It is a building. It is a hospital. Unfortunately, the twain meet.
From a distance, the Osmania General Hospital looks a majestic citadel with domes reaching out to the sky like inverted raindrops. The pastel paint of the huge building complex makes it seem idyllic in the mellow evening sunshine.
Get closer, and it is a hospital. A mammoth institution situated in the bristling old city, it is forever teeming with people - speaking many dialects, some muttering, some mumbling, some sharing simmering silence with their fellow attendants. The premises are typically sarkari
, with eagle-eyed parking attendants smelling of zarda
displaying amazing alacrity in tearing out colored pieces of paper and moving on to swoop down on another 2-wheeler rider even as they are pocketing the coins handed by the first one. The canteen, the verandahs, the lobbies, the huge high-ceilinged halls - there are people swarming every nook and corner.
So much so that, if you cross this threshold for non-medical and touristy interests, you are not likely to see much of the walls or the windows. The bedded patients are lost somewhere in the large halls with the roof almost invisible somewhere up in the sky, and the only thing that takes away your attention from the immovable structure is the flurry of the doctors and staff and those who hope they some teeny part of all that important bustle would ultimately serve to give them a little succor.
But then, Osmania Hospital is, indeed, the largest Government hospital in the state, with state-of-the art equipment, a battery of specialists, and advanced care facilities for practically every ailment from Hernia to HIV. There may be mixed feelings about the institution, though there is unequivocal agreement that the building itself is quite magnificent.
The hospital with a medical college attached stretches across an entire locality. It begins as you step off Naya Pul and then goes on and on up to Purana Pul and beyond, running along the eastern bank of Musi. So yes, you get rooms with views here. All right, it's not much of a view, but if the Musi were alive it would have been. Not that you should ever have to find out.
Across from the River Park, this large, almost forbidding 3-storeyed hospital was built in 1925, under the reign of the 7th Nizam. It was constructed during the City Improvement Board phase of the Nizam's rule. This phase has characteristic architectural styling designed by Vincent Esch, whose work includes the lovely High Court
building, which faces the hospital. This was the time that localities were redeveloped, roads were constructed, and the Musi riverfront was snazzed up by this forward-thinking Nizam.
So in sum, it is all a matter of viewpoint. If you are a fit and fine human being who can swallow scenes of distress with detachment and single-mindedly pursue your architectural proclivities, then Osmania Hospital is a must-see. But if the stomach churns and you feel faint at the sight of hospitals, patients, saline bottles and the all-pervading smell of spirit, restrict yourself to a view of the complex, etched into the skyline, from across the river. Or from any point or angle where you can relax with a cup of tea and gaze on.