HYDERABAD — Ivanka Trump came to India to talk about empowering female entrepreneurs. But for many in Hyderabad, a centuries-old southern city that has emerged as a technology hub, her trip has been a chance to savor the glamour of the American president’s family.
On Nov. 29, locals strained behind security barricades near a medieval fort hoping for a glimpse of their VIP visitor.
Irfana Begum, who was dodging barricades trying to figure out what road home was open for traffic, said she was very glad that Trump chose to visit, despite the inconvenience of getting about the city.
“She’s so confident and beautiful. Her father is the president. She’s like a queen,” Begum said.
Trump arrived in Hyderabad Nov. 28 to lead a U.S. delegation of 350 at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit being held in the city. The three-day summit was jointly co-hosted by the U.S. and India this year.
Hyderabad was given a makeover ahead of her visit. Potholes were filled, traffic overpasses painted and the homeless made to vanish, at least temporarily.
The city rounded up hundreds of beggars, taking them to male and female shelters, and authorities also began strictly enforcing a begging ban on the city’s streets and in other public places.
In her speech to open the conference, which was broadcast live throughout India by major news channels, Trump spoke of the hurdles faced by women in business.
India has a low rate of women participating in the workforce. A recent World Bank report ranked India 120th among 131 countries with available data.
But for many in Hyderabad it was more about Trump than the issues.
“I don’t know much about her, but I know she’s an important person,” said Kashif, who gave only one name. “It’s a very good thing that she’s come to our city and to this place. It’s a proud moment.”
After participating in a panel discussion Nov. 29, Trump visited the Golconda Fort ahead of her scheduled departure.
“Prime Minister Modi and his Cabinet members with him were incredibly warm and I think it was a very enlightening and inspiring summit for all those who attended,” Trump told reporters. “Certainly, it was for me.”
IANS adds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a five-course dinner at the Taj Falaknuma for Trump and other dignitaries attending the GES.
Modi and Trump were joined by Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and Tata Sons Chairman N. Chandrashekaran. The dining table seated 101 guests and is considered to be the longest and most opulent dining table in the world.
The palace's team of culinary experts, led by Executive Chef Sajesh Nair, presented a five-course menu inspired by Hyderabadi, Telangana and Nizami cuisine.
Soup, kebabs and koftas were among the delicacies served.
The signature menu also gave the distinguished guests a taste of rare Indian ingredients such as sandalwood, saffron and figs, said the palace hotel.
"Our chefs have worked tirelessly to recreate a unique dining experience from the Nizam's kitchen and we are certain to create memories for PM Modi and Ms. Trump that will last a lifetime," said Ritesh Sharma, GM, Taj Falaknuma Palace.
The table decor was inspired by the rich cultural heritage of the Deccan region.
Rare artefacts and silver decorative pieces were brought in from the Nizam's private collection at Chowmahalla Palace, while the upholstery used during the dinner was made with locally sourced fabrics such as ikkat, teliya and velvet.
Trump's welcome ritual began with a traditional ‘aarti’ and lighting of the lamp ceremony. All dignitaries to the glittering event were also welcomed with local ‘mogras’ and rose flowers.
Butlers dressed in traditional sherwanis and vibrant headgear represented India's ceremonial customs.
The elaborate dining set up was laid out with the palace's premium collection of glassware and silverware, along with personalized menus for each guest.
A gong was played to signify the beginning of each course and a personal butler served each of the 101 diners.