Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Hyderabad’s beautiful Rock Formations – Victims of Urbanization

Most of the entries in this blog focus on the interaction between urbanization and water resources. But in Hyderabad it’s not only the water that is directly affected by the uncontrolled urban sprawl but also one of its characteristic features: the beautiful rock formations in and around the city.

Granite rocks

The so called Hyderabad granitic region forms an important part of the Southern Indian Shield. The area around the city is covered by unclassified granites and granite gneisses of Achaean age. Therefore the landscape in and around Hyderabad nowadays is marked by a unique and impressive landscape: ancient and bizarre rock formations which got their present form after millions of years of being exposed to the elements. Geologists date the rocks back to 2.5 billion years. Apart from their natural beauty the structures serve as biotopes for flora and fauna and support the percolation/recharge of groundwater.

Construction site

But due to Hyderabad’s fast growth the rocks are more and more under threat. With the expansion of the urban agglomeration the rocks at the city’s fringe have to make way for building space, in the central city they have already mostly disappeared. Furthermore the hard rocks are often used as building material so as Hyderabad continues to spread, more and more of these geological formations disappear.

Rocks and urbanization

In order to protect the geological formations of Hyderabad they have been declared as conservation and heritage precincts by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and in cooperation with the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department (APTD) rock gardens are developed in the city to promote them as tourist attractions. But even if the rocks are listed as heritage precincts by the HMDA’s Heritage Conservation Committee they often are not safe from being demolished to make way for roads, buildings and other constructions. A local NGO, the Society to Save Rocks, has been eager to show the government and the citizens the value of this unique landscape since 1992. It is their goal to demonstrate to landowners, developers and government officials how the boulders can be preserved in houses, gardens, colonies and park areas.

Peacock - India's national bird

Like many cities in India, also Hyderabad has only a very low number of open green spaces. In the area of the former Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) it is estimated to be only 0.50 m² per capita and the encroachment of open spaces and parks for buildings is worsening the situation. The preservation of Hyderabad’s rocks could not only protect this beautiful natural heritage but also contribute to the extension of much needed recreational spaces in this loud and bustling city.

Kilian Christ
Kilian Christ, PhD Student, RWTH Aachen University, Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, See all posts from Kilian Christ
  1. Lakshmi Narayana Nagisetty

    With due respect to the urbanization & industrialization, Hyderabad is loosing its original ROCK FORMATIONS. The communities and civil societies should move with better advocacy in protecting the beauty of Hyderabad including water bodies. Other wise, the migration will take reverse swing i.e., from urban to rural.


    The reflection is still valid and need based measures should be taken up with the community and civil society organization’s participation for better accountability and visibility. Last year a paper has been published on Urbanization and Quality of Life focusing more on opportunities for community and civil society organizations to play a key role for better sustainability.


    More will be added in due course of time. Looking forward. All the best.




    The process of globalisation, industrialisation and technological advancement has lead for urbanisation which has brought development on one side and challenges on other side. In addition wealth oriented development alone has added another dimension to the complexities of urbanisation. Among the challenges like migration, health issues, lack of basic amenities, slums, pollution, encroachment or disappearance of water bodies, transportation, crime, resettlement and their consequences, water crises are alarming. Continuation of such economical oriented urbanisation has reduced the quality of life of people and also added its share to the global warming. This phenomenon is same in all urban cities in India and cities situated along the coastal belt do have added disadvantage with saline environment and disasters. Majority of these challenges can be transformed into opportunities so that sustainability of development and quality of life can be improved with better availability, accessibility and affordability of resources. Civil Societies do play significant role in facilitating with stakeholders for better planning of developments and enhancing water resources by way of rainwater harvesting and development of watersheds / lakes / ponds. In addition use of Geophysical tools with GPS and GIS helps for mapping water resources, source of pollutants, encroachment, and monitoring & evaluating the same with effective utilisation which minimises dependency on external sources and thus saves time, energy and money. The paper presents need based strategies / interventions to check negative impact of urbanisation, map water resources, check pollution & encroachment, model of sustainable development (SEIE) and ways to enhance quality of life in general for urban cities in India with special emphasis on Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The impact is significant and models can be replicated as they are simple, flexible, scalable, and sustainable.

    Key Words: Globalisation, Industrialisation, Urbanisation, Migration, Pollution, Geophysics, Sustainability.

  5. In view of the recent developments in the ares of Educational Institutes,IT Sector, Industries, Infrastructural Development, Hosing, Transportation Systems, and resulted migration will certainly put pressure on the availability, accessibility and affordability (3As) on all RESOURCES in general and particular on WATER. Another alarming issue is the POLLUTION form all the sources.

    In spite all such challenges still there exit several opportunities to work for the best utilization of resources. Every citizen should feel responsibility and accountability to balance the resources Vs development by shifting towards simple living leading to better Quality of Life (QOL).

    In this direction, the model of working on partnership among Government, Private and NGOs (GPN Partnership)will certainly improve the systems with better Participation, Accountability, Responsiveness and Transparency (PART). Some initiatives were already taken up and more will be shared in due course of time.

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