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Romancing Hussainsagar with `Khair-un-Nissa'

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Sept. 27

ANDHRA Pradesh Tourism has added another cruiser, Khair-un-Nissa, to its fleet, reviving memories of a 200-year-old love story involving a Muslim girl and a British officer that has become part of the local lore.

Khair-un-Nissa (1776-1813), granddaughter of Nawab Akhool-ud-Dowla, the Bakshi of Nizam Ali Khan, fell in love with James Achilles Kirkpatrick, a British officer stationed at Hyderabad. She ran away to Kirkpatrick's residence when her elders tried to marry her off to a Muslim noble.

The Nizam adopted the British officer and named him Hushmat Jung Nawab Fakr-ud-Doula to facilitate the marriage.

A troupe re-enacted the 18th-century love story, penned by Ms Bilkiz Alladdin, on the vessel's top deck.

The APTDC (Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation) spent Rs 1.6 crore to build the twin-deck cruiser that was launched to mark World Tourism Day. Addressing reporters here on Tuesday, after flagging off the cruiser, Ms J. Geeta Reddy, Minister for Tourism, Sugar and Major Industries, said the cruiser targeted MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) business.

The cruiser houses an air-conditioned conference hall, facilities for audio-visual presentation and a stage on the top deck for cultural activities.

The tariff for a five-hour (daytime) slot is Rs 10,000. For bookings other than conferences, it would cost Rs 6,000 for two hours daytime.

The cruiser would also host cultural events in the evenings, open to the public. Tariff for adults is Rs 90 (per head) and for children, Rs 50.

The minister said that the State Government was building tourism infrastructure in the districts to help promote rural tourism. "It will have spin-off effects and help provide sustainable economy," she said.

Earlier in the day, she flagged off a vintage car and two-wheeler rally.

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