Suspending secrets of Hyderabad's KBR National Park

Just like CE did, try beginning your adventure at the crack of dawn, channelling your inner explorer as you venture into KBR Park.
KBR National Park
KBR National Park

HYDERABAD: KBR National Park is well-known, and most of us have a sweet spot there - a favourite bench, a track, a viewpoint, or maybe just a peaceful corner. But here's a secret: half the pleasure of enjoying the park is in searching for hidden gems. Don't rely on maps or preconceived notions - act lost and discover the park's many surprises.

‘I am from the future. I might seem to defy the laws of physics, but I won't fly, even though I might look like I could at any moment. I am not ornate or embellished, but there is no coldness in me either. I hope to bring peace. How are you feeling?" If only Chiran Palace Mosque could speak!

Getting there:
Just like CE did, try beginning your adventure at the crack of dawn, channelling your inner explorer as you venture into KBR Park. Don't forget to cough up `45  for a ticket, but hold onto it tightly as you'll soon discover that entry to the stunning Chiran Palace Mosque is free! Keep the ticket handy though, and clench it in your fist, peevish, yet hopeful for contribution to the national park. Follow up, the guard will let you in via the exit gate.

There you are, and the guiding guard disappears without notice. It’s still dark and you are all by yourself. Immerse yourself in the sonata, as the sound of food steps becomes distinct and traffic noise fades, feel a satisfying crunch of fallen leaves beneath your feet, before you are stunned by the awe-inspiring sight that can evoke a sense of wonder and gratitude for the Azaan, seems like the sweetest sound, amidst the green forest, a deceptive sight of the stark-white Chiran Palace Mosque. All the pearly portions, the aeroplane wings, the genius of Mukarram Jah, the grandson of the last Nizam of Hyderabad Osman Ali Khan, blend with the tone of the sky, and the mosque appears as if it were a blooming lotus emitting light. If only you catch it at the right moment, at daybreak.

It's around 5:30, no loudspeakers, and an indistinct tone of Maulana, filled the air, CE stood there, not realising it was intoxicated to a standstill, for almost 30 minutes, under the radar of riotous explosion of scent that mocks the confines of order, it was Molseri in full bloom, standing right by our side. The enjoyment of seeing a Molseri isn’t just to do with how nice they smell.

There’s also an immediate recall of memory: CE was first introduced to Molseri by amateur naturalist Asifa, who hosts tree walks in the city. It was identical, just like the one which stands right under the mausoleum of Hayat Bakshi Begum, Five steps away, just like at this Mosque — the sense that despite all the obvious differences the tree has something to teach us – it is a living sermon on endurance.

They survive for 100 years, or so, yet don't grow up like a Baobab and remain humbly green and dwarf. This tree surely can't flee or alter its environment. It is stuck where it was planted or where the seed happened to fall into a little crevice. Naturally, we’re attracted to the idea of it being able to alter our condition, by intoxicating us with the most blissful attar. What’s happening outside doesn’t alter what’s happening inside them. They grow very slowly, but they do grow; maturation takes so long, and it's so stagnating for them, but it happens.

Hour passes, the light shifts, to pink, mauve, and orange in iridescent intensity, and the whiff grows stronger, CE was finally able to detach itself — distracted now by the calls of birds, so many! Peacocks are all around! It has turned into a sight of pure bliss, the mosque loses its camouflage and is now apes the daylight ever more beautiful.

Unlike many mosques, this one is sans domes or minarets. Instead, the design incorporates two tall pillars that rise from the perpendicular cistern meant for ablution. This feature was inspired by an aircraft wing, a nod to the designer, the aeronautical engineer Jah.

The sidewalls are adorned with exquisite marble jali work, each unique, showcasing intricate flower and geometric patterns. At the centre, you'll find vertical cusped arches, reminiscent of the grand Mughal architecture.

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The New Indian Express