The Rashtrapati Nilayam at Bolarum was once again abuzz with activity as it was thrown open for public viewing on Monday. Several hundreds including schoolchildren thronged the premises to grab a feel of the treatment the first citizen of the country enjoys when he is on his southern sojourn. President Pranab Mukherjee stayed at the campus between December 19 and 31 as part of his second annual visit. According to officials, 705 people visited the premises on Monday.
Curious visitors were seen peeping in through the open windows of various rooms and even taking photographs to capture the memorable moments. Several gardens including the most colourful landscaped gardens looked like a picnic spot with children playing around.
Over 35,000 visitors had visited the Rashtrapati Nilayam last year. The 97-acre campus houses the 154-year-old Nizam’s era building, spread in three wings comprising the President’s wing, family wing and ADC wing accommodating 20 rooms including a cinema hall, state dining hall, morning room etc.
The serene campus is open for public between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. till January 12. Drinking water points, canteens, waiting halls, rest rooms etc have been arranged inside the campus apart from free entry and free parking place for the public. Security too has been enhanced and a public address system has been put in place.
‘’It was a pleasant surprise for us today morning as we were told about this visit to the President’s palace. This is a great place to visit. The history of the building and the beauty of the serene campus is hard to explain,” said Sai Pranav, an class 8 student from Tejaswi Vidyaranya school, Jedimetla. He along with 33 other students visited the campus. Their teacher, Kamala, added, ‘’each day, we plan to bring different batches of students here.
G Eswar Rao, an ECIL employee in his late 50s, was also as excited as the schoolchildren. He had taken an off from work to visit the place along with his wife Jayasri. ‘’We have lived in Sainikpuri all our lives and never got the opportunity to visit the campus. It is a beautiful place,’’ he said. A retired official of Singareni Collieries, AC Ram Reddy had arrived at Bolarum with his wife on the first day itself all the way from BN Reddy Nagar near Champapet. “Last two years we could not come. So this time, we were just determined to come. It is a well maintained place. Considering the fact that it is all our public money, I believe they could open the premises for public twice or thrice a year,” he said.
The campus also houses a herbal garden, inaugurated in May 2012, with 116 species of medicinal and aromatic plants and the move is intended to bring in awareness about India’s rich heritage and diversity and also about medicinal values of various plants that grow widely in the surroundings and are useful for home remedy for many diseases.