December is pleasant everywhere in India, well almost. Except for the extreme north where temperatures dip to sub zero, it is the time of the year to definitely book a trip.
I wanted to revisit Golconda Fort and my hubby acquiesced. After having travelled for so many years and living in one or the other city in India since birth now he feels that yet another Indian city is not worth visiting, and second time is out of question. Yet he agreed, was it something to blush blush!! Or some architecture which he found was not covered last time, I wonder now??
A three day trip was planned. If possible we prefer trains as our son has flight allergy. It is not just the load of sickness bags that we would like to avoid it is also the inconvenience caused to the other passengers owning to the horrendous sound accompanied with the spew.
We de-boarded the express at Kachiguda station. It was early morning and the breeze had a slight chill. Our destination was 16 kms away on the outskirts of the city near the Golconda Fort. It is called Taramati Baradari. All through the city traffic was thin, owning to the hour of the day. The neatly done flyovers and pedestrian bridges were impressive enough and then we left the city behind to enter the military area. The greens, wide roads with divider and the highway experience, were all whispering a good start.
The signage indicated Golconda Fort to the left and Taramati straight ahead, 2 more kms. Confused? Why we are heading towards a tourist attraction without checking in somewhere? That’s what this write up is all about. I chose Haritha Hotel by Telangana Tourism which is housed in the same complex as that of Taramati Baradari to be far from the city limits and yet be near our major attraction – The Fort!
The Taramati complex is a treat to nature lovers, trees lined up in harmony with the well maintained lawns, clean path ways and ample opportunity to create frames.
Photography is allowed anytime and is free for residents of the monument complex and has a monumental fee of 3000 INR for visitors within restricted hours. The double storied livings quarters are lined up in a semicircle, with all rooms facing the manicured lawns. The rooms are basic with a geyser, TV and AC. All are double bedded with a provision of an extra bedding if need be.
The pleasant weather, chirping birds, smell of wild flowers and a hungry belly! We freshened up and rushed to the restaurant which was to the right of the entry gate and gobbled up some idli and puri that was on offer. The food I must caution all and one is a dampener. To begin with, the menu is very restricted. The taste is average and the staff is reluctant to serve.
After a not so happening breakfast but a filled stomach we went on to explore the Baradari. A little short of 200 stone steps up, up and way above the ground is a big hall with pillars. Apparently it was a Serai (caravan station) on the banks of Musi River. The second sultan of Golconda, Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah built a beautiful Persian garden called Ibrahim Bagh. This Serai was part of it. A Serai typically provides the much needed refreshment and entertainment for the wary traders after a long and tedious journey. The ancient structure more than 500 yrs old is naturally ventilated with 12 arched doorways which must have been beautifully painted to the delight of the temporary boarders.
This Serai gets its special name and is romanticised by popularising the stories of romance between Abdullah Qutub Shah, the seventh sultan and his favourite courtesan Taramati. An unbelievable but fantastic fable is that Taramati used to sing at the Baradari and the gentle breeze used to carry it to the fort 2kms away reaching the Prince’s ears. Some say Taramati and Premamati were two beautiful dancing girls who would tie a rope to their waist and dance between their pavilion and the king’s balcony. Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could and thence there must be some truth in the fables whatsoever. As a token of love and tribute Taramati and Premamati were buried in the royal cemetery.
One of the domes of the royal cemetery more popularly known as the Qutub Shahi Tombs can be seen from the Baradari and whether or not the breeze could carry the melody so far, the eyes can reach the top quarters of the Fort and vice versa.
The journey from the light and sound show at the fort was quick, easy and breezy as we carried the melodies back to the hotel. The lack of gourmet gratification was compensated by the ambiance. The silent night, magical light, historical site all combined into a concoction of pure delight.
Click here to read a blog on Chowmahalla Palace
Over the next two days we hogged on authentic Hyderabadi Biriyani from the original “Paradise” at Secunderabad, visited Charminar and the ornate palaces half circling the Hussain Sagar at least 4 times, and finally having a gala lunch at the Tansen beside it, each time coming back to our sanctum, the Serai.
Apart from the hotel, keeping in tradition of the Serai, Taramati Baradari today caters to a wide array of entertainment and literary programs, for which its open air auditorium and AC theatre can be hired. It is assuredly a lair, far from the madding crowd and pollution of a city.