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IHWF: Tales of Golconda’s Final Siege and Fall on Feb 3

In Nation
January 31, 2019

The year 2018 marked 500 years of the establishment of Qutb Shahi dynasty, which founded Hyderabad, at the historic Golconda Fort. Spanning a period of 171 years (1518-1687), its illustrious chain of eight rulers were great builders and patrons of art till the dynasty was swept over by the armies of Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.

While many of us may be aware that the empire was annexed by the Mughals in 1687, the historic details present a fascinating tale of warfare, heroics, determination and internal treachery during the reign of the last king, Abul Hassan, popularly known as Tana Shah.

A free guided two-hour walk (7-9 am), conducted as part of the second edition of the award-winning India Heritage Walk Festival (IHWF), will be held on February 3 at the Patancheru Darwaza, one of the eight doors or entrances of the fort that presently remain isolated and forgotten.

To be led by walk leader Yunus Y. Lasania, a journalist by profession, the tour will give the participants an idea of what transpired during Golconda’s final siege and fall. Lasania is currently on a mission to research and compile the lesser known history of Hyderabad and also runs the ‘The Hyderabad History Project’, a not-for-profit blog.

Hyderabad is among 37 cities hosting the month-long, multi-city IHWF 2019 organised jointly by Sahapedia (sahapedia.org), the online resource on Indian arts and culture, and UNESCO, to encourage citizens to explore the tangible and intangible heritage of their cities and towns. All bookings for the festival are powered by Odigos, a product by the Bird Group, is an online marketplace that connects tourists to certified guides in India. Odigos app provides a seamless way for travellers and locals alike to understand and explore the iconic sites of our country.

On the same day, another heritage walk in the city, will take the participants through the lanes of Nampally where several Sufi dargahs have been tucked away since time immemorial. People from all faiths visit these dargahs.

Dr. Haseeb Jafferi, a descendant of Salabath Jung from the Nizam family and an expert on Hyderabadi tehzeeb, heritage and Sufism, will lead this free guided walk (7:30 pm-9:30 pm) exploring the dargahs of Hazrat Shah Khamosh known for silent meditation and Hazrat Yousufain, along with a trail through the old bazaars and lanes that lead up to them. Along the route, Dr Jafferi will delve deeper into the area’s history through experiential pedagogy, accompanied by snacks and stories.

The IHWF, which received the prestigious PATA Gold Award 2018 for its maiden edition organised last year, is a one-of-its-kind month-long festival covering 37 cities, with nearly 100 heritage walks and outreach events. The February 02-28 festival is being supported by NMDC, a state-run mineral producer and explorer. The events’ bookings are facilitated by Odigos, an app that makes travel and discovery easier in India.

Vaibhav Chauhan, Festival Director (IHWF) and Secretary, Sahapedia, said: “We want to democratise access to local history and culture. One might be living in the same neighbourhood for years, but there is a big chance that an important landmark, tucked away in a back alley, has been missed and forgotten. The IHWF is that opportunity to discover the hidden gems linked to the history of a place, town or city.”

Junhi Han, Head and Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi office, said, “The IHWF programme addresses knowledge of local architectural heritage, sustainable tourism, with a special focus on gender-related issues and accessibility in cultural heritage facilitating more inclusive and better outreach. The festival is expected to involve, engage and sensitize more people, in particular the youth, about their cultural heritage.”

Details about the walks, registration and other programmes of IHWF 2019 are available on https://www.odigosguides.com/India-heritage-walk-festival