After decades of closure, ITC readies Nedou’s hotel for launch in Srinagar

NEW DELHI, Sept 2: Set in the heart of Srinagar city on the Maulana Azad Road, the historic Nedou’s hotel is getting ready for an early launch as the property leased out to the ITC Group has been redesigned and redeveloped.
Nedou’s have been the pioneers of the hospitality sector in Kashmir. They ran two properties in the Valley, one in Srinagar and the other in the Gulmarg ski resort.
Gulmarg property has remained functional while the Srinagar property remained closed since the beginning of violence in the Himalayan state in 1988-89.
The heritage hotel property was used as barracks by the CRPF for some years during the peak of violence in 1990s. After the property was taken over by it on long lease, ITC has set up a 114-room five-star hotel with 25 deluxe rooms to revive the heritage property spread over nearly 10 acre of land.
“It is going to be a world-class hospitality and a glittering jewel in Srinagar city.”
“Restoration and renovation of the hotel as an ITC Hotel, has been done around the existing building structures, harking back to its glorious past as a tribute to the rich heritage of Srinagar. The new building blocks have been planned to complement and enhance the existing architectural vocabulary of the hotel.”
The buildings are offset by a rich foreground of lush green flowering gardens resonating the picturesque Srinagar landscape.
“A ‘Mahtab Bagh’ or moon light garden is part of the landscape, resonating the famous Mughal gardens of the city,” ITC officials supervising the Hotel completion said.
The hotel is set for an early launch as Kashmir witnessed an unprecedented tourist flow this year that broke the record of past 40 years.
ITC has now a new tie-up with Ahad Group of Hotels while it is already working with 50,000 retailers across Jammu and Kashmir. One cannot imagine the glory of the Nedou’s Hotel without going into its historical and romantic past.
Michael Adam Nedou from Ragusa, a Croatian heritage walled city on the Adriatic sea, built the Nedou’s Hotel in Srinagar in the 19th century and this was the only premier hotel in the city during the reign of the Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh.
Michael had a small property in Lahore. He then built the Nedou’s first in Gulmarg in 1888 and then in Srinagar city. Michael’s relationship with Kashmir was converted into an eternal romance when his son, Harry fell in love with a Gujjar girl, Mir Jan during his stay in Gulmarg.
Mir Jan’s father agreed to give his daughter’s hand to Harry provided he converted to Islam which the love smitten youth immediately agreed. The couple had a beautiful daughter, Akbar Jahan who was married to Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.
Sheikh Abdullah founded the National Conference and led the revolt against the autocratic Dogra rule. The historical guest list of the Nedou’s Hotel reads like the who-is-who of the rich and the famous of those times such as the Last viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten and his wife Edwina and Maharajas of various Indian princely states, including Gwalior and Kolhapur.
In 1955, the hotel hosted a top-level USSR delegation led by Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev, both of whom later became USSR premiers.
With state-of-the-art modern hospitality advantages keeping its historical romance and glory intact, ITC’s Nedou’s Hotel in Srinagar is soon going to be the dream destination of Kashmir. (Agencies)