Built under the auspices of the Qutb Shahi rulers of Golconda more than 300 years ago, Hyderabad’s historic Makkah Masjid is a symbol of Persianate architecture—and a thousand pigeons roost in its elegant minarets. There are, naturally, pigeonholes in the roof; this is perhaps the inevitable fate of such domed structures. The birds have been there for years, but it’s only now that their presence has caused alarm. When Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani visited the mosque to offer prayers and deliver a public address as part of his visit to India, his security staff was faced with a conundrum: there were twigs and droppings in the row where he was likely to sit while praying. The mosque authorities promised to address the issue ahead of the visit; in the absence of further reports, we can only pray that they succeeded.
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