Fatima Sultana was the daughter of Prince Mohammed Amin and Khanum Agha and the sister of the Sultan Mohammed Qutb Shah. The Tomb contains two inscribed graves, one belonging to Fatima and the next grave bears no name. The 19m high tomb of Fatima sits on a 20.5m square plinth. Each side of the exterior facade consists of three recessed arches, with ornamental stucco plaster with the key stone resembling a lotus bud. The architectural style of the tomb is more evolved over the earlier buildings and includes elements such as petals below the domes and similar decorative patterns ...
A. Plinth Restoration
Following heavy rains in 2013, the southern plinth had partially collapsed, thus severely compromising the structural integrity of the monument. As with the Badi Baoli, conservation works on this monument were taken up on an emergency basis to ensure no further damage occurs to the monument.
- A study of the plinth revealed that repairs had been carried out several times and during past repairs inappropriate alterations such as use of mud mortar as well as not reinstating the base band of dressed granite, amongst others, have been carried out.
- The entire section of the masonry for the southern plinth wall as well as sections of the western wall required to be dismantled. This was especially necessary for sections where the base band of dressed granite was missing and required to be reinstated.
- Reconstruction of the plinth was completed using ashlar masonry with lime mortar and then plastered with lime.
- The upper plinth band was re-instated with stone masonry and lime concrete was laid after removal of the existing cement concrete.
- The cement layer, 1” thick, found on the plinth was also dismantled.
- The steps found on the western side were dismantled and rebuilt on the southern side where the entrance to the tomb chamber is located.
- The cement layer on the plinth will be replaced with 30 mm thick granite slabs to ensure long term preservation and preventing future water percolation as this had led to the collapse.
- The ground on all the sides of the plinth would be graded adequately to expose the lower band of dressed stones.
B. Dome & External Surfaces
As conservation works had commenced on the structure it was considered appropriate to complete required conservation works though it had been agreed that a phase-wise approach would be required for the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park structures. The dome plaster was found to be in a state of deterioration and evidently original lime plaster had mostly been replaced with cement during previous 20th century repairs. This has accelerated the decay of the dome surface leading to the development of cracks in plaster. Birds such as parakeets had also created deep nesting holes in the dome masonry. All such factors were leading to seepage visible on the internal surface of the dome.
- Rank Vegetation from the dome was removed manually and the spots were treated to prevent the growth of other plants and trees.
- Cement layers and all dead/loose lime plaster was carefully dismantled.
- The finial rings were then repaired and re-plastered with lime mortar and finished with final coat of lime punning.
- The cracks in the dome were first repaired with stitching where required following which the dome surface measuring over 200 sq. m was re-plastered including the final coat of lime punning.
- The petals, intricate lime stucco bands and the drum below the dome have been cleaned, repaired for minor works and demolished and reconstructed in places where theses were inappropriately repaired in the past.
- Alloy chains have now been installed to help improve access to the dome and allow future maintenance.
- Following the dome plaster, the external surface was taken up for conservation works. The finials from the corner minarets at the parapet level were missing and were restored in lime mortar.
- The merlons on the west and the north sides of the parapet have been repaired and finished with lime putty.
- All the missing lime stucco details, bands and medallions on the west side have been repaired.
C. Restoration of Internal Surface
The internal surface of the monument had signs of moisture and flakes of lime and the plaster had also fallen in various portions. Following the restoration of the dome, conservation of the internal works was taken up.
- The internal surface of dome was dismantled of all the loose plaster as well as 20th century cement plaster layers.
- Wall surfaces were re-plastered and repaired using lime mortar, after which the final layer of lime punning was applied.
- The central medallion under the dome was also measure and repaired. The green colour polychrome found here was restored.
- The arch-posts below the dome were repaired and plastered with lime mortar and finished with lime putty.
- The medallions above the arch quiches, which were found to have black paint in the groves, have been repaired and colour restored.
- Also black polychrome was discovered in the groves at the parapet height and along the traverse ribs above the quiches of the arcade.
- The interior has been completely finished with lime putty and restored.
- Existing 4” thick cement flooring has been removed and 5” thick lime concrete has been re-laid.
- The existing entrance doors would be repaired marking completion of the restoration of the internal surface.
- Fatima Sultana’s Tomb stands prominently on the entrance zone of the core monument area and the conservation work has not only ensured long term preservation but also helps explain the intention of the conservation project for the visitors to Qutb Shahi Heritage Park.