It has been almost a year since I visited the Kakatiya temple and fort in Warangal. I have been looking at signs of Kakatiyas in Hyderabad and around. But could not find any. So when the ITC Kakatiya My City Break offer came along, I decided to explore it.
Here are a few things that I enjoyed the most other than what you would expect in a well-known premium luxury hotel.
ITC Kakatiya, Hyderabad – Luxury Hotel
The highlight of the whole experience was my over-dinner chat with Chef Aamer Jamal who has a habit of winning Biryani awards in Hyderabad. Now his Biryani is expected to be good, though being a vegetarian I could not taste his signature dish. But it was his Deccani that I enjoyed the most. He spoke affectionately about how he learned cooking from his mother and aunts. And he is the first one in his family to enter this profession. His gratitude towards the ITC group that groomed him and his will to excel in his field shows both in his creations and his attitude. Thank God for the Urdu I can understand and talk a bit, I could hear him speak in that beautiful language of Deccani, which is Urdu with a Hyderabadi Twist.
Thank you, Chef, for making the meal very special. My personal recommendation here for vegetarians – try Dalcha – it is delicious.
Dakshin – South Indian Restaurant at ITC Kakatiya
Next, I was happy to finally discover Dakshin, their south Indian restaurant where you get authentic Andhra food. They serve food from all four south Indian states. And claim that you get anything from royal cuisine to humble cuisine here. I tried Andhra food and I must say there was no sign of food being tempered to suit any other palette. Chutneys were as hot as they can, and the food was spicy and served in a traditional way. If you know of any other place in town that serves authentic Andhra food, do let me know. If you are at Dakshin, do taste everything in Iyer Platter.
Rani Rudramma of Warangal
I discovered a curious depiction of the meeting of Rani Rudramma of Warangal and Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler who traveled through Deccan during her reign in the late 13th CE. These are two adjacent areas in the hotel, Rani Rudramma’s court, and Irish Bar Marco Polo. Earlier serves you varieties of tea. There is a Kakatiya-style pavilion here. Though I found the color a bit of mismatch. If it was made in authentic grey or black stone like Kakatiya fort it would have made the whole ambiance look more authentic. Do check out the subtle wall paintings depicting traditional Indian mythological stories. Marco Polo is a typical bar with ample space for you to sit around and relax if you can ignore the small fact that Polo was a Venetian not Irish.
Marco Polo – Traveler
Nonetheless, Interesting artifacts to check out in this room are a painting of Marco Polo where he looks like a Deccani. A map depicting his travels across the world. A golden replica of his horse and another travel map is drawn on the central table. At other places on the property, there are other paintings, some in Kalamkari and some in a modern style that adds to the aura of the place.
I am happy I took the offer. Sometimes it is good to let others take care of you and pamper you, doing that all the time for yourself can be boring.