Inauguration of the Restored Rang Mahal Gardens: Koti, Hyderabad
January 15, 2023
The Deccan Heritage Foundation (DHF) has been involved in the restoration of the monuments and sites of the former British Residency, now within the Telangana Mahila Vishwavidyalayam (formerly the Osmania University College for Women) in Koti, Hyderabad, for the last eight years. This is part of a multi-organisational effort to restore the Residency to its former glory, which has also involved the World Monuments Fund (WMF), the British Association for the Cemeteries of South Asia (BACSA) and the College Administration. Beginning with the restoration of a small-scale model of the Residency, the DHF went on to restore the British era cemetery within its premises in collaboration with BACSA.
In August 2022, DHF India began the restoration of the Rang Mahal Gateway and its adjoining gardens with support from a three-year grant from Sonata Information Technology Pvt. Ltd. The Rang Mahal, which fell into ruin over the years, is a charming pleasure pavilion which was used by Begum Khair un-Nissa — the Indian wife of the British Resident to the Nizami court of Hyderabad, James Achilles Kirkpatrick — and her entourage.
The first phase of this three-year project is now complete, and the gardens adjoining the Rang Mahal, hosting walking paths and fountains in addition to several varieties of indigenous species of flora, have now been restored. To mark this milestone and to commemorate its contribution to the restoration of the Residency complex, the DHF organised an event to inaugurate the restored Rang Mahal Gardens on January 15th, 2023.
The event began at 4:30 PM with a qawwali concert by Hyderabad’s very own Warsi Brothers, a duo which mesmerised the the audience with their soulful music in the sylvan setting of the restored gardens. At 6 pm, Professor Molly Emma Aitken of the City University of New York presented a talk entitled Dangerous Enchantment: The Painted Melodies of Yogini Paintings that ‘explored the power that paintings of yoginis once had to bless or bedevil those who looked at them and to lure them into dangerous places of the mind and heart.’
Admission was by invitation only. A who’s who of Hyderabad graced this magical occasion.