A sense of contentment is writ large on the face of Abbas Ali Moosvi, the caretaker’s son who is overseeing the restoration work at the Badeshahi Ashoor Khana in the Old City. It is after a hard-won battle that the work has begun. For, it was in 2009 that the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered restoration work on the structure. Mir Nawazish Ali Moosvi, caretaker and relic holder, said, “We have been running from pillar to post for the restoration of the structure. Although the central government has sanctioned Rs 70 lakh for the restoration and beautification of the Ashoor Khana, there were delays on various fronts. Even now only Rs 10 lakh has been cleared, as Muharram is fast approaching.”
Right from 2009 the Department of Archaeology and Museums had been postponing the work, citing lack of funds as the reason. Thanks to CoP-11, a sum of Rs 21 lakh was sanctioned, though only Rs 6 lakh was released. As the tendering process got delayed, the remaining amount was returned. Work relating to tiles in the toilets, plastering on the sajja in the main building and a legendary board was completed with the Rs 6 lakh released during CoP -11. At present work on the mini-Ashoor Khana, known as Ashoor Khana Khurd, is under way. It is the place where the alam is kept. The roof has completely caved in. A team comprising four masons and an equal number of carpenters is working round the clock to complete the work before the first day of Muharram, which falls on November 16. Teak wood beams are being used to restore the roof and limestone for the walls.
There are several structures within the place of worship that need immediate attention. Last year some illegal occupants outside the Ashoor Khana were evicted under High Court orders. Most of the structures inside are in bad shape. On an average, about 2 lakh people visit the Shiite place of worship during the 10 days. “Thousands from nearby districts and neighbouring states come here” says, Abdul Moosvi.
Nakar Khana (place where they beat drums) is in bad condition. The roof needs repairs.
Abdar Khana (place where drinking water is stored for devotees) has not been in use and needs repairs.
Makhane Mujawir (caretaker’s residence)
Chabutara (platform for fencing and beautification)
Sarai (resting place for those coming from far-off places)
The members of the Moosvi family only hope that the remaining funds are released so that the Ashoor Khana can be restored to its past glory.