International Writers Magazine: India Travel
Marianne de Nazareth
twenty minute drive out of Secunderabad, in South India, the Alankrita
resort on the Shameerpet Road is a haven for Indian antique lovers
and connoisseurs of Indian cuisine. As we drove along Shameerpet
Road we marveled at its smoothness and tarmac like quality.
Soon, before you realize it, Alankrita with its impressive antique
front gate beckons you to enter.
four star resort in Andhra Pradesh, proclaimed a poster, as we
walked up to the reception to book in. By the end of our stay we were
quite sure, the five star status Alankrita is heading for next year,
would be theirs without a doubt.
Begun in the year 2000, Alankrita happened quite by chance, and is a
story worth telling. " I bought two acres of barren land with no
water on it, in 1999" reveals Doctor Deen Dayal an ENT specialist.
" It was a gift for my wife and she was quite annoyed saying, you
could have bought me a nice piece of jewelery instead! We are both very
passionate about collecting antiques, so we decided to build a farm
house on the land, to hold some of the antiques. Coming for a party
that I threw in the farm house, Dr Vikram, a friend suggested building
a resort instead and throwing it open for the public to enjoy. After
that there has been no looking back and from two acres we have expanded
the property to twenty-five acres. I have over one hundred antique pillars
from different historical antiquities gracing Alankrita, besides hundreds
of historical artifacts. The art and culture of old India is vanishing
and so this is our small contribution to keep that heritage alive by
my wife Mamta and I." And with that interesting insight, we looked
at Alankrita quite differently, during our one day indulgence at the
Our room number 101 in the Deva Krupa building, looked out over the
wedding mantap. The whole room was tastefully furnished with antiques,
and this fusion of old world history with modern day luxury is the theme
one sees across the resort. Parting the terracotta coloured curtains
embellished with tiny glittering mirrors, I noticed a banana tree nodding
in the breeze. What made the tree special was the bright pink head of
a flower, instead of the regular red, one sees on banana trees. The
whole garden in Alankrita was special, with plants and flowers chosen
and nutured by a knowing hand. " My wife is the brain behind the
garden," explains Dr Deen Dayal as I admire a striking red stripped
petunia. No wonder the gardens have won the Horticultural Award of Andhra
Pradesh for the fifth consecutive year. Take your camera out when you
go for an early morning walk. The perfectly round marigolds or the delicately
scented pink firangi pani dripping with pink blooms are worth shooting.
The room comes with a variety of breakfasts which can be had at Atiroopa
the multi-cuisine restaurant. I preferred eating an Indian assortment
of vadas, idlis or parathas with potato palaya. However if you prefer
a continental breakfast with an omlette and toast, just go for it. A
choice of fresh grape or watermelon juice is on offer, or if you are
a coffee addict, the filter coffee is excellently made.
work off the excesses of breakfast we took a walk around the grounds
to admire the collection of over one hundred antique pillars used
so ingeniously by the Deen Dayals in the resort. The resort
has also won the Best resort for Hospitality and Service and the
Best Eco-friendly resort, as it uses solar power, recycles its waste
water for the garden, plastic is banned on the property and rain
water harvesting is big on the agenda to conserve water.
The Wedding mantap
in the centre of a lush lawn was a beehive of activity with a marriage
celebration in progress. The groom was British and the bride an Indian
from the US. The grooms party who were all British joined enthusiastically
in the Barat procession which was on a caparisoned elephant, while they
danced alongside. A traditional wedding ceremony was held in the mantap
while the relations sat on the lawns enjoying the perfumes of myriads
of petunias and roses, which have been planted around the mantap. "
Alankrita is an international wedding destination and all you need is
a bride and a groom and we will take care of the rest," says Dr
Deen Dayal very confidently. Parrots screeched in the overhead Gul Mohur
branches and tiny little tits and humming birds darted amidst the flowers
For lunch we trooped into Atiroopa and admired the beautiful bar which
is an antique wedding mantap, transported in its entirety from Kerala.
The tables are teakwood ceilings from Burma and the antique Tanjore
paintings added to the ambience of the restaurant, was an interesting
fusion of the old and the new. We did not get past the starters for
lunch, which disappointed the chef but unfortunately we are small eaters.
The Machili Tikka Amritsari and the Mutton Shikampuri went well with,
a deliciously nutty Waldorf salad. Try their Double ka Meetha for dessert,
its sinfully divine.
As the sun dipped on the horizon and evening shadows lengthened, we
decided to take a swim in the Jalanidhi pool. Here too antique pillars
topped with a fibre glass roof gave the pool a distinctive look. Little
ones splashed about in the kiddie pool, while parents sipped drinks
at tables set around the edge of the pool. For a swimmer this is a sensible
pool rather than the odd kidney bean shaped ones, favoured in most resorts.
We decided to dress up for dinner and head for Prakruti the open air
bar-be-que restaurant. Love was in the air, as it was Valentines
day and so the restaurant was brightened up with scarlet heart shaped
balloons! Couples had come out with a vengeance to dine and every table
was full with diners tucking into the sizzlers the restaurant has earned
its stripes with. Dining under the stars has a special ambience and
the staff made sure we were comfortable, warding off mosquitoes with
insect repellant. Linger over dinner here, the atmosphere and ambience
is conducive to a romantic evening.
So, if you are in Hyderabad, or are looking for a base to see Hyderabad
from, call Alankrita and make your booking in advance. Its a tough
call getting a room here on short notice.
© Marianne Furtado de Nazareth March 2008
Erasmus Mundus Masters in Journalism
Getting there: Flights to Hyderabad are
easily available from any city in the country that you land in. Online
ticket bookings can be made on any of the larger carriers like Kingfisher,
Jetair, Go Air etc.For details and bookings contact:
Alankrita, The Ethnic Gateway, Thumkunta Village, Karimnagar Main road,
Shameerpet Mandal, RR District: 500078, AP, India. Phone 08418 (prefix
for STD) 247464, 161, 162,199, FAX: 247013,14
email: email@example.com, website: www.aalankrita.com
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