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There is a hidden heritage of every city and this is very true in the case of Hyderabad where modern buildings and structures have super-imposed themselves on the architectural past of the city. A walk-in some of the bye-lanes of the Old City will reveal a slice of the magnificent past that was Hyderabad. This walk will take you to some of the old deoris (or havelis) that were home to the noblemen of the past. Some of them have been converted to public buildings and some are holding on tenaciously to the spirit of the old Hyderabad that was.
Heading out from the Charminar one encounters the 120-year-old Sardar Mahal; built by the sixth Nizam Mahbub Ali Khan, it never served as a residence as it did not meet the standards of the begum for whom it was built. Plans are afoot to renovate, restore and convert it into a museum-cum -interpretation centre. It was during the reign of Abdullah Qutub Shah that the impressions of the hands of Hazrat Ali and the feet of the Prophet arrived at Hyderabad. In the old city, you will discover also the Panj-e-Sah-Vilayat located on the road to Kaali Kamaan from Aitbaar Chowk; the area around it is also closely related to this event. A devotee named Ibn-e-Sher Ali arrived in ancient Golconda from Najaf-e-Shareef in Iraq, bringing with him an impression of the handprint of the saint Hazrat Ali, as a gift for the ruler. A special aashoor khana was built to install this important relic.
Right across from the Panje stands Qadam-e-Rasool’, which also houses a foot-print of Prophet Mohammed, which was brought here from Isfahan, Iran. Close by Gurvanna Gali houses a Kashmiri factory known to make qivam, a heady paste added to paan which was much enjoyed by old Bollywood actors Meena Kumari and Nargis. Nearby stands Deghchi Galli, a legend for a deg full of jewels and gems discovered here during some digging work. Another landmark is the haveli of Raja Mahipat Ram’s Baawan Darwaazon ki Haveli; he was an army commander and a minister of the second Nizam. Havelis of Raja Vithal Pershad and Raja Shainblum Pershad were also located en route to Kaali Kamaan which is known for its shops selling kites. Purani Haveli served as a residence for the sixth Nizam Mir Mehboob Ali Khan. It also houses the Nizam’s Museum.
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