Gunfoundry, a protected monument is in a state of total neglect, and the department of archaeology is just 100 yards away from it!
Amidst scores of places of historic importance in the twin cities is one place which has been forgotten or not many are aware of. Gunfoundry situated behind the Lepakshi Handicrafts Emporium in Abids is a monument of historical interest. It is where cannons and muskets were manufactured once.
Changes over the years
Once known as Top ka sancha, it is now more like any other locality in the City. It was built to cast light and heavy guns which can be still be seen at the public garden, State Archaeology Museum, Falaknuma and at Chowmahalla Palace. These guns bear inscriptions with their manufacturing dates.
Now, there is no more smoke, no more fire or sounds as the guns have fallen silent and the only thing you can hear is the sounds of hawkers, vendors and vehicles honking. What greets one here today is a mix of the old and the new structures, apartment buildings and duplex houses.
The area now boasts of many Christian missionary institutions and government schools, shopping complexes, petty shops, church and the SBH building. history ignored
The irony is that even though the gunfoundary is a protected monument it is being used as dumping yard by the residents living in the area. The gunfoundary is under the control of department of archeology but in the name of restoration the department had just installed a board with the history of the place. The department’s office is just 100 yards away from it but it cares two hoots for the structure. The place is in a poor state of maintenance with encroachments around the magnificent structure that give it an ugly ambience.
“The department of Archaeology had spent lakhs of rupees on restoration of the structure but nothing substantial has been done. Once a structure is restored it should be properly maintained which is not done. A major portion is already ruined, thanks to the apathy of the department. The future generation will never come to know the importance of this foundry where the country’s best cannons and muskets were manufactured,” said, Veda Prakash, co-convener, INTACH, and AP State chapter.
It is believed that at one point of time the height of the brick walls of the building was 50 feet with a tapered portion commencing above 25 feet height.
But thanks to negligence and poor maintenance over the years, the height of the tapered walls has come down to approximately 25 feet.
Facts of the matter
- Gunfoundry was one of the several cannon and cannonball factories set up by the French general, Mitchell Joachim Marie Raymond who was in the service of Nawab Mir Nizam Ali Khan, the second Nizam.
- This is the only surviving gunfoundry out of several established in the 18th century all over the country.
- In 2007, The SBH donated `5 lakh and the State Archaeology department spent Rs.13 lakh for conservation and restoration.
- The remains of Gunfoundry also know as Raymonds foundry still stands in the locality.
- It is a protected monument of The AP State archaeological department. It belonged to Sarf-e-khas the private estate of the Nizam, which was later handed over to the State Archaeological Department in the 1930s.
- One unique aspect of the construction of the magnificent structure is that it was built using the raw materials from the vicinity itself.