Rashtrapati Nilayam
Rashtrapati Nilayam,Bolaram
Map
General information
TypeOfficial retreat
LocationBolaram, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Current tenantsDraupadi Murmu
(President of India)
Completed1860; 164 years ago (1860)
The President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind hosting ‘At Home’ reception, at Rashtrapati Nilayam, Bolarum, Secunderabad on December 26, 2017

Rashtrapati Nilayam (literally the "President's House") formerly known as Residency House is the official winter retreat of the President of India located in Hyderabad, Telangana.[1] Rashtrapati Nilayam was officially opened to the public in March 2023, allowing visitors to explore its vast grounds, thematic gardens, and architectural marvels.[2] The President stays here for at least two weeks during their winter sojourn visit and conducts official business.[3] It is also used as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. It is located in Bolaram in Secunderabad, a neighbourhood of Hyderabad.

History

Originally called the Residency House, it was constructed in 1860 by Nizam Nazir-ud-Dowla.[4] It became the country house of the British Resident at Secunderabad. After the Hyderabad state's integration into Indian Union (Read Operation Polo) in 1948, it became the President's retreat and used as the Southern Sojourn.[5][6] The decision to open the estate to the general public marked a significant step in making India's presidential history more accessible and engaging for a wider audience.[7]

Architecture

The 16-room estate is spread over an area of 90 acres (360,000 m2), consisting of single storied building besides a visitors' quarters that can accommodate 150 people. It has a Dining Hall, Durbar Hall, Morning Room, Cinema Hall, etc. A unique aspect of this Rashtrapati Nilayam is that the kitchen and dining hall are independent buildings connected with a tunnel to serve food.

Rashtrapati Nilayam (Residency House), c. 1892, Photo: Lala Deen Dayal

The President stays in the Main Building and conducts official business from here when they visit for their winter sojourn in December every year.

The retreat's premises include a landscaped garden, seasonal flowering plants and display of potted plants around the main building, natural cascading water falls and different types of nutrition gardens.

Attractions

Knowledge Gallery

It has been established to provide more information about Rashtrapati Bhavan and its estates including Rashtrapati Nilayam, along with belongings of past Presidents of India. Apart from this there are enclaves dedicated to unsung heroes of Independence and chapters of Hyderabad history.[8] The museum also showcases the cutlery used in the President's Kitchen along with pictures of the State Dinners hosted by each of the Past Presidents.

One of its kind 120 ft tall teak wood flag post - replica of the original flag post where the Indian flag was hoisted for the first time in Hyderabad in September 1948
One of its kind 120 ft tall teak wood flag post - replica of the original flag post where the Indian flag was hoisted for the first time in Hyderabad in September 1948

Flagpost

In December 2023, President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated a replica of the historic flag post at the Rashtrapati Nilayam [9] on which the national flag was hoisted for the first time in Hyderabad after the princely state acceded to the Indian Union in 1948. This Flagpost is a one-of-its-kind 120 ft wooden structure made of Burma teak wood. This replaced the old flagpole which was dismantled in 2010 as it became dilapidated and posed a threat to the main building.[10]

Jai Hind Stepwell - one of the three stepwells revived at Rashtrapati Nilayam

Stepwells

Smt. Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the revival of traditional water systems in Rashtrapati Nilayam.[11] There are total 3 different 100 year old step wells in the premises of Rashtrapati Nilayam, that have been revived in 2023 - Jai Hind Step Well, Nakshtra Step Well, and Chinna Baavi. [11] An Interpretation Centre has been curated alongside the Jai Hind Stepwell to educate the visitors about the various traditional water management systems of India.

Kitchen Tunnel adorned with local Cheriyal Art paintings

Cheriyal Art Tunnel

The Kitchen tunnel, once essential as a discreet food passage, was restored in March 2023, and now features Telangana's Cheriyal folk art,[12] emphasising the preservation of cultural heritage.

Gardens

There are a total of 6 gardens that exist today at Rashtrapati Nilayam - Nakshatra Garden, Herbal Garden, Rock Garden, Maze Garden, Palmatum, and Fruit Orchards.[13] [14]

The Herbal Garden, inaugurated in December 2009, of medicinal and aromatic plants is spread over 7,000 sq metres, has about 116 species of medicinal and aromatic plants including sarpagandha, kalabandha, citronella, lemon grass, khus, geranium, coriander, sandalwood, tuber rose, jasmine, kalmegh, tulsi etc. The garden was built by Central Public Works Department and the Telangana Medicinal Plants Board, while Rashtrapati Bhavan and National Medicinal Plants Board funded the project.

