HYDERABAD: The historical Hill Fort Palace, popularly known as Ritz Hotel, that stands tall yet abandoned on the Naubat Pahad in the heart of the city is all set for a new lease of life, albeit temporarily. The heritage building which incidentally turned 100 years this year is scheduled to be the venue for a month-long art exhibition ‘’ala venice biennale” which starts on November 1.
Confirming the same, officials of Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation(TSTDC) said the prevailing arbitration case on the property would not stop the corporation from going ahead with its plans since it was the owner of the property. On being approached by the art gallery, it is learnt the decision was taken during a recent board meeting.
“It is a temporary exhibition for promotion of art. The larger plans for the building involves development of the property into a heritage hotel. The large area around the historical structure can pave way for amenities,” Peravaram Ramulu, chairman, TSTDC told Express. He said he would take up the matter to the notice of the chief minister.
The building housed on a 6-acre land has been lying idle since late 1990s. The Tourism Corporation took the possession of the property in 1997. It was built in 1915 by Sir Nizamat Jung, who served as chief justice in the Nizam’s government. Later in 1929, it was sold to the government and it was then designated as the official residence of Prince Moazzam Jah, who happened to be the chairman of the City Improvement Board. The Government of India who owned the property post Hyderabad’s accession had handed over the same to Ritz Hotel Company on lease in 1955 from where the hotel operated till late 1990s.
City-based Shrishti Art Gallery in association with Telangana Tourism will hold its national-level art exhibition from November 1 and 22 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday. Revolving around the theme, impact of the disposable culture of consumption on environment and human mind, as many as 81 artists from across the country would participate.
“This is a landmark exhibition for which we were looking for alternative spaces. Like the Venice Biennale, we would make full use of the ambience without touching the structure. The building turns 100 this year. Our concept, the venue and the size of artists would make it special,” said Lakshmi Nambiar, director of the gallery.
Curated by Delhi-based George Martin, the exhibition will also see Ikebana, pottery workshop and a Western musical concert on November 15.