Civic body razes left wing of Amberpet Serai

Qutb Shahi era structure makes way for four-lane flyover

The left wing of the Amberpet Serai has been bulldozed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation on Tuesday to make way for a four-lane flyover.

“The corbels, the architecture, the construction material show that this is a Qutb Shahi era structure. This was part of the historical topography of Amberpet and now it is wrecked,” says Sibghat Khan, an architecture student and history buff.

“Our shop has been here for the past 50 years. We are not sure about the compensation we are going to get,” said Afroz, who lost his shop in front of the Serai. Other shops, which were razed earlier, are now operating from different locations in the same area.

Sections of the National Highway 163 look like a war zone with wrecked buildings and scattered building rubble on either side of the road. Amberpet gets its name from Hazrat Amber Shah Baba, whose dargah is yards away from the wrecked Serai. Adjacent to the Serai is a Qutb Shahi era congressional masjid. A later day building in the area is the Amberpet Burj.

Incidentally, the Amberpet Serai is not listed as a protected monument by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority.

“All Qutb Shahi era monuments need to be protected as heritage buildings. The government should have constituted the Heritage Conservation Committee so that there are norms and procedures for development activities,” says historian Sajjad Shahid. For years, the front portion of the Serai was built over by shopkeepers who plied various trades.

Serais or wayfarers’ inns were integral part of the Qutb Shahi kingdom which was dependent on trade in items like Warangal carpets and wootz steel for revenue. The Amberpet Serai was on the trade route between Hyderabad and Warangal before other routes were developed. Ironically, the Serai has been demolished for construction of a flyover between Golnaka to Ramanthapur to reduce the travel time.

While the foundation stone for the flyover was laid on May 5, 2018 by Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, there has been little progress on the ground. But things are changing rapidly during the lockdown period.

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