The concept of Time has always been of great Importance for Human kind. In olden days our grandparents are used to measure time in different ways. The sun was the most important indicator of time. As time passed, people used different measuring devices, from sundials to sand and water clocks and finally they made mechanical instruments such as clocks to show the time.
What is a Clock Tower?
A clock tower is a tall tower structure which has a turret clock or clock faces on its exterior walls. It may not have to be an independent structure and can be a part of a church or any building. Initially, most clock towers were part of a church or an official building. Later, separate towers with clocks were constructed. Once upon a time these clock towers served an integral role for that particular city or town in which they were located. Today, most of these age-old clock towers are the landmark locations. In this tech-savvy world, a clock or a watch may not be a big gadget, but it is still an important one. There was time when clock towers were the means through which people got to know the time, but today it is not the case.
So, with changing period the importance for clock towers has deceased but its heritage value is the same. Clock towers have a major role to play in terms of tourism. Hence, many of these clock towers are the prominent landmarks in the cities and towns. Likewise, India also has many clock towers which are now the prominent landmarks.
History of Clock Towers:
The Muslim armies moved out of the Arabian Peninsula into Palestine and Syria, where they first came into contact with sun dials and water- clocks. Most mosques used this system to determine the prayer times until the 16th century when mechanical clocks came into use. Arabic scientists such as mathematician al-Khwarizmi and astronomer al-Qashrami authored other studies about clocks. In Abbasid Baghdad, the bibliographer Ibn al-Nadim was one of the first authors to write on the subject of time, offering details of mechanical clocks, sundials and water clocks. “Our monarchs and scholars use astrolabes during the day and water clocks during the night to ascertain the hour and have certain other instruments for measuring the shadows of the sun,”.
These clocks may have been a primitive form of geared clocks. But they were the first ones seen by Europeans then. Despite the fact that the first timekeeping devices and the variants of clocks were seen in the east side of the world, the clock towers were built first in the West by Europeans. The appearance of the first clock towers in the Ottoman history was after the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the end of the 16th century.
Clock towers were first built in towns and cities of Anatolia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Once the clock technology was developed, they became commonplace during the reign of Abdelhamid II. The Sultan was interested in science as well as religion.
Clock towers were constructed at the center of every important city, either nearby the government intuitions or above historical buildings. Actually, this was counted as a kind of a secularization movement in the sense of setting down the working hours of the state intuitions. The prayer times and Ramadan timetables were still determined by the Muvakkits. These towers were a symbol of power which the sultan used to show the power of the Empire while also offering services to the people. By erecting clock towers, the Sultan was able to make his personal mark on the town and convey a message of precision and advancement. It was also a sign that the Ottoman Empire was entering the modern European age. These towers were decorated in an elaborated Ottoman architecture style.
No doubt that measuring time, from the early sundials to the latest digital watches around our wrists, has meant so much to humankind. However, while they were only showing the time, the clock towers have showed more than time. They became the voice of an empire and today we can still hear the sound of it when we see a clock tower.
Historical Clock Towers in Hyderabad:
Telangana… an eleventh largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India has a great historical significance of clock towers which were started by Sultans and adds architecture to the city. This Heritage clock towers are located at different parts of the city in olden days. There are 12 hundred-year-old clock towers in the city. Clocks in the iconic monument keep ticking on all the four sides as it happens to be the city’s pride. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which maintains Charminar, ensures that the clocks function properly.
Secunderabad Clock Tower
Secunderabad Clock Tower is a 120ft high clock Mechanical tower located in the Secunderabad region of Hyderabad, India. it was constructed in 1896 on the 10 acres of land. This structure was inaugurated on 1 February 1897. The tower was inaugurated by Resident Sir Trevor John Chichele Plowden on 1 February 1897. The clock on the tower was donated by Dewan Bahadur Seth Lachmi Narayan Ram Gopal, a businessman. This Tower was declared a heritage structure in the twin cities of Hyderabad–Secunderabad. It was as a result of the efforts put by the civic agency at sites like this tower that the proposal to seek UNESCO Heritage status for Hyderabad.
Mozamjahi Market Clock Tower
In 1908, the city of Hyderabad was hit by a massive flood. In 1912, the seventh Nizam Mir Usman Ali Khan formed the City Development Board. The board is headed by his second son Mozza (Shujaat Ali Khan). Already there are several markets in the city such as Mahbubbouch, Residency Bazaar and Begum Bazar. However, the Mozzahee market was built between 1933–35 to provide all kinds of goods, fruits and groceries. The entire market was built of stones and a tall tower was built on top. There were four sides of the dome. Then the Clock Tower of Mozamjahi market is build.
Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower
The Mahboob Chowk area is considered to be an important part of Hyderabad architectural heritage. The clock tower is erected in the midst of the small garden has a history of 126years old. This Tower is a five-storey architectural clock tower which was built in 1892 by Asman Jah, Prime Minister of Hyderabad. it has four large clocks on its sides which enable the time to be seen from any direction. The clock tower is designed in the Turkish style. The tower is located west of the Charminar, near from Laad Bazaar.
Sultan Bazar Clock tower
Clock tower at sultan Bazar is one of the biggest and most beautiful Heritage Building at intervals the city. It’s near Badi Chowdi, which is an outstanding place throughout the times of Nizam. This clock tower in sultan bazaar has a prominent role. This was the place where Indian national flag was first hoisted in the midnight of August 14, 1947 by a gallant locksmith Narasimhulu, braving the dire consequences of such a patriotic act in the state of Hyderabad, ruled by Nizam.
Charminar Clock Tower
The 150-year grand old British clock of the famed Charminar monument set on the east bank of the Musi river in the erstwhile Nawabi city of the south which was started in the year 1962. This 150-year-old British clock which now adorns the Charminar was brought to Hyderabad from London during the reign of the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad -Mir Mehboob Ali Khan.
James Street police station clock tower
This clock tower was gifted in 1900 by Diwan Bahadur Ramgopal Seth, a Rajasthani financial trader who made it big in Hyderabad. The area is named after the trader as Ramgopalpet and is still a hub of trade and business. Bustling Ranigung and heart-shaped Hussain Sagar area under its jurisdiction.
Falaknuma Palace Clock Tower
An unrivaled palace like Falaknuma Palace was Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra’s dream, inspired by his extensive travel across India and abroad. His dream became a reality at a whopping cost of 40 lakh INR some 130 years ago. It took nine years from its foundation in 1884 to completion in 1893.
Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, who was nicknamed Sir Vikar, had called an English architect to get the best design for his dream palace. Spread over an area of 32 acres on a 2000-ft high hilltop consisting of clock at the Tower popularly known as Falaknuma Palace Clock Tower after the days. the palace is a unique architecture with a harmonious blend of Italian and Tudor styles.
Monda Market Clock Tower
Monda Market’s clock tower and also to Jail Khana located near the market. It has the 110 years of history by British army units. It is situated near to the lane Jail building is an 80-year-old house that is probably the most ornate house in the locality.
Secunderabad Railway station Clock Tower
The electro-mechanical clock, which was installed atop the railway station by Ramesh Watch Company in 1992, is said to be one of the oldest ones in the city. The clock served as one of the key attractions at the railway station and was looked after by the Signal and Telecommunication wing for the past years.
Kachiguda Railway Clock Tower
The 103yearold Kacheguda Railway Station has several added attractions Passengers can now not only admire the architectural beauty of the historic railway station has clock tower and it has its own Significance. The station was first built during the period of Nizam Osman Ali Khan to create wider connectivity for the state to Western cities like Mumbai through the railway junction at Wadi.
Aza Khan e Zehra Clock Tower
Aza Khan e Zahra Clock Tower… Hyderabad’s Aza Khana e Zehra symbolizes Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan’s love for his mother. Situated on the northern bank of Musi before it curves away, the squat hulking building is saved by graceful cupolas. The Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan was a Sunni, he commissioned this house of mourning for his mother Amtul Zehra Begum who was a Shia. The Nizam drafted his favored architect Zain Yar Jung (Zainuddin Husain Khan) to build the monument on a scale to match the power of the kingdom.
Western Gate Clock Tower of Chowmahalla Palace
Chowmahalla Palace was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, where the Nizams entertained their official gusts and royal visitors. The clock tower is located at the western gate of this place. The clock above the main gate to Chowmahalla Palace is affectionately called as Khilwat Clock. It has been ticking away for around 250 years. This is situated at Council hall and a Bungalow inside its Premises.
Saint George church Clock tower, Abids
St. George Church… In the heartland of the Muslim rule – The State of Nizam, southern India, the oldest Church St. George’s had a very close link with the colonial past and the link continues without any break. This Church is the oldest church in the city of Hyderabad, Telangana, India built in 1844 AD by the Church Missionary Society in 1947, it became part of the Church of South India. The Foundation stone was laid in the month of February 1844. the construction of the church that was completed and opened for Divine Service on the 19th September 1844.
Not only These there are also many clock towers which are significantly stopped by the Technical issues in the clocks like Raja Shamaraj Bahadur David towers consists clock in its entrance and Shalibanda Clock tower, Fateh Maidan (1903) are neither visible nor accessible to the public due to encroachments.
These towers are unnoticed as sentinels of the glorious past. Though they form an important part of the city’s heritage, the clock towers are a neglected lot. Most of the them are maintained by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation’s Heritage wing. But it seems there is no preservation nor tourism promotion for these monuments.
“The clock towers once served the purpose of not only keeping time but also served as a public space for recreation and relaxation. It might not be important to maintain the right time but there is a need to preserve these heritage structures.
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