Bansilalpet Step-well.

Restored architecture tells a story like little else. Apart from being a stellar storyteller restoration also brings tomes of functionality if not art to a zoom. Over time restored spaces, restored to a time of former glory bring one back to the root or main vibe of a space mostly bringing awe and notice to a time that once was. Architecture itself is a record of a civilisation giving away details of a whole generation. I have never not been astounded to experience a place that was built eons ago and restored in recent times, and here is one such step-well steeped in the climes of history bringing to one a slice that is gorgeous and functional at the same time, one that not just presents the past but punctuates the present with a breathable space that is breathtaking and useful to the people who experience it, see it or even live around it.

Restored to perfection to the utter delight of the citizens, to the relief of the government and the pleasure of the architects, an old dilapidated or rather thrashed out step-well in the heart of Secunderabad turned into the jewel of the city. The step-well project that costed over 2.6 crores includes the original step-well almost covered in a heap of trash, a park and a visitors centre, all very quaint and neat. After it’s transformation, it serves as a cultural centre that hosts dance performances, activities and underlies a sustainable narrative putting forth the importance of environmental conservation mainly water.

A laudable effort by the Government of Telangana, and the organisation that revives Step-wells, adds rainwater zones by the Hyderabad based architect Kalpana Ramesh. Taking up a little greater area of Bansilalpet in Secunderabad the team restored several shop fronts to bring out a cohesive whole of the area. Built during the British time, helmed by British engineers and funded by Seth Bansilal, the well and the surrounding areas are a prime example of a water centric development. Over time converted into a huge mega trash can, the step-well dried up with apathy and neglect, becoming a trash hole. Cleaned up and restored with the erstwhile water level, it is a beauty without measure. Today in peak summer, as is the case every year in most Indian metropolises, water-management is essential, and this project is a call for action and a reminder of how beauty can even transform perceptions if not perspectives!

And as it wins a UAE government award, it is but a matter of pride for not just the Secunderabadis but the nation at large.

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