Strolling through the bountiful lawns of the premises, enveloped in the fragrance of the damp grass, we stepped in the hallways of the museum. It housed many of his belongings, his personal collection of books, the gifts that he received from various nation heads and some belongings of Indira. His iconic achkan, jacket and topi, which had gone on to become the vital elements of his style statement, hung there.
As we stepped out of the hallways into a balcony, there was a boundless backyard - a vast green stretch with trees, which in my husband’s reckoning could be as old as 100 years or more. We could catch the sight of rare birds playing around and tweeting deliriously. The peacocks pompously fanned out their tail plumage courting the peahens for a little something.
In the same premises amidst these relatively modern structures hides a forgotten structure of the 14th century, Kushak Mahal. It is suppose to be the shikar ghar of Firoz Shah Tughlaq where he used to stay during his hunting expeditions. An elevated stone masonry structure that looks over the city now must be an inconspicuous nook amidst the deep jungles back then.
After the closure of the premises, we walked around 750 metres to enjoy a Kashmiri Wazwan at the Jammu & Kashmir House. The canteen here does not work like a hotel or canteens of some other state bhawans which are open for public. However if you request, they let you in and serve their menu with warmth. We were a little early for the sumptuous dinner they prepare for the bureaucrats. Nevertheless we enjoyed a good tea time. Over cups of very delicately fragrant kashmiri kahwa, we engaged in a friendly exchange of ideas on the problems engulfing the valley with a Kashmiri babu. The mutton seekh kebabs which mamu, the head butler had specially made, were like a burst of flavours of Indian spices and crunchy onions. In my husband’s view, they were the best he had had.