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A step into history, Rashtrapathi Nilayam offers a glimpse into heritage and fauna

INDA step into history, Rashtrapathi Nilayam offers a glimpse into heritage and fauna


A view of the Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum in Secunderabad.
| Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

The underground curved tunnel connecting the kitchen and the secretariat building inside the Rashtrapati Nilayam, the official residence of President of India during the Southern Sojourn, was built to ensure that the food being taken from the kitchen could not be poisoned, when the building was occupied by the Britishers during the 1800s. At least that’s what the staffers of the place say. Another reason was said to be that the Britishers did not want their butlers to be seen walking around the place. Today, the tunnel, now restored and open to the public, houses beautifully drawn Cheriyal art forms depicting Telangana culture. One way to tell Cheriyal art form apart is the enlarged pupils in the eyes of its characters. 

An underground tunnel connecting the kitchen and dining room of the Rashtrapati Nilayam of Bolarum in Secunderabad is lined with  Cheriyal paintings.

An underground tunnel connecting the kitchen and dining room of the Rashtrapati Nilayam of Bolarum in Secunderabad is lined with Cheriyal paintings.
| Photo Credit:
G. Ramakrishna

Built in the 1860, the Rashtrapati Bhavan is nestled amid the Secunderabad’s cantonment area and is spread over a campus of 97 acres, including 33 acres of greenery. 

Once used as the Residency House for the British government and later the abode of the Nizam’s Chief Military Officer. On September 17, 1948, the unification of the Princely State of Hyderabad with India took place here. After becoming the President’s winter retreat post Independence, Rashtrapati Nilayam was traditionally opened to the public for 15 days in January, after the President’s winter visit. In the March of 2023, President Droupadi Murmu opened up the place to the public all-year round.

The main building, the residence used by the President during their visit in the winters, showcases architectural prowess with 16 rooms, including the President’s study, private apartments, dining hall, cinema hall, and durbar hall. The furniture inside the durbar hall is retained since the first President’s stay, while the chandeliers are from Nizam’s period and the antiques on display are from the British era. 

Behind the main building there is a Japanese pagoda tree (styphnolobium japonicum), which provides shade for a small bench. Opposite to that is a fruit garden, kept intact from Abdul Kalam’s regime and has all the seasonal fruits. A visitor touring the vast premises can hear peacocks and even see a few of them. 

The front of the building has the unmissable, majestic 120 feet replica of one-of-its-kind teakwood flag post symbolising the unification of Hyderabad with India. The pole is put together with three wooden pieces, including two 50-feet logs and one 20 feet.

A traditional well at the Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum in Secunderabad.

A traditional well at the Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum in Secunderabad.
| Photo Credit:
G. Ramakrishna

One can also witness the displays of traditional water management through the revival of three stepwells, with the Jai Hind Stepwell featuring an engaging live demonstration of the age-old bullock-driven water drawing system.

Nakshatra and other gardens

Other attractions include the 0.91 acres of Nakshatra Garden, featuring 52 trees related to the 12 zodiacs, 27 stars. Each tree has a QR code available to scan and learn more about it. The Rock Garden and Herbal Garden has a range of medicinal plants. 

For families with kids, the campus also has a children’s park and a maze garden. The maze garden, 1600 square metre labyrinth with a musical fountain in the middle, is said to improve cognitive skills of children as it makes them think, reason and remember. As many as 9,500 saplings were planted in the garden, including murraya extoica

Since its permanent opening in March 2023, Rashtrapati Nilayam has welcomed over 70,000 citizens, providing a unique opportunity to connect with the history and heritage of the institution. 



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