread over an area of approximately three to four acres.

"There is a school that has come up within the protected area and work is on to build more fresh structures," the heritage conservationist added.

Activists alleged that repeated requests to the state archaeology department, which is the caretaker of the monument, has failed to yield any result. While the locals of the area, through their own efforts have managed to get a Shiva temple (located on the same premises) functional, they rue that a good part of the site continues to lie in shambles. "Even for taking up minor repairs we are facing serious resistance from the state archaeology department. They are refusing to co-operate," said Lingam Seth, a former president of the temple association. The premises also has a mosque that is frequented by devotees.

While heritage experts find no faults with the government department for checking the locals from interfering with the repair work, they say the authorities urgently need to turn their attention to such historic monuments before it is all lost. "You need professionals for such restoration work and not any local person. But appropriate steps must be taken to save the sarai," said Sajjad Shahid, a heritage expert from the city. Renowned historian Narendra Luther agrees and goes on to highlight the historic significance of the site, a handiwork of two brothers Madanna and Aakanna. "Madanna was a prime minister in the court of the Qutub Shahi king Tana Shah. Along with his brother, he constructed a Shiva temple at this site which later fell prey to invasion by Aurangzeb. But despite such a rich background, the structure clearly does not seem to figure on the priority list of state authorities who have almost abandoned it," Luther said.

When contacted P Chenna Reddy, director, state department of archaeology, admitted that he had no idea about the site and said that his office would look into the matter at the earliest.


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