HYDERABAD — The Armenian cemetery in the Indian city of Hyderabad will soon be open for visitors after lying in a state of neglect for decades.
The Department of Archaeology and Museums, which is the custodian of the cemetery, decided to renovate the Armenian cemetery in the administrative center of Telengana, Southern India, The Hindu reports.
19 Armenians, including two Armenian priests, who died in the 17th and 18th centuries, are buried in the cemetery.
Armenians first came to India in 16-17th centuries: these were mainly traders travelling through Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet. “A large number of Armenians settled in Hyderabad during the 17th century. Though there are no written records of their activities, traditions and social conditions, the Armenian epitaphs acknowledge their presence,” the former Deputy Director of the Department M.A. Qayyum said.
The graves of the two priests Rev Johannes, who died in 1680, and Rev. Margar, who died in 1724, are also here. A single dome on the premises representing the Qutb Shahi style of architecture and two mandapa-like structures, one square and the other octagonal, are distinct features of the cemetery.
The existence of the Armenian cemetery became known thanks to the historian Mohammed Ziauddin Ahmed Shakeb. He came across a letter dating from 1907, in which there was a mention about the cemetery.
“Dr. Shakeb chanced upon a letter written by British Resident W. Haig in Hyderabad to a government official in 1907 about the Armenian cemetery. Soon, officials were informed about it and the place was identified,” Qayyum explained.
The local authorities have already cleared the territory and are renovating the wall. The tough task for them is the restoration of engravings on the graves. The government may seek the help of Armenian authorities to establishing the identity of those buried in the cemetery, the article reads.