Hyderabad, Aug 14 : The Moazzam Jahi Market, one of the major landmarks in this historic city, has received a much-needed facelift and is all set to be transformed into a cultural hub.
The renovated heritage structure, with a repaired ceiling and flooring, a restored clock tower and a flag post in the interior courtyard for hoisting the tricolour, was thrown open on the eve of the country's Independence Day.
The majestic triangle-shaped stone structure, considered an identity of this city of minarets, welcomes visitors as they head towards the old city of Hyderabad.
It was built as a fruit market during the times of seventh and last Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last ruler of erstwhile Hyderabad State.
The market was named after the Nizam's second son Mir Shujat Ali Khan Moazzam Jah Bahadur. Moazzam Jah himself inaugurated the market in 1935 as Sadr nasheen, Majlis Araayesh Baldah or the President of City Improvement Board, which was created to improve the city's infrastructure following the devastating Musi floods of 1908.
Standing tall at a traffic intersection connecting key trading hubs like Begum Bazar, Jaam Bagh, Siddiamber Bazar, Nampally and Abids, Moazzam Jahi Market was built as fruit market but subsequently it became the centre for many other commodities like flowers, vegetables, groceries, dry fruits, paan, ittar, hookahs, ice cream and even arms and ammunition.
The rapid expansion of the city, increased vehicular traffic and lack of proper maintenance, however, took a toll on the beautiful structure.
A leaking roof, stagnant water in its inner courtyard due to a damaged sewerage line, dumping of garbage, hoardings nailed to the structure, haphazardly parked vehicles - all had made it anything but a heritage structure.
It was two years ago that the urban development authorities embarked on restoration of the historic building.
In March 2018, Arvind Kumar, Principal Secretary, Municipal Administration and Urban Development had announced that on the advice of Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister K.T. Rama Rao, he was adopting MJ Market for its complete heritage restoration.
"Delighted to open the renovated Moazzam Jahi Market complex today - a painstaking delicate effort of nearly 2 years," tweeted Rama Rao on Friday while complimenting Arvind Kumar.
Arvind Kumar tweeted several pictures of the renovated structure with the comment: "This is a glimpse of how careful restoration of MJ Market brought the life back." Dozens of shops in the complex are run by third or fourth generation of the shopkeepers.
Arvind Kumar has promised to transform the place into a major cultural centre for theatre and music without disturbing the shopkeepers.
Leveraging on Hyderabad's inclusion into the UNESCO's Creative Cities Network list under the gastronomy category, the municipal authorities plan to conduct theatre and Sufi concerts and other cultural programmes in the courtyard.
The Covid-19 crisis and resultant lockdown hit the plans but Arvind Kumar is confident of hosting the programmes post-pandemic.