No matter where or why you travel, there’s always something wonderfully new to be found.
My romance with Travel started early at a very impressionable age. Needless to say I fell madly, deeply, irrevocably in love with exploring new places, absorbing in the beauty, savoring new cultures and experiencing life as never before.
And just like with many, this first love has managed to occupy a big piece of my heart till date. Either traveling or planning a travel trip is how one will usually find me.
So when opportunity knocked, how could I miss this chance to spend two glorious weeks in the land of Nawabs and Biryani.
Him: I have to travel down to Hyderabad next month for 3 weeks. *dead serious expression*
Me: Okay! When are you traveling?
Him: 14 Apr – 2 May. *smile returning, that-was-easy look!*
Me: Great! I’ll book my tickets, you sort out the accommodation.
Him: …. *priceless expression*
And the rest, as they say, is history!
So off we went, together, to the Land of Nawabs – Hyderabad.
If there is one word that can be used to describe the culture in Hyderabad, it is ‘diverse’. It was under Muslim rule for 600-700 years, thus u can find a significant Muslim population, most of which is concentrated in the old city.
A lot many kept telling me Hyderabad was going to be scorching hot, it was surprisingly pleasant & breezy. Best thing about Hyd’s weather is that no matter how warm it gets in the afternoon, the evenings are usually pleasant.
The first couple of days were spent lounging in the hotel suite, catching up on the latest in Westeros, and few days – working (how else am I to keep the passion in my love story with Travel alive & kicking!).
I DON’T HAVE A LICENSE TO KILL BUT I HAVE A LEARNER’S PERMIT.
First thing you notice about this city is the traffic. It’s hard to miss.
I thought Delhi topped the list of cities disobeying basic rules, that, until I visited Hyderabad.
It’s not the volume of traffic but the lack of discipline that’s insane and the locals are fine with it!
Trying to cross a road in Hyderabad is like playing Need For Speed. One wrong move and you’re dead.
The whole city has a permit, the way they drive! Thankfully, God has blessed me with a strong heart & a stronger stomach!
And thankfully I wasn’t driving, I was being driven! 🙂
When in Hyderabad 🙂 Travel the Hyderabadi way. Auto Ride.
Traveling the Hyderabad way. In a Rick!
(Don’t know why but most women & men here prefer their faces covered when traveling.)
You don’t experience the world sitting in your room. And so the city exploration started!
First stop Golkonda Fort. A magnificent remnant of history.
An entry fee needs to be paid. Rs.5 for Nationals and Rs.100 for foreigners.
Golkonda Fort Pass
Tour guides available for those who want an escorted tour. They offer long & short tours. Short ones last 45 minutes. Negotiate. They quoted Rs. 650. We paid Rs. 200 for 45 minutes.
Magnificent Golkonda Fort
The Fort was built by Kakatiyas in 945CE-970CE. It took over 60 years to complete the construction, spreading across 11km.
Golkonda comprises of four distinct forts with a 10km long outer wall, 87 semicircular bastions (some still mounted with cannons). The are eight gateways, four drawbridges, royal apartments, halls, temples, mosques, stables, etc. all inside its walls.
One enters via the outermost enclosure by the ‘Fateh Darwaza’ studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent siege from enemies). Fateh Darwaza or the Gate of Victory, so called after Aurangzeb’s triumphant army marched in through this gate.
A hand clap below the dome at entrance reverberates & can be heard clearly at the highest point almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack. There was no technology back then. Common sense really was common in that era.
At Fateh Darwaza, a fantastic acoustic effect can be experienced, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda.
Walk Of Fame
The architectural valour of this magnificent fortress still gleams in each of the walkways, apartments, halls, temples, mosques.
The Guest Chambers, this one was a RECENT addition towards the 1600 century. 😉
Exquisitely beautiful chambers for visitors
The construction of any structure usually starts from the ground level to the top most point. This one started from the top and worked its way to the main gates miles away.
The Fort – Built on the highest grounds of the city.
Best time to visit Golkonda is around 5 pm. Enough time to tour the fort, catch the sunset & enjoy the light & fountain show.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was taking a walk in history. The place does that to you.
The mandatory tourist pose!
Next on my list was Char Minar, Hyderabad’s best known historical landmark.
The Iconic Landmark
In the midst of the hustle bustle, lies this old monument, Hyderabad’s best known historical landmark built in 1591. The structure is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverized marble.
Early Morning is the best time to visit if you wish to really enjoy the beauty of this monument. The neighboring bazaar vicinity is thronged by locals and tourists in the day-time so much so that it puts Delhi’s Palika Bazaar to shame.
The teeming lanes that surround Char Minar boasts of one of the most colourful bazaars in India.
Beauty lies in the eye of the lens-holder
The famous Lad Bazaar is located here where colourful bangles, pearl jewelry, accessories, footwear, clothes etc can be bought at very reasonable prices. You can put your negotiation skills to test here!
Another important place of interest in Hyderabad is Hussain Sagar Lake built in the year 1575 by a Sultan at a cost of about Rs. 2.5 lakhs. That, in that era was a helluva amount!!
Hussain Sagar Lake
Hussain Sagar Lake is one of the largest man-made lake situated at the confluence of Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Begumpet.
A 18 meter high monolithic statue of Lord Buddha towers over the lake from atop the Rock of Gibraltar.
It is very sad to see that people dump garbage into the lake indiscriminately. In the past 30 years, the lake has shrunk about 40% of its original size (550 ha to 349 ha) due to public and private encroachments. Sad indeed. If you don’t mind the stale smell and ignore the pollution, the place is a marvel.
Necklace Road! Didn’t have to go too far to visit this stretch. Had heard so much about it that just couldn’t think of missing the experience.
The stretch of road appears in the form of a necklace, named after the first and the famous Necklace Road in Mumbai’s Marine Drive. Necklace Road is a boulevard in Hyderabad, adjoining the Hussain Sagar lake, which connects NTR Gardens to Sanjeevaiah Park. This boulevard is complete with beautiful lawns, restaurants, recreational facilities and good views of the city of Hyderabad.
Pic Courtesy: Internet
Best time to visit is after sunset. One can see the city lights reflecting on the water, lining the boundary showing off the famous Necklace.
There are so many more places & jewels tucked away in the streets of this city, waiting to be discovered, explored and cherished.
One day soon, Inshaallah, I’ll be back to reacquaint myself with this city.
Till then Khuda Hafiz!