Hyderabad: The amphitheater at Qutub Shahi tombs is turning out to be the new go-to place for Hyderabadis.

Situated at the Deccan Park garden, the amphitheater has been set up right at the new entrance of the famous Qutub Shahi Tombs.

"The amphitheater which has an incredible 16th-17th century tomb as background gives a unique experience which cannot be replicated anywhere in the world. The ambiance of the amphitheater is such that it doesn't even need performance, you can sit there in the empty amphitheater and enjoy the culture," said Ratish Nanda, Chief Executive Officer, of Aga Khan Trust of Culture.

Nominated for inclusion in World Heritage List, Qutub Shahi Tombs Complex is being developed as an urban Archaeological Park. To showcase and ensure long-term preservation, and to enhance understanding of the 70 monuments that stand within its boundaries, UNESCO guidelines require state parties to provide for each nominated site inclusive facilities for visitors. The Garden Amphitheatre is one such visitor facility built in lieu of a 'swimming pool' that has been here since the late 1990s.

The developers have strived hard to replicate the ambiance of Golkonda Fort and Qutub Shahi tombs. "Same material has been used. It has been built keeping these two monuments in mind," points out Ratish.

The amphitheater has been built with Granite stones in masonry, 150 millimeters thick finished granite blocks for seating, and 40 mm thick stone slabs for flooring. To complement this experience they wish to come up with a night garden.

"With the amphitheater, we have an extended time frame for the people to enjoy the location and the backdrop of the archaeology present there, now by recreating a night garden with the garden descriptions mentioned in our histories, texts, and poetry it might complete the experience of how it would have been like during the Qutub Shahi era," said Sajjad Shahid, a historian.

With the capacity to accommodate 1200 people, the amphitheater has been packed with melophiles during the Sufi concert by Ustaad Munäwwar Masoom and the International Jazz festival held there last week. "I think it has the potential to become Hyderabad's biggest tourist attraction in the coming future," said journalist and oral historian Yunus Lasania.

"A lot of places today are not like how there were supposed to be after restoration. But that's not the case with the amphitheater and the tombs. The amphitheater has been made in such a manner that it will gel with Qutub Shahi Tombs aesthetics. Aga Khan Trust has done a great job at that," Yunus said.

Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah was the seventh ruler Golconda kingdom. Lover of poetry and music, he ruled from 1626 to 1672. He invited respected Kshetrayya, a famous lyrics writer. It only makes sense to have his tomb as the magnificent background for the amphitheater, making it one of a kind.

"Hyderabadis have one more place for cultural events. It has a nice setting with a view of the Qutub Shahi tombs. With this installation, people will get curious and learn more about the tombs. A lot of people come there for picnics during the weekends but hard to learn about them. The tombs have been done spectacularly after the restoration, and needs to be visited," added Yunus.

"When someone says `Hyderabad', the first thing that comes to mind is Charminar. Likewise, as there's the word `Hyderabad' in the title, Garden Amphitheater and Qutub Shahi Heritage Park is a perfect venue to have this event," said Cianna Francis a Hyderabad based vocalist.

Picture Credits: Aga Khan Trust and Arvind Kumar IAS

Dodla Megha

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