15th April 2016
Its my first time in the city. In the blistering heat – its 47 degrees, we have a south indian wedding to attend over the weekend, and I haven’t even started packing. The flight leaves early morning and I am still in two minds whether to carry more of silks or georgette. In the end, I stick to one each…this is my first time at a full fledged south indian wedding, and I want to go prepared.
We reached friday morning and went straight to hi-tech city also known as Cyberabad. The who’s who of the companies are all here but this part of the city was really really far from the airport…like 1.5 hours. On the way I found out that the main city is another hour way. Instantly I was reminded of Bangalore airport. Its quite painful come to think about it…but the roads were pretty awesome and soon we were zooming at a cool speed of 120. Not bad for a morning long drive.
We head over to our hotel which was quite comfortable and quickly get changed. The day goes on with meeting our hosts, having lunch at their residence and then quickly getting ready for the cocktail party in the evening. Marigolds were all over the place and one look, and anyone could guess there was a wedding underway.
Its was a beautiful sight, one that brings pure joy…with children running around in the traditional lehenga with colorful flowers in their hair…I completely immersed to the rituals in and around. Some part of me throughout the weekend wondered, wouldn’t it have been nice to include some of these traditions in my wedding too…hahaa…one just can’t get enough I guess…
The day went by and although we thought we would get some time off, it just didn’t happen. Saturday was the sight-seeing day. I had a couple of places in mind which I had generously googled but going for everything in a single day was going to be impossible. So we cut down to three locations:
- Salarjung Museum
- Golconda Fort
This is pretty much in the order of how we visited the locations.
We started off post lunch and our first stop was Charminar. It was a rather long journey to reach the place…and first look, instantly reminded me of Chandni Chowk. Pick Charminar’s any galli and put in in chandni chowk, guaranteed you won’t be able to tell the difference.
It was really really hot that day. For some reason, everyone’s eyes were burning and watering. This was the first time I ever came across something like this due to the weather. It was insane. Some of my folks wanted to go to chudi-bazaar which is quite famous. Its a lane entirely dedicated to bangles from laakh, to glass bangles, party wear etc…its a beautiful lane if you’re into street shopping, but today was exceptionally difficult.
Just like Chandni Chowk, this place required crazy amount of bargaining…think 70% reduction kinds…which honestly requires some level of persuasion and determination. The heat makes it rather difficult to concentrate. I really did wish to buy quite a few pieces just for the heck of it…but I gave up…it was just not the day.
While there are shops on both the sides of the street, and have fans inside…the front of the shops are either covered with plastic or are left open…leaving the hot air inside to remain inside. Its like a furnace in the real sense. I kept telling everyone around me that we are getting fried in the true sense.
Within an hour we had to leave the place. Charminar honestly is gorgeous, its an imposing structure in the middle of busy lanes of old Hyderabad city…if you are a history enthusiast, its definitely worth checking out…all the lanes in and around have some story attached to it…you can see shops have engulfed some old houses…there are neglected broken windows and doors in every nook and corner…each one having a distinct tale..
History of Charminar: Translating to “four towers”, this monument and mosque was constructed by Qutb Shah in the 16th century to commemorate the beginning of the second Islamic millennium year.
Interesting Facts: Qutb shah constructed the Charminar in the year 1589, on the very spot where he first glimpsed his future queen Bhagmati, and after her conversion to Islam, Qutb Shah renamed the city as “Hyderabad”.
Chudi Bazaar: Check out couple of shops before zeroing in on one shop. Ideally you should buy in bulk from any one shop to get a heavy discount. The shop prices vary quite a bit for the same kind of bangles…so it makes sense to get an idea about acceptable prices.
My opinion – Get into one of the chudi stores…and get chatty with any of the store owners…that’s what we did…if he is relatively free…you will hear all kinds of historically relevant tales from him. Some tales might be exaggerated, but its still worth it ! P.S. If you’re a neat freak, then probably you should avoid this place.
We left from the place around 2ish and moved on to Salarjung Museum which was in the same vicinity. I think it took us hardly 15-20 mins to reach this place. The road parallel to the museum also shows you another favorite sight seeing spot…the Hussain Sagar Lake which is nice. I didn’t see a reason to stop over and spend time here…I mean, its just a lake. But from the picture below, it definitely makes sense to stop over here if you’re visiting this place in the evening. The look totally changes with the lighting and the look feel.
Coming to Salarjung Museum, by far one of the best museums I have visited in awhile. I am usually not too keen on museums, but this one was top class. Spread across a huge area, the museum almost looks like a palace, and has multiple wings and floors having artifacts from before Christ era to recent times.
I am not that much of a history buff, but come on…ancient manuscripts, jewellery, cutlery and relics are seriously worth spending time on. I wish we had more time, I couldn’t visit all the rooms…it was humongous…if you have the time and interest, I would definitely recommend spending a good one day to spare at the museum. You won’t be disappointed.
Interesting Facts: The museum is known to be one of the world’s largest one man art collection. Established in the year 1951 at the resident palace of Salar Jung III, this museum has artifacts from India, western countries, middle east as well as far east countries.
We left from Salarjung Museum around 3:30pm and by then we were starving. Hyderabad biryani is world famous, and naturally everyone’s eyes were on the famous Paradise Hotel. We just knew, if its biryani we had to be here. But turns out, Paradise Hotel now has chains all over Hyderabad. We quickly asked around and decided to go to the main branch of the hotel.
I am quite clueless where it is located though…I was exhausted by then. Food was in abundance…and it was wowww…just one tip…order less than what you normally consume…because their portions are huge. We were 6 of us and so we ordered the jumbo biryani pack….but by the end of it…there was more than half still left on the plate. The package was meant for 4-5 people…I really don’t know who are these 4-5 people who can finish a meal like that….
So, its better to be careful and not waste food… 🙂
Next stop was Golconda Fort. We were exhausted and were almost going to cancel, but thank goodness we didn’t because this place is by far the best location to check out in Hyderabad. Hands down. I found so many things awesome about Golconda Fort, that I am writing a separate post just on that. I tried combining it in this post…but there is just too much I want to share…
Wait for it… coming right up 🙂