Hyderabad: After about six months of remaining closed to the public as the pandemic played havoc with the lives of the people, heritage and historical places of the city have finally reopened.
In the meantime, COVID-19 lockdown continues in various other walks of life while showing signs of the government’s efforts taking an upper hand in the unprecedented fight.
While the Golconda fort was thrown open in September, the Qutb Shahi Tombs, the Charminar and even Chowmahalla Place, three of Hyderabad’s most famous tourist spots, reopened last week.
Even though tourists are still not trickling in like before, the city’s usual hustle-bustle is slowly coming back to life, with the Charminar area in fact now teeming with more people than usual on weekends. The reopening of the Qutb Shahi Tombs in fact will also give citizens a breather, given that most green (public) spaces were shut since March 22, when the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed.
An official from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which is the caretaker of the Golconda Fort and the Charminar, said that the latter was reopened on October 3. “The tickets are only available online. There is no booking over the counter to avoid physical contact of any kind,” the official told siasat.com. Tickets for both the monuments can be booked at https://asi.payumoney.com/.
The other major historical site that many were missing is the Chowmahalla Palace, which was built in the 1750s by the Nizams. Known for its artifacts and resplendent Persian architecture, the site has been reopened after its administration put in place COVID-19 precautions. The palace, along with the Charminar, and the markets in the area, is usually a must visit for tourists.
“We are letting in only 25 people in one batch, and have put markers in place as well to avoid crowding,” said an official from the Chowmahalla Palace. Prior to these developments, the ASI had reopened the Golconda Fort. But it was short-lived, as the fort had to be shut after a day given that it fell in a COVID-19 Red Zone (indicating that there were several cases).
However, with the historical sites now functioning as usual, and with the weather being pleasant, it is likely that the places will witness higher number of visitors at least during the weekend. A. Jayant, a college student from Hyderabad, said that he and his friends already visited the fort and the Chowmahalla Palace over the last two days. “Due to online classes and COVID-19, we have been at home for so long. So going to these public spaces comes as a whiff of fresh air,” he added.