Centre for Deccan Studies

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: Over two years

The Centre for Deccan Studies was established in 1987 with a concern for the history of the Deccan, and the conservation of the monuments in the region.

Although the study of medieval Indian art and architecture has largely concentrated on the Mughal contribution and on selected sites in South India, there has been no full-scale study of the architecture of the Golconda-Hyderabad areas. By focusing on the art and architecture of the Golconda-Hyderabad area, the Centre for Deccan Studies will attempt to expand the sources for the study of the art, culture and history of this region.

A large number of buildings from the Qutb Shahi period survive in the Golconda Fort and its vicinity, the old city of Hyderabad and nearby villages. The project team planned to survey built structures in relation to their environs. Between 100 and 200 buildings were identified and photographed and their history documented, to the extent possible, through library research and interviews with knowledgeable persons.

Attempts were made to locate buildings that had been mentioned by historians or travelers, and if they no longer existed, reconstructions through sketches and drawings were undertaken. The evolution of architectural styles was traced using students of architecture and engineering. The use of local materials and techniques, and the adaptation of other styles of architecture by local architects, builders and craftspeople were examined. The buildings were classified according to the date of the construction and the evolution of styles. Data was collected on town planning practices. The physical survey also included the study of sculptural features and iconography.

The project resulted in index maps of seventy buildings in thirteen areas of the Golconda-Hyderabad region. Site maps and measured drawings of some important buildings like Sheikhpet Sarai, Mulla Khayali Mosque, and Mustapha Khan Mosque was accomplished. The team succeeded in conducting physical surveys of 150 surviving Qutb Shahi buildings. The study has also triggered a detailed study of the nine kilometers stretch from Habshi Kaman in Golconda to Charminar.