Published on March 23, 2021
Ahmedabad: ‘Kalupur Tower,’ had lost its identity as a clock tower for the past few years as perhaps the only free-standing clock tower of the city was dilapidated and its mechanism had rusted.
“There was a pleasant surprise for us when we heard the chimes every hour on Sunday for the first time in several years,” said Mohammad Irshad Shaikh, a resident of Kalupur. “The tower has undergone many repairs over the past few years, but it is a landmark of the area and we’re happy it’s functional again.”
The inscription on the tower reads ‘Nanamiya Hava Tower’ established in 1925, giving the tower’s age as 96 years. The tower’s interiors and exteriors were repaired and painted and old wooden parts were removed under the supervision of the heritage cell of the AMC.
The main challenge was to repair the mechanism of the four-faced clock, its proverbial heart. For this, Percy Daruwala, a master clock restorer, was brought in from Navsari. Daruwala and his friend-cum-fellow restorer, Kanti Panchal, had earlier restored the tower clock at Bhadra fort.
“The mechanism is complex, and the original parts of such clocks are not available. Thus, the experts followed the design and made the parts on their own. Like the Bhadra clock, this clock’s mechanism was also imported, and the team studied contemporary clocks and literature before the restoration,” said an official close to the development, adding that the clock will require regular maintenance and upkeep.
Heritage cell officials point out that the tower is a Grade IIA protected structure and part of the inscribed UNESCO World Heritage City of Ahmedabad. ‘Clock towers in civic areas were a feature introduced by the British and this became an important element of civic architecture in the city in the early 20th century,’ read the description of the clock in the heritage cell’s records. ‘This particular tower is a miniaturized version of the Tower typology that was prominent with four-sided, four storied structures which reduced in size at every level. Built out of masonry, the design followed the typical stone construction motifs with strengthened corners and central windows on all sides.’