The city of Hyderabad is a city where History speaks quite a lot, the city of Nawabs, will also mean the grand gestures that turned into Historical monuments in the presentation of adoration. One such example of the city is Taramati Baradari.
There are tales galore about Abdullah Qutb Shah, the Seventh Sultan, and his fondness for a courtesan named Taramati. Some say she was a dancer while some believe she was a singer. The air of enigma is probably the mood that hangs low over the place; an ambience pregnant with possibilities of a great romance, and outrageous conjectures like that of the prince enjoying the mesmerising, lilting songs of the courtesan, while sitting in his fort, a couple of kilometres away. The paintings on some walls fuel those speculations. Maybe, they are just art, keeping the legend alive.
Taramati and Premathi were the two sisters that used to perform dance acts for the 7th Sultan of Golconda, Abdullah Qutub Shah. Taramati Gana Mandir and Premathi Nritya Mandir are the places where the two sisters used to reside. Taramati was the Sultan’s favorite dancer. Hence, he built the Taramati Baradari with extraordinarily good acoustics, so that he could hear her voice till the Golconda Fort, which is approximately 3 kms away.
All that Taramati could desire in her memory was an open pavilion, made of lime and mortar with 12 doorways (baradari) and a terraced garden, It came to be known as the ”Taramati Baradari”. Built on the banks of the Musi river. today, the place comes under the city limits of Hyderabad. The 12 doorways are for cross ventilation to reduce the heat or radiation inside the building. It was the most ingenuous arrangement at a time when there were no fans or air-conditioners to spend the hot summer season.
The open pavilion includes other facilities like an air-cooled theater with capacity of 500 people, open-air auditorium with capacity of 1600 people, Banquet Hall with capacity of 250 and multi-cuisine restaurant.
The complex is spread over a vast land at Ibrahim Bagh, near on the way to Osmansagar and close to Golconda. About half a mile north of the fort lies his grave amid a cluster of carved royal tombs. Here lie buried the Qutub Shahi kings and queens in a place that was once their rose gardens. As a tribute to Taramati and Premamati, they both were buried in the royal cemetery of the Qutub Shahi kings.
Taramati Baradari is now a commercial resort. A few photographers can be seen strutting their lenses to get the best shots for a couple shoot. It is one of those rare monuments where photography is astronomically expensive – ₹4000, to be precise, for a shoot of four hours duration. It’s a hefty sum and the only ones that can be seen using their cameras — not so furtively — are wedding photographers who cover events at the resort.
The most enticing feature of the place is obviously the ‘monument’. One needs to climb a flight of stone stairs to reach it – a rectangular domed hall, with arches on all four sides. Some of the arches are a photographer’s delight, offering wonderful views of the city.
Not so far away is a towering and unusual-looking mosque — of Premamati — on a hillock. The ugliness of giant skyscrapers is eating into the views on one side – the prince wouldn’t have been too happy if the wind stopped carrying his courtesan’s song to him, now, would he? But there is greenery on the other side.
At the far end is a swimming pool that is open to visitors at an hourly rate and the peals from the children disturb the languid environment all around. The lawns are well-maintained and landscaped and one could just lie there looking at the series of arches that seem to be everywhere — a reason why the place would have been a photographer’s delight.
Designed on the now non-existent banks of the Musi river, the Taramati Baradari, a sarai meant to be a Persian-style garden, is not far from the Golconda, and one wonders if it should be part of a cycling track, or a photo-walk project.
So, if you are nerd for Historic stories and Architecture it is a place taking a visit to.