By Mohammed Shafeeq
US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump is set to get royal treatment at Taj Falaknuma, the palace hotel where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hosting a dinner for her and other delegates of Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) on November 28.
A possible ride on regal horse-drawn carriage from the main gate to the palace atop the hill, a rose petal shower, a gala dinner on the famed 101-seater dining table with mouth-watering delicacies on menu and of course a guided tour to the grand palace await Ivanka.
While she will be staying at Westin Hotel near the GES venue in Hitec City, Nizam's suite, the costliest among all suites at Falaknuma, has been booked for her in case she wants to stay for couple of hours, sources told IANS.
Nizam's suite, which used to be the private suite of the ruler of Hyderabad State, costs a whopping Rs5 lakh to Rs8 lakh a night, depending on the season.
Ivanka will join the select list of VVIP guests to visit Falaknuma, arguably the most beautiful among over a dozen palaces in the city of pearls.
While Czar Nicholas II (when the heir to the Russian throne), King George V and Queen Mary and royalty from different parts of the world visited Falaknuma as the guests of Nizam, Ivanka will be the guest of the Indian government.
The advisor to White House is also the first high-profile foreign dignitary visiting the palace after it was converted into a star hotel a decade ago.
It's still not clear if Ivanka will take a buggy (horse-drawn carriage) of Nizam era to reach the palace from the main gate.
For all the guests, vehicles are allowed only up to the main gate and from there are ferried either by horse-drawn carriages or battery-operated cars. Sources said exception, however, could be made for VVIPs on security grounds.
On entering the palace and ascending the grand staircase, the guests are welcomed with a shower of rose petals. Elaborate arrangements have been made to accord to a memorable welcome to Ivanka.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, some key members of US delegation, selected politicians and industrialists will join Ivanka and Modi on 101-seater dining table, on which the Nizam used to dine with his guests.
The dinner for other delegates has been arranged in the gardens in the palace premises.
Interestingly, Narendra Modi will become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Falaknuma. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, was among its guests.
A palace historian may take Ivanka, Modi and others for a guided tour of the palace aptly named 'Falaknuma' or mirror of heavens.
It was Nawab Vaqar-ul-Umra, the Nizam's prime minister, who built the palace in 1893. Impressed by its magnificence, sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan bought it for himself and stayed there till 1911.
Built over 32 acres, the scorpion-shaped, all-marble palace stands tall in its splendour and majesty atop a hill, at 2,000 ft above sea level and overlooks the old city of Hyderabad.
A majestic blend of Italian and Tudor architecture, it has 60 lavish rooms and halls including Durbar Hall, embellished with intricately carved wooden ceilings, parquet flooring, regal walnut wood furniture and handcrafted mirrors.
The interiors are a splendid interplay of Venetian chandeliers and intricate frescos, and have charming outdoor terraces, and a treasure of rare artefacts, including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books.
(Mohammed Shafeeq can be contacted at email@example.com)