Nakshatra Garden

The Nakshatra Garden showcases the trees associated with various zodiac signs and planets. Additionally, the 90 acre main campus with 33 acres fruit orchards of different varieties – Mango, Chikkoo, Amla, Custard apple, Pomegranate, Guava, Coconut and big tamarind trees are the bio reserves of various fauna. Another feature interesting feature is the Palmatum which is a germplasm repository of 30 species of palms from Rhapis, Areca, Royal, Foxtail, Rhapis, Washingtonia etc.

Musical Fountain at the center of Maze Garden

The Rock Garden was created by transforming the natural surroundings of existing rocks into cactus gardens, while also repurposing the boulders to create cascading water features. The Garden also features beautiful rock sculptures of Lord Shiva and Nandi Bull.

The most recent addition to the gardens is the Maze Garden which offers a playful experience to the children visiting the property. At the culmination of the maze, there is a musical fountain which acts a key attractions for young visitors.

Public access and education

Since its opening to the public, Rashtrapati Nilayam has become a vibrant center for educational tours, interactive exhibitions,[15] and cultural events[16] that celebrate India's rich heritage. Its comprehensive offerings aim to educate visitors about the nation's history, the role of the presidency, and the significance of Hyderabad in India's national narrative.[17] The estate's transformation into a public venue reflects a broader commitment to preserving and sharing India's cultural legacy.

Visiting information

Rashtrapati Nilayam is open to visitors with guided tours available, offering a comprehensive experience of its historical and cultural significance.[18] For those interested in exploring India's presidential heritage and enjoying a day amidst nature and history, Rashtrapati Nilayam provides an unparalleled opportunity. The tickets can be booked on the official website of Rashtrapati Bhavan for slots between 10 AM to 5 PM fromTuesday to Sunday. [19]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Cities / Hyderabad : Rashtrapati Nilayam bags first prize in Garden Festival 2010". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  2. ^ Bureau, The Hindu (22 March 2023). "Rashtrapati Nilayam open to public". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  3. ^ "Meghalaya proposes President's "third retreat"". Deccan Herald. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  4. ^ "R P Nilayam to be thrown open to public from Jan 6-12 - The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  5. ^ "Rashtrapati bhavan:presidential retreats". presidentofindia.nic. Retrieved 25 February 2015.
  6. ^ "President Patil arriving Hyderabad on 15-day southern sojourn | TopNews". Topnews.in. 27 December 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  7. ^ PTI (22 March 2023). "President Murmu opens Rashtrapati Nilayam in Secunderabad to the public". ThePrint. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  8. ^ "PRESIDENT OF INDIA GRACES THE OPENING OF RASHTRAPATI NILAYAM FOR VISITORS THROUGH VIDEO CONFERENCING". pib.gov.in. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  9. ^ "PRESIDENT OF INDIA INAUGURATES VARIOUS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AT RASHTRAPATI NILAYAM". pib.gov.in. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  10. ^ "President Murmu inaugurates replica of flagpole that witnessed Hyderabad's accession to Indian Union". The Indian Express. 21 December 2023. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  11. ^ a b "PRESIDENT OF INDIA INAUGURATES VARIOUS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AT RASHTRAPATI NILAYAM". pib.gov.in. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  12. ^ Murthy, Neeraja (7 April 2023). "Cheriyal stories adorn the walls inside the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  13. ^ "Day Outing at Rashtrapati Nilayam Hyderabad - Exploring the 163-year-old legacy - SocialMaharaj". socialmaharaj.com. 25 January 2024. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  14. ^ "PRESIDENT OF INDIA INAUGURATES VARIOUS TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AT RASHTRAPATI NILAYAM". pib.gov.in. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  15. ^ India, The Hans (26 February 2024). "Hyderabad: Rashtrapati Nilayam to organise Science Innovation Exhibits today". www.thehansindia.com. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  16. ^ "Rashtrapati Nilayam hosts National Youth Day celebration | Telangana Tribune". 13 January 2024. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  17. ^ Nath, Meghna (12 September 2023). "Rashtrapati Nilayam to celebrate Telangana Liberation Day". www.thehansindia.com. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  18. ^ Singh, Siddharth Kumar (30 January 2024). "Rashtrapati Nilayam welcomes over 70,000 visitors since March 2023". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 27 February 2024.
  19. ^ "Rashtrapati Nilayam Visitor Booking". visit.rashtrapatibhavan.gov.in. Retrieved 27 February 2024.

17°30′17″N 78°31′18″E / 17.504597°N 78.521531°E / 17.504597; 78.521531