The Fascinating Devdi of Nawab Muqarrab Jung

Constructed around 1887, this beautiful and astonishing Devdi belonged to Nawab Muqarrab Jung. For those who aren’t familiar, the term ‘‘Devdi’ is used for the grand mansions of Hyderabad.

Nawab Muqarrab Jung was a very able administrator and served as an Accountant General during the rule of Nizam of Hyderabad.The Devdi is located in Chirag Ali Lane in Abids, Hyderabad and is filled with intricate details and exquisite architecture. Presently, the heritage building is housing the office of the Commissioner of Industries.

Architectural Description
The building is a beautiful example of Neo-classical architecture, the influence of British presence, very well balanced and symmetrical facades. The front entrance is not very high plinth with curved stairs, leading to an open-air patio, which is surrounded by a beautiful British made cast iron railing having a tint of gothic style. It is dominated by a triangular pediment over the roofline of the entrance verandah, supported by six circular Tuscan-style columns separated on top by a fixed glass glazing to prevent splashes of rainwater. There are beautiful, high, semi-circular arched doorways placed parallel in each bay of columns in the far end of the sit out. The doors have deeply moulded architrave around the arch surface’s perimeter, with a floral pattern in the keystone’s place at the apex of the arch. On either side of the front facade are two fascinating ledge windows supported on brackets. All three sides of the ledge windows have similar short-heighted cast iron railing.

Once we enter, the door leads to a very large courtyard, surrounded by similar semi-circular arches supported on Corinthian style capital columns on all four facade sides. Right in the middle is a fountain that seems to be defunct now. The courtyard planning was incorporated for facilitating cross ventilation during the summer season. On three sides of the courtyard were probably bedrooms and the parapet wall over the roof surrounding the courtyard is very ornate.

I toured the inside of Devdi, and entered a large hall with a 30-feet high; rafters supported ceiling; the hall is presently used as a conference hall. It is surrounded by arched doors with very highly ornamented wooden curtain pelmets on doorways. It seems like it was a zenana drawing-room. The hall leads to another hall which is much larger and connects to the entrance veranda. It probably would have been a gent’s drawing room with about a 30-feet high ceiling with Corinthian style engraved pilasters or ornamental pillars in stucco.

To my utter surprise, while walking, I reached a dead end with a highly ornamental British made Victorian style cast iron spiral staircase, which probably leads to the terrace.

I appreciate the initiative towards the restoration of the historical building executed by Dr Rajat Kumar, an IAS officer and Commissioner of Industries. The restoration is setting an example and leasing out a new life to this heritage structure.

ASIF ALI KHAN
ARCHITECT, HYDERABAD