Raymond Tomb

Filed under Attractions

Back in 1775, a Frenchman by the name of Michel Joachim Marie Raymond left France for Pondicherry, India. His excuse to his father was that he’ll become a merchant; instead, he became a soldier. In 1786, he joined the army of the ruling Nizam of Hyderabad as an ordinary soldier but eventually he was given a 300-strong army under his command. He was appointed as the Amar-e-Jinsi or the Appointer of Ordinance in 1796 and under this title, he established several cannon and cannonball factories. During his tenure as Appointer, cannons and ammunitions were forged, as well as several foundries; Gunfoundry near Fathe Maidan was the most famous of the remaining foundries today.

Raymond eventually became a general in the Nizam’s army, where he became popularly known as Monsieur Raymond. He also became a close friend to Nizam Ali Khan, the second Asaf Jahi, and won the trust of the local people. George Bruce Malleson said of him: “No European of mark who followed him in India ever succeeded in gaining, to such an extent, the love, the esteem, and the admiration of the natives of the country.”

When Raymond died in 1798, a tomb made of black granite was erected in Saroornagar, about 10 kilometers away from Hyderabad. The place is on top of a hillock in Mussa Ram Bagh, Malakpet. It is about 60 meters long, 30 meters wide, and 10 meters high. The initials “JR” are carved into it. The tomb has long been a symbol of great respect from the people and the dynasty and until now, people from all over the city still pay their respects for the great Frenchman on his death anniversary by lighting incense sticks near the tomb. Another attraction that can also be found near the tomb is the French Garden, located less than a kilometer away. It is the place where Raymond and his men were stationed. Now, it is a beautifully laid out lawn with green grass and flowers. There are also remnants of the military barracks stationed there during Raymond’s time.

In October 2001, the monument collapsed due to heavy rain, and also, lack of maintenance. The state government had it renovated, however, and given a facelift, as well as a brand new pavilion. On April 14, 2003, it was again showcased to senior officials of the tourism and archaeology departments. The renovation cost an estimated Rs 500,000, a small price to pay for the continued existence of one of Hyderabad’s enduring attractions.


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