One of the cool things about the metro rail is the new perspective it gives us of our city. Iconic buildings that we are used to seeing while on the road look entirely different seen from the train above. Plus, it’s the perfect way to at least catch a good glimpse of buildings that the public is not allowed into. Some time ago, I took a ride on the red line in the Miyapur to LB Nagar direction and took some phone photos (phone photos, so don’t judge them haha) of the heritage buildings on this route. Let me tell you about them.
1. Fakhr-ul-Mulk Tomb
The first building to watch out for on this route is a beautiful granite tomb on the Sananthnagar main road. This is the tomb of Nawab Fakhr-ul-Mulk II. I’ve photographed it a couple of times, but on both occasions it was locked, and I could only get a few photos through the gate. Thanks to the metro, we can now get a fabulous aerial view of this tomb.
Nawab Fakhr-ul-Mulk II was one of the Umra-e-Uzzam, the Great Nobles of Hyderabad, during the rule of the Nizams. He was related to the illustrious Salar Jung family, and was known for his lavish lifestyle as well as for his kindness and philanthropy. He died in 1934, and is said to have supervised the construction of this tomb along with his wife, before their death. Both of them, and a few of their family members are buried here.
(Watch out for this tomb soon after the ESI hospital stop. If you’re going towards LB Nagar, it should be on the right.)
2. Erum Manzil
In 1870, Nawab Fakhr-ul-Mulk II built himself a massive palace on top of a hillock, called Erum Manzil. In its time, it was one of Hyderabad’s grandest palaces, with about 600 huge rooms. It had numerous gardens in the compound, a pond for boating, tennis courts and even polo grounds. It is currently a part of the Chief Engineer’s Office. The Erum Manzil metro station is right in front of the palace, and you can get a really good view of the palace from there.
The same Nawab also built another palace very close by in Erragadda – it is called the Erumnuma Palace and is a part of the government TB hospital today. The metro route does pass by the hospital, but I could not spot the palace from the train.
(The best view of this palace is from the Erum Manzil metro station.)
3. Bella Vista
The Bella Vista palace was built in an Indo European style by Muhammad Muslihuddin, who served as the Chief Justice of Hyderabad High Court between 1914 and 1916. The 7th Nizam Osman Ali Khan acquired it from him. In 1931, when the heir-apparent Prince Azam Jah married Princess Durrushehwar, the daughter of the Ottoman Caliph, this was the palace the newly-weds moved into. It was taken over by the state government in the early 1950s, and since 1957, it has housed the Administrative Staff College of India.
(Look for this palace soon after the Erum Manzil stop. If you’re going towards LB Nagar, it should be on the left.)
4. Y S Rajasekhara Reddy State Archaeological Museum
This museum was built in the 1920s by the then Public Works Department. It was built to be a museum. It is a pretty building with elements of Qutb Shahi as well as Mughal architecture. By the way, this museum is pretty cool – one of its artefacts is an Egyptian mummy – definitely worth a visit.
(You’ll see this immediately after the Lakdi-ka-Pul stop. If you’re going towards LB Nagar, it should be on the right.)
5. State Legislative Assembly
The pristine white assembly building is easily the most exquisite one on this route. It was originally built to mark the silver jubilee of 6th Nizam Mahbub Ali Khan’s reign in 1905, and the money for its construction was raised by the public. The Nizam laid the foundation stone himself, and the Indo-Saracenic building was designed by an architect named Khwaja Anwar Hasan. Construction was completed by 1913, and it was used as the town hall at first. Today, it houses the state legislative assembly.
(This is adjacent to the museum above.)
6. Fateh Maidan Clock Tower
The Fateh Maidan Clock Tower stands across the road from the legislative assembly. It was built in 1903 by a Paigah noble named Nawab Zafar Jung. It adjoins the LB stadium, also called Fateh Maidan. The field has played a major role in the history of Hyderabad, right from the Qutb Shahi era. It was the site where Mughal ruler Aurangzeb pitched his camp during his attack on Golconda. Since he succeeded in bringing down the kingdom, the field came to be known as Fateh Maidan (fateh means victorious).
(This is right opposite to the museum and assembly, so it’s very hard to see those as well as this on the same trip)
7. Nampally Sarai
Just before the train pulls into the Nampally Metro Station, you’ll see a glimpse of a dirty pinkish building – the Nampally Sarai. It was built by the 7th Nizam Osman Ali Khan in the year 1919, in memory of the signing of the First World War Treaty (which ended the first world war). Built just outside the Nampally Railway Station, it was a resting place for travellers visiting the city, and had 54 rooms. For many years after independence, it was used as a guesthouse by the state government. Today, it lies in a state of neglect.
(You’ll see this on the left, assuming you’re going towards LN Nagar, just before the Nampally railway station stop)
8. Nampally Railway Station
The Nampally Railway Station was originally built in the late 1800s, and is the city’s oldest railway station. The present structure however, dates back to 1938.
(You can see this from the stop right outside Nampally railway station.)
9. Moazzam Jahi Market
This iconic market was built in 1935, by the City Improvement Board set up by the 7th Nizam Osman Ali Khan. He set up the CIB in 1912 to re-design the city after it was devastated by two deadly floods and an epidemic of plague. It was active for 45 years until it was disbanded in 1957. The outer circumference of the Moazzam Jahi market is roughly triangular, and the road-facing facade is decorated with a domed clock tower. The complex is named after the Nizam’s second son Nawab Moazzam Jah Bahadur.
(This will be on the left, after the Gandhi Bhavan stop.)
10. Mumtaz College/Asafiya School
For me, this is the most fascinating building on this trail. It is unmissable – you can see it from the Moosarambagh Metro Station, towering above the neighbourhood around it. It is a 4 storeyed building that is more than 140 years old – I think that itself makes it phenomenal. It was built in 1895 by the Nizam’s Chief of Armed Forces, and as a school for the children of personnel working for the military. Later on, it was thrown open to civilian children as well. It was designed by an architect named Abdul Karim Babu Khan, and even has a mosque on the third floor. Currently, it appears to be a part of a Mumtaz College, but information about this building is really hard to come by. I plan to try and visit it and get a closer look sometime.
(You can see this from the Moosarambagh metro station.)
11. Victoria Memorial Orphanage
The sixth Nizam Mahbub Ali Khan commissioned this building intending to use it as a palace for himself. However, while it was being built, he came down with typhoid. He decided that the palace was unlucky for him and almost decided to abandon its construction. The then British Resident in Hyderabad, convinced him to finish the construction, but donate it to an orphanage instead. That is how it became the Victoria Memorial Orphanage.
(You can see it from the Victoria Memorial Railway station, and also just before and after it.)