Of Cultural Milieu, Royalty and Evolution - Hyderabad !!

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  • Sunday, October 9, 2011
  • Crossword Connect: Nizams, Biryani, Pearls, Karanchi fruit biscuits, Cyber city....Yeah bingo! you got it right. We are talking of Hyderabad. Known for not one or two but numerous distinctive traits, the city has teleported in time. The capital of Andhra Pradesh - the southern province of Indian, the city of Hyderabad has been an independent province even after freedom from the British rule and was annexed by the Indian territory only as late as the 1960s.


    It just struck me that it draws a lot of similarity with Lucknow in terms of culture & tradition probably because of the influence of Mughal heritage. But like most of the unique cultural paradises in India, Hyderabad is an amalgamation of traditions transcending eras. This has rendered an unique identity to it - blame it on the innumerable invaders or the beauty & wealth of the city which attracted them all.

    From the Churiyan wali gali, Banne nawab food, Halim, and Pearls in the old city near Charminar to the Biryani king – Paradise in Securabad, to Asia's largest film city on the outskirts – Ramoji city; Hyderabad is a sweet & spicy mix of old & new served on a platter full of rich taste.

    Food I think is one of the obsessions of the people here apart from movies - so a must have is the super spicy Andhra Thali(chutneys, curries, karampuris, rice, rasam, sambhar, papad, pickle, fish, prawn, chicken - ufff am hungry already!)
    Warning: Try only if your taste buds relish the super 'hot' Indian spices and your stomach does not behave awry at the slightest tinge of chilli.

    In order to understand the history of the city, you must visit the Golconda Fort, we recommend you to take a guide who will give you a brief introduction of the fort and take you to the spots that have some historic significance else the fort is reduced to a mere 5km wander trek .

    The light & sound show starting at dusk (around 6:30 PM) is worth a watch as it encapsulates the whole history of the place in 45 mins. The vivid lighting and the surround sounds bring the fort to life. It is more like a time travel into the 15th century where you find yourself amidst a chaotic day in the king's empire. If only, all history lessons were like the light and sound shows - we would have been brighter kids! From how the city was conceptualized, to the spinning of threads of the cultural fabric to the weaving of it all to build an empire and then defend it, protect it, save it from the clutches of the invaders - the show facilitates you to live the history and not just read it.

    Places to visit :

    Salar Jung Museum:
    It is Gigantic !! (make sure you have 3hrs to do justice to the craftsmanship that it exposes you to!)
    The veiled Rebecca, the Cuckoo clock(you should be here at 11:59 AM to hear the cuckoos go full chirpy), the art (European, Persian, East Asian, Middle Eastern), the medium (ceramic, glass, lacquer, wood, jade, metal) - EXQUISITE!

    Other museums include the Nizams Palace, Birla Science Museum

    Ramoji Film City:
    Supposedly the world’s largest integrated film studio, spread over an area of 2000 acres and built in the year 1996 by the founder of Ramoji group (Eenadu) is Tollywood's (Telugu Film Industries) very own West Coast LA. The action sequence in the recent blockbuster-Robot was shot here in the studio. It was the 1st in India to conceive the idea of entertainment tourism by making it accessible to the movie fanatics in early 2000s. There is a provision to stay inside too- the 5 star - Sitara and 3 star - Tara Hotel in Ramoji will cost you close to INR5999 & INR 7999 respectively per couple per night.

    Birla Temple: Located in the heart of the city, perched on a small hillock, this stunner in white cannot be missed.

    Lumbini Park: Located at the Tank bund, on the banks of the Hussain Sagar Lake this statue of Buddha is an example of carving craftsmanship to marvel at. It has drowned many a times, but is always pulled out and put back.

    Hussain Sagar Lake: This huge lake(is dirty at certain edges but is majorly clean) is the hub of the city. Eat street, ice cream and snack hawkers, fairs, walking tracks, kids amusement park, wonderful cafes make it the hustle centre. This is beautifully lit in the night and is the hang out place for the teens/the twennies/the octagenarians too. Right across is the 3D Imax!

    Hi Tech City: Now this is the Palo Alto of South India. All the biggies in the industry have an office here, the Hi Tech convention Centre, the world class Gachibowli stadium, the cyberparks - make you wonder if Hyderabad was this old old town or is it this ultra modern city of the dot com era.
    Runway 9: It is the Clubbing zone - roughly 12kms from Secunderabad Circle - has go karting, discs, chequered flag(the pub), paintball, archery, skating.

    Eating and Drinking: The hard rock cafe(at GVK one on Banjara), Ten Downing Street- TDS(Lifestyle building, Begumpet), Continental Food at Tabla(Banjara), Desserts at Deli 9(Banjara), Biryani at Paradise(Secunderabad), Haleem at Amruta Castle(Tankbund), Sweets at Pulla Reddys. Do buy the Andhara Pickle(especially Gongura) to carry a flavor of the city with you

    Shopping: Flea market at Charminar(bangles, junk jwellery), Malls like Central, Lifestyle, City centre(in Banjara/Begumpet)

    Cultural Milieu: they don't say that India is diverse for no reason. The hyderabadi dialect is a pot pourri of hindi, urdu, lots of accent, notes of sweet and high order of conjugation. "Kya miya/bayya", "kaikoo", "kya karrra" may sound like a foreign lingo, but it is a distant cousin to hindi.

    Mid Range hotels (INR 1000- 3000/ night) like the Hotel Aditya in Secunderabad, Taj Tri Star, Blue Fox offer a peaceful and comfortable stay. You can shop at the Secunderabad Road, along the Paradise hotel for pearls or buy them from the old market in Charminar. Bargain works just like the rest of the country.

    Overerall, the city of Hyderabad is generally cordial to outsiders and safe for the ladies, but caution is never a bad idea!

    Airport: The newest addition to the city, is more of an arcade. The Hyderabad International Airport has a hard rock cafe, a go karting track too. It is no less than a Frankfurt or a Heathrow sans the frequent flights and the bustling crowds :)

    For more log onto http://wikitravel.org/en/Hyderabad
    And watch this for an amusing hyderabadi baataan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQBPn1tdiyI
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