Hyderabad: The latest discovery at Qutub Shahi Tombs shows that the rulers were experts in water management. Conservation architects have unearthed a network of 16th Century terracotta pipes in the hamam (mortuary bath) walls.
There are 11 tanks inside the hamam enclosure and one main tank, to which a fountain was added during the Nizams’ period.
“These terracotta pipes, which were sealed with cement and other 20th Century material, are interconnected and were used to fill all the tanks in the enclosure,” said Ms Poornima, architect at the restoration project lead by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
A man clears an inlet pipe of a hamam at the Qutub Shahi Tombs on Friday. Several terrocotta pipes were found at the tomb, couple of which were still found to be functioning. (Photo: Deccan Chronicle)
Each tank had two inlet pipes and one outlet pipe, both located at the brim. When a tank filled, the water would flow to the next tank and so on.
“We have re-drawn the way the water supply in the hamam used to function and are looking at how much of it is intact now. In a trial, a part of the network was found to be still functional,” she explained.
K.K. Muhammed, AKTC project archaeological director and former regional director (North) of ASI, said that the Qutub Shahi kings knew of water conservation and said that the outlet pipe was most probably used to water the gardens.
A worker clears an inbuilt teracotta pipe. (Photo: DC)
“The hamam is built on short columns with largely hollow space underneath. When hot water is run in terracotta pipes, the hamam enclosure becomes warm and similarly in the case of cold water,” he said.
The conservation works at the site are co-funded by the Tata Trusts and are being carried out under the supervision of the department of archaeology of TS.
“The restoration of the hamam explains the challenges in terms of undertaking conservation. We can only base any conservation work on evidence of past design and builders’ intention, which in this case has been discovered with the molding and the original floor levels,” said Ratish Nanda, project director with AKTC....