We came to Hyderabad with great expectations fuelled by William Dalrymple's book White Mughals which we both had read avidly. The Residency, designed and built by James Achilles Kirkpatrick, the then British resident and one of the heroes of the story, is an important feature of the book. As it turned out, visiting this place would be the highlight of our visit in Hyderabad.
None of our two guidebooks mentioned the Residency as a sight and the word residency on the Footprint city map was the only hint of its existence. The grounds are now occupied by the Osmania University College for Women and we were stopped at the front gate by a security guard. He did not want to let us in, but pointed to an office building, suggesting we apply there for authorisation. We were not very optimistic (see Thomas' page about Indian Bureaucracy) and decided to get out of his view as soon as his attention got diverted by an incoming vehicle. We found the main Residency building very quickly and were lucky: the entrance door stood ajar and we could slip in unseen.
Wandering through this old mansion was quite an experience. Silently, we progressed slowly and could still wonder at the past magnificence of the place with its painted ceilings, the grand staircase and chandeliers still hanging. Unfortunately, the whole is in a terrible state of repair. Many floor boards are broken (some being really unsafe), there are mouse and pigeon droppings all over the floor, the window shutters are crumbling down. Rooms in the side wings have been converted into classrooms and though they are not used anymore there are school furniture, old papers and garbage cluttered everywhere. Nevertheless, the place has retained its past prestige and seeing it like that added a certain magic feel to it.
We have read that it is now a protected monument (although we could not find it on the ASI list), but unless the Archeogical Survey of India does something very quickly, there will soon be nothing much left to protect.
$updated from: Photos.htxt Mon 03 May 2021 16:08:31 trvl2 (By Vero and Thomas Lauer)$