Charminar arch gets a coat of peach

Cleared of encroachments, Kali Kaman regains old grandeur

The Kali Kaman now has a coat of peach. Workers on scaffolding perched like birds are applying the final layer of peach paint to the 60-foot high arch that was built along with the Charminar in the 1590s.

Cleared of all the encroachments, the grandness of the arch is apparent from a great distance. “The big breakthrough was when the building which was almost attached to the arch was demolished. We could work without hindrance. Now, if we can persuade the shop owners running their business from the Kaman, our work will be complete,” says Shrinivas Sulge of Laxmi Hericon that’s executing the project. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials managed to demolish the encroachment in May this year.

The vegetal growth on the roof of the building has been cleared and a coat of lime mortar over square red tiles is being laid to waterproof the structure. Ten outlets have been added to the roof to drain the rainwater. “We removed 8 inches of rubble and then started our work on the roof,” informed Mr. Sulge.

It was called Kaman-e-Sharkh or the eastern arch according to ‘Tareeq-e-Qutb Shahi’. “There was an Ashoor Khana inside the Kaman. During Muharram, the arch would get covered with black flags and look black and it acquired the sobriquet of Kali Kaman. In the ’90s the Alams were moved out to Panjey Shah and the rangrez (colour dyers) moved in permanently,” informs Mubbashir Ali Khan, who is researching Ashoor Khanas of Hyderabad. Now, workers and visitors have to enter the quarter of dyers to climb the 60 steps to reach the top of the building.

The arch is surrounded by kite sellers, zari workers, jewellers, and a new café called ‘Le Mitron’.

“The colour is not peach. It is earthen hue. It is the building’s original colour as lime mortar was mixed with bricks during construction,” informs Mr. Sulge. The workers use a water-based lime emulsion ‘verona lime emulsion’ for the final colour coat. According to the product information it “creates a stable link with the surface, maintaining the level of vapour permeability of the support facilitating the evaporation of internal humidity. Its level of alkalinity prevents the development of mould and bacteria.”

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