Year after repair, rain damages Charminar minaret

A piece of floral decoration of one of the minarets of Charminar broke and fell off on Sunday night during heavy downpour.

The historic 418-year-old monument is soaked due to spells of heavy rains every night since last Sunday, and parts of the minarets that are carved in lime-mortar paste broke loose. A huge chunk fell off from the 48-metre high minaret facing Unani Medicine Hospital late on Sunday night. Parts of this particular minaret were repaired and renovated about a year ago. Build by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591, Charminar is made of granite and lime mortar paste. No one was injured in the incident.

The Director of Archaeology and Museums, Prof Peddarpu Chenna Reddy, said the chunk that fell off is a protective outer layer and could be replicated using near-original material and affixed to the minaret again.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had recently completed renovating parts of the monument. ASI officials said the original plaster was peeling off and they have re-plastered it with a near-original mixture.

In spite of frequent renovations, Charminar, Hyderabad's pride, looks shabby and in need of repairs. Recently, the National Geographical Research Institute, Hyderabad, (NGRI) sent a report to the ASI warning that vibrations caused by movement of traffic around Charminar may start affecting the foundations of the pillars.

Charminar area sees dense traffic throughout the day and late into the night. The NGRI had studied the effect on Charminar caused by the vibrations from traffic movement on all four sides and had suggested that all traffic should be halted or be diverted 40 feet away.

The ASI is concerned about the blackening of the structure due to pollution and has taken up chemical cleaning, which it hopes will also reveal if the monument has developed air cracks. ASI officials say the place is increasingly becoming congested and the number of vehicles passing the area has increased four-fold in the past five years.

At present, there's traffic movement less than five feet away from the monument.

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