A visit to the Rashtrapati Nilayam, Bollaram, is an indulgence to the senses, which are exposed day-in and day-out to the hustle and bustle of city life and its concrete jungle. The ambience at the President's winter abode will lighten-up the lungs and flowers of various hues will comfort the eyes.
Acres and acres of path are lined by marigold. Green lawns are interspersed by islands of vibrant colours of Gerbera, Phlox and Petunia flowers. The perfectly mowed grass is inviting indeed. And yet, the alert eyes of gardeners will make sure that visitors do not tread and disturb the picture perfect sight.
On Sunday, close to 10,000, mostly families, turned up at Rashtrapati Nilayam to explore the hoary edifice and its sylvan surroundings. “I wanted my children to come here and witness the way the Presidents live. The surroundings and the building itself are very well maintained and our visit was worth it,” says Veena Goud, a visitor from Bangalore.
The inner quarters of the President at Rashtrapati Nilayam are closed off. The visitors can however view the dining hall, where 32 persons can dine simultaneously, meeting hall, cinema hall, the study room and a ‘model' suite, which reflects the living quarters of the Presidents.
The underground tunnel that connects the kitchens to the dining hall, a main feature of the building, has been opened for public.
Spread over 90 acres , the Rashtrapati Nilayam has numerous plantations including mango, amla (Indian Gooseberry), custard apple, gauva, coconut and sapota. “We liked the tunnel a lot.
It was naturally cool, very well ventilated and quiet rare to find such structures today. The lawns, fountains and the flowers are amazing. There are several trees here with medicinal properties,” says 16-year-old Sadhana.
The main building has three wings - including President's Wing, Family Wing and ADC wing with 20 rooms and close to six suites, which are living quarters of Presidents.
The walls are adorned by the portraits of all the past Presidents who visited the Rashtrapati Nilayam for their winter sojourn.
The Rashtrapati Nilayam will remain open till January 10 for public between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The entry is free.