Saroornagar is a mandal in Andhra Pradesh that tourists in the area may want to check out. There are several sites of interest here, including the Indoor Stadium built when Hyderabad hosted the National Games as well as Priyadarshini Park. The most striking sites and the ones that generally command the most attention from sightseers, however, are the Saroornagar Lake and Saroornagar Palace, which is now known as the Victoria Memorial Orphanage.
Saroornagar Lake is one of the main water bodies of Hyderabad, and like most of the other manmade lakes in the region, designed to store rainwater in order for residents of nearby towns and cities to use for things like the irrigation of crops. Built in the 16th century, the lake actually fared quite well for a while until the sudden and rapid expansion of Hyderabad’s population led to more and more people encroaching on the land surrounding the lake. The result was only to be expected, in a way: the lake began to experience serious pollution issues as well as losses in volume, given that many of its catchment areas were already beginning to be taken over by new residences and structures.
The government reacted by installing treatment facilities to handle the sewage and forbidding construction on or near the lakebed. Similar to what happened in nearby Hussain Sagar Lake, which experienced much the same problems, the government began to convert the lake too into a tourism site, adding facilities and parkland to the environs for people to enjoy the space freely. Soon after the efforts began, it was noted that migratory flocks of birds came back to the lake again, to the delight of locals. Even now, you might be lucky enough to see some of these beautiful birds as they pass by the area.
The other main attraction of this place, the palace, was actually more like a hunting-lodge-cum-royal-residence. Situated fairly close to the lake, the palace was commissioned by the sixth Nizam, the same one who made Purani Haveli his official residence during his reign. This Nizam was a most active royal, fond of activities such as hunting and tracking game, and so favoured the Saroornagar area for his recreation: he thus ordered the palace built, only to suffer a setback when it was decided that the finished building was not too auspicious for him. In order to make the most of the finished structure, the Nizam converted it into an orphanage where the underprivileged and orphaned could get their needs tended to. It was also renamed the Victoria Memorial Orphanage (after the eponymous Queen of England).
Something to note about the Saroornagar Palace in particular is that it is quite wonderfully representative of the original architectural styles of the period during which it was built. While many shall point to other palaces in Hyderabad as having the same characteristic, the truth is that the edifice also referred to as the Victoria Memorial Orphanage is perhaps a front-runner in this category, because it has undergone so few restorative or improving interventions from the authorities. As a result, it has remained more or less the same throughout the centuries, unlike many of the other buildings that were given constant attention and which saw additions in later styles being tacked on to the original plan.