Jul 9, 2016

Cannons of Chowmahalla, Hyderabad

Chowmahalla or Chowmahallatuu is a palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Mahal is an Arabic word for palace and Mahalat for palaces. This palace complex has four palaces hence its name Chowmahallatuu. These structures are said to be replica of Shah's palace in Tehran, Iran. Its construction began in 1750 CE, initiated by  Salabat Jung and completed by 1869 during the period of Asaf Jah V the fifth Nizam. Chowmahalla was the seat of Asaf Jahi dynasty and official residence of Nizams of Hyderabad. All official state events were held here. The palace complex consists of Khilwat (Durbar hall), four palaces, two courtyards - northern and southern, clock tower, Bara Imam (long corridor of rooms on the eastern side and Shishe-Alat. The four palaces are Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal.

February 27, 2016
Chowmahalla is open to public between 10 AM and 5 PM, Saturday to Thursday. We reached around 12-30, it was a warm day. The entrance gateway opens up to the northern courtyard. The central pool & fountains and greenery create a peaceful ambiance. At the end of this courtyard is the Khilwat, the grand hall where the Nizam held official meetings. And right next to Khilwat is the elegant Khilwat Clock Tower. Coming back tot the courtyard, around the central pool are six cannons, they are no ordinary guns, I mean not the simple cast or forged steel cannons. The engineers who designed these guns had worked hard on the aesthetic aspect of their products. The guns' handles are a pair of fish, each of the guns has a unique These guns are made of a special alloy.. a mixture of non-magnetic metals which does not heat up even on the hottest days.

Here we go.. starting with a pair of cannons close to the palace complex entrance. They are similar in size and design. However the pair of fishes on the guns are different- while one is scaly, the other pair is smooth.

There are three (or four) more cannons bigger than the first two. They are opposite Khilwat (the Durbar Hall), These cannons are about 6½ feet long and their bore is around 6". Though similar in build and size, each cannon is unique in terms of aesthetics. The paired handles are different in every cannon; fish with twisted tails and lizard like creatures. Here they are..

Both cannons have embossed Sun along with..

..inscription in one of the Islamic languages.

 These guns reminiscent of cannons at Basava Kalyana fort and the Malik-e-Maidan Tope at Bijapur forts. They are also artistically decorated, made of non-magnetic alloy and do not heat in even when exposed to blazing Sun throughout the day. One more five-metal gun that comes to mind is a four feet cannon at the museum inside the Qutb Shahi tomb complex near Golconda fort. It seems these guns were manufactured some place in Madhya Pradesh.

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