Hyderabad is synonymous with Biryani and Charminar. While these top the list of things to eat in Hyderabad and places to visit, there’s much more to Hyderabad. From the historic Qutub Shahi tombs to the delicious Mulberry cream, there are so many unexplored things. And in this age, when every new corner is a hidden gem, I got to explore a genuine hidden gem – Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad.
My excitement had no bounds when the team at Radio Mirchi Hyderabad invited me to visit the Rashtrapati Nilayam. This 163-year-old property extends well beyond politics and is a story waiting to be read. As they are gearing up for Republic Day celebrations, Maharaj got a sneak peek into the real hidden gem of Hyderabad. Read on to know everything about the Rashtrapati Nilayam and how you can visit too.
The phrase “every corner has a tale to tell” stands true for Hyderabad. Whether it’s the old city charm, the towering skyscrapers of Hi-Tech city or the rocks of Khajaguda, every place has a tale of its own. And the Rashtrapati Nilayam is no different.
Originally known as the residency house, the building was constructed by Nizam Nazir-ud-Daula in the 1850s and it stands tall even after 163 years of existence. The 90-acre property served as the home for British residency until 1948, after the state joined with the union of India. It was at this time that it was declared as the president’s official retreat.
Right from India’s first president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad to Draupadi Murumu, the Rashtrapati Nilayam has served as their official retreat, mostly for their winter sojourn. And for me, it was a moment of pride and awe walking in the alley where leaders like Rajendra Prasad, Radhakrishna, and Pranab Mukherjee once walked.
Planning Your Visit At Rashtrapati Nilayam
Like its larger counterpart – Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad is also open to the public. It was closed for a brief period during COVID-19 but has opened again for the public, Ugadi 2023 was when it was reopened.
Below are the details you need to plan your visit to Rashtrapati Nilayam.
- Operating Days: Tuesday To Sunday
- Operating Hours: 9 AM to 4 PM
- Location: Bolaram, Secunderabad – Google Maps Location
- How To Reach: There are city buses that go to Bison Gate, you can also take a cab
- Who Can Visit: Anyone and Everyone 🙂
- Ticket Prices:
- FREE for kids under 8 years
- Rs 50 for Adults
- Rs 250 for Foreigners
- Recommended Duration: 2-3 hours
- Food: There’s a canteen available outside
Rashtrapati Nilayam Online Ticket Booking is where you can book your visits. Just choose your timings, pay the amount and visit. Apart from these, there are special services like Buggy services for senior citizens, a cloakroom, a washroom, drinking water, and medical facilities that are available.
Attractions at Rashtrapati Nilayam
Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad is a massive 16-room, single-story building that has stood the test of time. It’s been an official retreat for presidents right from independence until today. I was told that earlier though it was not open to the public, it’s only after President Murmu, that people are allowed to go inside the main building where the president stays! But the Rashtrapati Nilayam is much more than just this building, here are some must-visit attractions at Rashtrapati Nilayam.
1. President House
This is the first and foremost place that you’ll see as soon as you enter the area. The pristine white building with a mix of European and Nizami architecture. As part of the event, I was taken on a tour of the building. They have beautiful carpets and chandeliers all across the building and have different rooms from dining to morning room and living room.
At one point, I was also told that nobody except the Governor and the Chief Minister is allowed to reach so that itself was a great moment for me. Lastly, cameras weren’t allowed inside, so I didn’t click any pictures.
2. Kitchen Tunnel
The next highlight is the Kitchen tunnel, and you guessed it right, it was used to carry food to the main building. Back in the day, when cars and visitors came from the main gate, carrying food openly to the main building wasn’t possible, and hence the tunnel. The tunnel wasn’t operational until March 2023, when President Murmu decided to renovate it.
Today this tunnel is an art gallery. Plastered with beautiful Cheriyal art all over, it’s a spectacle waiting to be explored. Cheriyal is a very old art form from the region. The art form beautifully depicts daily routine and a lot of it is inspired by mythology. A walk in this tunnel is a travel down memory lane as the mural shows life before smartphones! If you even remotely love art, you’ll love this!
