When visiting Hyderabad, it is nearly impossible not to take a trip down the Tank Bund. This area next to the famous Hussain Sagar Lake is a typical hangout for tourists and even residents of the city because it sports so many of the attractions of Hyderabad. From gardens all the way down to amusement parks, practically everything can be found along the Tank Bund. The government itself has played a major role in the development of the area for tourism purposes, and so you shall find that a number of the parks and sites here are fairly recent in their genesis.
Even the Patton Tank displayed on the side of the road hails from the war of 1971, not too long ago. That having been said, there are also some old and remarkable buildings here that may well interest those eager to see something more ancient in provenance, and one of them would be the Sayedani Maa Tomb.
As with many other names and words in the local language being written in English, there are several ways to transliterate the name of this piece of architecture. Sayedani Maa, however, suffices and is perfectly recognisable to most. This tomb is one of the stunners of Hyderabad architecture: a piece fully evocative of the handsome Qutb Shahi as well as Mughal design cues in its construction. It is not overly large—it is only a mausoleum for one person, after all, and not one for a former ruler—but it still stands testament to the regard one man had for his mother, whose tomb the mausoleum is.
The man who had the Sayedani Maa Tomb built was named Nawab Abdul Haq Diler Jung. He served as an officer of the sixth of the Nizams, and when his mother died in the early 1880’s, was apparently so moved by grief as well as filial respect and piety to honour her memory by building a beautiful tomb for her. When it came to the type of tomb he would build, he took his cues from her own attitude. His mother, Maa Saheba, was a noblewoman from one of the ruling families, and had thus been raised with every attention to propriety and traditional values. One of these values was purdah.
Purdah, also known as pardeh is the act of hiding away women from men. This may be done in any of various methods, from the actual separation of women from men in public venues to the donning of habits and veils designed to hide their forms from the male members of the populace. Nawab Abdul Haq Diler Jung’s mother observed this practice strictly, and it moved him to fashion a tomb whereby her body would be hidden well under the surface, not above it. Furthermore, he also created an underground section of the mausoleum that only females would be permitted to see, in keeping with the values of purdah.
Nowadays, the Sayedani Maa Tomb remains a fine monument to the regard one man held for his mother, and is a favourite site to visit for tourists. The only problem is that, like most of the older edifices (Charminar and the Mecca Masjid included), it has been threatened by the rising air pollution due to road traffic, which authorities are even now trying to stem by controlling traffic in the area.