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Cars & Cartier: Ampersand goes to Hyderabad

Cars & Cartier: Ampersand goes to Hyderabad

This month Ampersand travelled to the city of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, India for the fifth Cartier Travel with Style Concours d’Elegance, one of the world’s most prestigious vintage car events. The glamorous celebration is held every two years at locations across the subcontinent and this year saw the ‘city of pearls’ hosting the occasion at the Taj Falaknuma Palace. The setting was a nod to Cartier’s long standing relationship with Indian royalty with the estate being the historic home of the renowned rulers of Hyderabad. Patron and exhibitor, Princess Esra Jah of Hyderabad, opened the doors of her family seat, and along with her children, showed some of the family’s priceless collection of vintage motor cars.

Prince Michael And Princess Sheikha
Taj Falaknuma Palace, perched 2,000 ft over the city and built in 1894, was formerly the home of the Nizam, the richest man in the world in his time, and exudes magnificence. Lovingly restored by Princess Esra to its former glory, the palace is now run by Taj Hotels with great opulence offering visitors a unique chance to relive the glory days of this 400-year old city and its spectacular heritage. Given the accolade of the World’s Best Palace Hotel, Taj Falaknuma, spread over 32 acres, boasts breathtaking state rooms, including a dining room seating 101, durbar hall bedecked with Belgian chandeliers and suites that are the epitome of true luxury.

Taj Falaknuma Palace
Since 2009 Cartier Travel with Style has ranked amongst the world’s most acclaimed motor festivals and is a one of a kind vintage car exhibition held every two years in India. In the words of host Guillame Alix, Regional Managing Director, Cartier Middle East, India and Africa: ‘The relationship between Cartier and India dates back over 100 years and this event is our special endeavour to renew this link and above all celebrate the remarkable design and craftsmanship of India’s automobile heritage which has produced some of the most distinctive and luxurious of cars’. Alix continues: ‘The centuries-old air of royal splendour found in Hyderabad perfectly complements the spirit of show’.  The collection is curated by the debonair Manvendra Singh of Barwani, who has dedicated decades to the preservation of vintage automobiles in India. Singh travels extensively in search of fine examples hidden away in long locked up palace garages and takes great pleasure in the restoration of these ‘works of art, commissioned during a golden age of the country’s royalty’. The author of the excellent coffee table book Automobiles of the Maharajas, Singh’s passion for cars runs in the family with his daughter Princess Vidita Singh being a leading and gifted artist who has imaginatively documented India’s automative history through her canvas and undertakes commissions capturing much loved vehicles.

Car At Concours
The competition during the event was held over several classes including pre-war classics, roadster and even motorcycles. Private collectors and royalty from all over India and abroad showcased their vehicles to be judged by a notable panel led by chairman HRH Prince Michael of Kent. This year a total of 112 rare vehicles were exhibited and there were some interesting new categories like the American Aerodynamique Class. A notable highlight was the presentation of the special FIVA and UNESCO Preservation trophy to a 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost owned by Yuvraj Kesri Singh of Wankane, the first ever Indian car to have won this trophy. The judges included founder of Goodwood Festival of Speed, Lord March; Sandra Button and supermodel Yasmin Le Bon amongst others.

Prince Michael And Princess Sheikha 2
A dazzling evening followed with a gala dinner hosted by Princess Esra and family at the restored Chowmahalla Palace in the city centre. The richly decorated rooms were filled with guests from all over the world, including MD of Conde Nast publications, Nicholas Coleridge; model Amber Le Bon and photographer Derry Moore. The attendees were greeted by a mounted cavalry leading them to a drinks reception serenaded by a liveried band playing bagpipes and a firework display which illuminated the 200-year old palace with its courtyards, towers and pools creating a transporting scene back in time. Authentic Nawabi cuisine was served at dinner, with exquisite biriyanis and other dishes that Hyderabad is justly famed for, which took place inside the glorious museum with guests seated on low tables bedecked with white linen, crystal candelabras and the family royal china. A night that conjured up all that is magical about India’s heritage that still lives on in unforgettable events such as these.

For more information or to start planning your tailor-made holiday to India please contact us: // +44 (0) 207 819 9770

Client Testimonials

Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
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So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
I would recommend Ampersand without any hesitation!!! The best travel agent that I’ve ever had. Everything – from the individual care and attention in planning the trip, through to the efficiency of the agents on the ground in India – was handled brilliantly. An absolutely first-class service all round!
- Matthew Annable, Rajasthan, India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
Ampersand’s preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet booking age. They were a delight to deal with!
- Mr David Wallace, North India
I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India

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