3. Maze Garden and Children’s Park
Built specifically for the young visitors at Rashtrapati Nilayam, the Maze Garden is popular amongst them. A maze made from hedges where you enter from one end and the goal is to reach the fountain. Music accompanies the fountain and it’s quite an experience. Kids can also spend time at the Children’s park and enjoy some games and fun activities.
Apart from the main building, what you cannot miss at Rashtrapati Nilayam is the flag post. It is believed that the flag post was built along with the main building in the 1850s. This was where the Hyderabad flag was back in the day.
However, after Operation Polo, the Indian flag was unfurled here. The original flag post was dismantled in 2011 before a new one was erected recently. It’s made from teak wood and is one of the tallest wooden flag posts in the country today.
4. Jai Hind Step Well
India has been a leader in engineering from the very early days, much before independence and mythical stories. Jai Hind Step Well is a testament to that. It is a well-engineered system that made use of the pulley system and bullocks to draw water from the step well which was used to water 97 districts around the city. Though the mechanism isn’t very helpful in the current technological age, it shows we’ve been an innovative nation!
5. Rock Garden
An interesting thing about the Rashtrapati Nilayam is that there are blocks to interesting things that were inaugurated by past presidents. Ram Nath Kovind opened Rock Garden. It’s a beautiful landscape with exotic plants and pathways around them. The rock garden has a beautiful structure of deer and is surrounded by plants from different parts of the world. This is a good place to take photos!
6. Dakshinamurthy Shiva and Nandi Bull
Right at the exit of the Rock Garden is the mighty Shiva and Nandi bull sculpture. The massive boulder here depicts two very interesting sculptures. The first one is Lord Shiva, who’s depicted as Adi-Guru and Para-Guru. With a Damru in one hand and a snake in the other, the sculpture depicts the energies and the time that form the universe. Right next to it is a beautiful structure of Nandi bull. Perched under a huge Banyan tree, this sculpture is a treat to the eyes.
7. Medicinal Garden
A little further you have a medicinal garden that was opened by Pratibha Patil. The garden houses a lot of plants and trees that are of medicinal importance. The garden is nicely built with a clean layout and is well maintained. Every tree here has a QR code that you can scan and learn more about the tree. I had seen something similar when I visited the Waghai Botanical Garden in Saputara.
8. Nakshatra Garden
Another unique visual spectacle is the Nakshatra Garden, a must-visit for anyone interested in Astrology. It is believed that every Zodiac Sign and corresponding Nakshatra is linked to a tree with each tree being of social, economic and medical value. The park is designed circularly with each Zodiac sign and Nakshatra precisely aligned as per the angles these subtend to the Earth. Trees linked to every particular zodiac are placed in the respective arch.
Further, I’d like to let you know that my dad is an ace astrologer apart from being a seasoned Pharma veteran and a scientist. He does offer his Astrology services, so if you are interested do fill in this form to interact with him. Trust me, you’ll have an insightful discussion 🙂
9. Farms and Orchards
The property is also home to massive mangoes and custard apple orchards. While you’re not allowed to enter these, you can witness the grandeur of these from a distance. Massive trees bearing fruits, which is exported to Delhi and used in various preparations. Apart from that, there are a lot of smaller gardens in front of the building and all over the property that you can take a stroll in.
Perfect Destination For a One Day Trip From Hyderabad
It’s not every day that you get access to monuments like Rashtrapati Nilayam. More than being the president’s residence, I was mesmerised by the grandeur of the building. It’s a legacy and like I said, it’s a living storybook with each corner having a tale to tell.
This hidden gem in Hyderabad deserves your time. While it is a little off-track from the city, this is a nice place to visit with your family and perfect for a one-day trip from Hyderabad. With so many attractions to visit and experience, I’m surely going back soon with my parents to visit the Rashtrapati Nilayam again, when are you visiting then?
That’s about it for this blog post, do let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj, DM @Atulmaharaj on Instagram, or Get In Touch if you want to know more about this visit or anything else.