Hyderabad: President Ram Nath Kovind arrived in Hyderabad on a four-day customary southern sojourn.

He was welcomed at the Hakimpet Air Force station here by Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana E S L Narasimhan, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Home Minister Mohammed Mehmood Ali and several officials.

The President would stay at the Rashtrapati Nilayam in the city, one of the Presidential Retreats, till December 24, according to an official release issued earlier.

He will attend a programme at the district headquarters town of Karimnagar on Saturday.

He will host the 'At Home' at the Rashtrapati Nilayam on December 23 before returning to Delhi the next day, the release said.

It is customary for the President to visit Rashtrapati Nilayam and conduct official business from there at least once a year.

Located at Bolarum, Rashtrapati Nilayam building was taken over from the Nizam of Hyderabad after the country attained independence and handed over to the President's Secretariat.

Constructed in 1860, the single-storied building is located on a 90-acre piece of land. The building became the country house of the British Resident at Secunderabad. Following the liberation of Hyderabad state in 1948, the building was named Rashtrapati Nilayam and became the President's Retreat.

The President usually stays here at least once a year and conducts official business from here. This building also houses visiting dignitaries.

The Nilayam has a dining hall, darbar hall, morning room, cinema hall among other rooms. It is unique, because one has to bring food through an underground tunnel as the kitchen and dining hall are situated in independent buildings and are connected by a tunnel.

In December 2009, the 7,000 square meter herbal garden was inaugurated. It has about 116 species of medicinal and aromatic plants including citronella, lemon grass, geranium, coriander, sandalwood, tuber rose, jasmine and tulsi.