Rashtrapathi Nilayam- The President’s Retreat

Rashtrapathi Nilayam, in Bolarum, is one place to visit for a nice, long, refreshing walk under the canopy provided by trees;

Tree-lined paths
Tree-lined paths

to let the kids frolic on the manicured lawns while you relax, with a book, maybe, especially on a weekday when it isn’t too crowded;

Playing tag on the lawn
Playing tag on the lawn

to enjoy an afternoon nap;

Nice place to relax
Nice place to relax

to whisper sweet nothings to a loved one in a garden surrounded by Daisies, Marigolds, Bougainvillea and other colorful flowers;

Rashtrapathi Nilayam Facade
Rashtrapathi Nilayam Facade

apart from getting a peek into the place which hosts the President of India at least once a year and other visiting dignitaries to our state. It is fun to look at the rooms where the President dines, sleeps and receives guests.

A peek inside
A peek inside the building

or even to have gorgeous pictures clicked. Cameras are, surprisingly and much to my delight, allowed inside!

The building is beautifully furnished (as viewed from the windows; the general public isn’t allowed inside the building) but not too extravagant. It is single-storied, white-washed and idyllic. All emphasis seems to have been placed on the surrounding area than on the building itself. There are Herbal and Fruit Gardens, Tree-lined avenues, pristine lawns, a temple, fountain and potted plants everywhere. Light music emanating from the speakers provides the perfect background score as you stroll around.

Don’t forget to carry snacks to enjoy a picnic on one of those lawns. And please, please leave the place just as beautiful as you found it. Rashtrapathi Nilayam is open to the public once a year between the first of January to the tenth. So make haste and head to its Gate 2 to spend some quality time in one of the prettiest, well-maintained parts of our state.

Let's just stay here, Please!
Let’s just stay here, Please!

(Entry is free. Timings : 10 am to 5 pm. Open on weekdays and weekends until the 10th of January)

Love,

Manasa.

KBR Park and WOFL

We live in a beautiful neighborhood, far from the noise of busy streets, completely surrounded by huge Neem (from the Mahogany family) and Teak trees. And that’s why we’d never felt the urge to take our walks anywhere else but here. For a change, we decided to go to Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park this Sunday, early (or as early as possible on a Sunday, with a couple of kiddos) in the morning. Kasu Brahmananda… Oh Forget it, KBR National Park is in one of the prime locations of Telangana, India, called the Jubilee Hills and is about 390 acres in size (according to Wikipedia). We paid Rs. 20 per adult and Rs. 10 per child to enter.

Inside the park

I’m glad we went there. It almost felt like we were walking in the midst of a Forest (almost, because of the walkways and a lot of walkers and joggers). It reminded us of one of our favorite spots in Tucson, US, called the AZDM (AriZona Desert Museum). Just like in the Desert Museum, the trees had markers with their names on them. And there were boards everywhere explaining how the flora and fauna are useful to us and how we should do all it takes to protect them.

Board inside the park

“Let us all promise to be eco-friendly ALL THE TIME!”

Medha walked the whole 2 km distance while Madhav covered half the loop; For the other half he had to be strapped to the stroller while he ate a bun (Food is not allowed inside, but we sneaked in a few snacks for the kids!). They both enjoyed spotting squirrels and peacocks and imitating the sound of peacocks. Peacocks. They were everywhere. They stunned us with their rich royal-blue bodies and feathery skirts trailing behind. I couldn’t capture their majesty on my camera, as the guard didn’t allow me to carry my bulky camera inside! (I wonder why. Seriously! Everyone carries a cellphone these days, don’t they?)). I had to make do with a cell phone, which I hate using for clicking pictures (due to its limited flexibility). We did have a good time there though and plan on visiting again.

We had worked up quite an appetite by then. Usually on weekends we go for lunch buffets. But this time we wanted to try something else, so we picked WOFL, listed on Zomato as a good place nearby. WOFL is a tiny eatery tucked in Banjara Hills, not too far from Jubilee Hills. It is easy to miss if one is not paying close attention while driving.

IMG_2318

We hadn’t eaten Eggs and Waffles in a long long time, so we were too excited (especially the kids and I. Prasad, not so much. He kept bickering about mosquitoes as we sat outside in an area whose decor brought to mind outdoor European Cafes. I was least disturbed by a mosquito and so were the kids). I kept clicking pictures even before the Food arrived. I’m sure the other guests found me crude and not sophisticated enough to be dining at a swanky place. But that didn’t stop me! 🙂 I can be pretty shameless when I need to get my work done!

Prasad ordered a Mushroom Omelette while I chose the Greek Omelette (expecting to gorge on my favorite Feta Cheese after a long time. Sadly, there was no Feta Cheese.). We ordered a plate of Scrambled Eggs for Medha and Hashbrowns for Madhav. Madhav isn’t big on eating Eggs; We thought we’d share bits from our plates with him. We also ordered a Cafe Latte, asking the waiter to bring it as soon as possible since I was starving.

The Food didn’t take much long to arrive, but the sides we ordered, like extra Bread slices took forever to. I thought everything was delicious and homely, but Prasad said HE could have done a better job with the Eggs (He’s capable enough!). The Belgian Chocolate and Blueberry Waffles stole the show! They were just the right texture and taste and everybody dug in and cleaned up the plates!

I thought the food was a bit pricey and the portion-size too small.

We’d go back there again for the ambiance and the Food; I want to try their Pan-cakes next time. The waiters looked well-dressed and stylish, but a big part of their attire was missing- their SMILE! They looked like they were forced to do the job. I hope the owners work to improve their customer-service; Then I’m sure the restaurant’ll earn a 5 rating, one better than its current 4 on Zomato.

Cheers.

Manasa.