Hyderabad: The Puranapul bridge, the name itself acknowledge its historic importance, which ought to have been displayed with pride to tourists, now sports a vegetable market.
Around 200 odd vegetable and fruit vendors conduct their business on the 600 feet long and 35 feet broad bridge by paying up some money to local persons every day. “We are doing business for last 10 years on the bridge. A few years ago we were asked to vacate the place and then we demanded alternate arrangement. Since then no official came to us,” says Sushma, a vegetable vendor.
Digging into the history, the bridge was built in 1578, 13 years before the foundation of Charminar was laid by Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah to provide better connectivity between the then capital of Qutb Shahi kingdom, Golconda and Machlipatnam. “It is a 438-year-old bridge and was built for better connectivity for the public. The bridge got its name as it is one of the oldest bridges,” said MA Qayyum, a historian.
However, the legend is that Prince Mohammed Quli, the younger son of Ibrahim Qutb Shah came to know that his young son was crossing the dangerously flooding river Musi to meet his love Bhagmati who lived near Charminar and he decided to construct the bridge.
The bridge was repaired on the eve of World Tourism Day on September 27, 2002 and christened ‘Pyaranapul’ (bridge of love) in memory of Mohd Quli Qutb and Bhagmati whose romance led to its construction.
A few years later, again in 2009, the corporation planned to lay cobble flooring on the bridge and make functional the Puranapul Darwaza (gate) which is one of remaining 13 gates that served as the entrance to the city. However, nothing has been done so far. It was closed for traffic as officials felt the bridge got weak and could not handle heavy traffic.
When contacted, department of archaeology and museums officials said that they cannot do anything as the bridge was not placed on the heritage list.