When I landed in this city 1O years back (jan 18,2002), never did I realize that I would stay or stick to this place so long. There was nothing that I liked about this city, the hyderabadi cuisine, the odour, the colors, the language(dakhni hindi), the design, the Hyderabadi traits like laid back attitude, laziness, unpunctuality, the hard water, the dry weather, My rented home(though it was a brand new home), the shops, streets, hotels, the little kiosks with kebabs dangling…….. nothing I liked …. Nothing… at all.
Today 1O years later, subtly and without realizing it consciously the city has made me fall in love with it.
After all this city is known as the city of love and was born out of love.
Hyderabad the 400 year old city is my home for the past 10 years. A city which is a historians delight and its air, redolent with history. Built for the love for Bhagmati , the fifth king of Golkonda Mohammad Quli Qutub shah founded and designed the city and named it after her as Bhagyanagar in 1589. He had decreed that the new city should be "unparalled in the world and a replica of heaven itself” and his words were taken literally and planned as per the definition of the holy verse of Quran’s paradise. When his lady love joined the royal palace as his queen she was renamed “Hyder Mahal” and Bhagyanagar was renamed as Hyderabad, now the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
A city of oriental glory, the old city still is reminiscent of the great days of the Indo-Muslim culture and the new city- a perfect blend of north and south.
Today, like all other Tier I cities, this city too has emerged as a global IT (Cyberabad)and bio-tech(genome valley) major along with retaining its royal cultural identity(old city hyderabad) and colonial cantonment identity(Secunderabad, though named after Sikandar Jah was originally called Lashkar meaning army camp).
Now 1O years later, the scent, sight, flavor, sound, language and everything about Hyderabad/Cyberabad/secunderabad has sunk into me and influenced me so much that, I’ve turned into a true blue Hyderabadi.
This post is not a travel guide but a list of things that I have done/seen or observed in Hyderabad.(my experiences and may differ from person to person)
- · The first thing that would perhaps strike about this city is the language. The dakhni language which reflects their laid backness in its usage. You will find them combining the words aa raha hai to aara , dekh raha hai to dekra, kar raha hai to karra like in kya karra bhai tu?( kya kar rahe ho bhai tu?or the use of ‘ re’ like in kya re? This even spills into English like in what re? Why re?
From the beginning, I would advise my children not to use ‘re’ in their speech and today they tell me ‘Amma, you told us not to use ‘re’ and now you are using it. Such is the influence.
Arrey, yes re bhai, this is hyderabadi language. Hum aisaich hain.( we are like that only)( any body interested in this language, watch rib-tickling movies like Angrez or Aadab Hyderabad and you would know what I am talking about)
- · If you are a person who is in a hurry to finish things first like me, this city would slow you down. Their attitude towards any thing in life is ‘lite le le’.(Take it lightly)
- · The first time I came into the city, we brought our car by road and as soon as we entered the city near Shamshabad, I found we were the only ones who stopped for signal. The rest never bothered. All lights in the traffic signal are green for Hyderabadis. Similarly, we can overtake from any side. Even if, somebody hits you or you hit somebody. It is ‘ lite le le bhai’( take it light, bro) . While driving, you can simply put the left indicator and turn right.
( since jan1,2012, the laws have become strict though and even cars parked in ‘no parking’ are challaned and the tyres are locked to the road)
- · You walk into a shop in a commercial district and ask the shopkeeper who is sipping chai to show you something and he would say. ‘Ruko madam ji, dikhta nahin kya… chai pee raha hoon’. His chai is his priority not his customer. After all they are in Nizam’s land, you see.
- · If you are an early riser and have woken at 6 and your afternoon is somewhere around 12 and you Walk into any shop at 11 in the morning and ask for your need, and the shopkeeper would simply dismiss you and say ‘Abhi kula hoon madam, thoda waqt rukna padega’ . After all his subah is only at 11’O clock.
- Ask for directions to any place and the director would say ‘ idharich hai (here only), Seedha jaana, chow raasta aata, left mudna’. And you will find that seedha raasta is a 5 kms stretch and chowraasta is much after that.
- If the party invite says that it starts at 6.30p.m Even by mistake, don’t land at 7.30p.m. Reach there only at 8.30. That is the time sense we follow and yes, now I too follow the same time zone. What to do, I follow - When in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Otherwise this is like any one of those global cities where you find anything to everything in the branded malls, Global cuisine in almost all hotels but still if you want to experience the hyderabadi culture, then
Drive around the Signature monument Charminar, you will find Sarojini Naidu’s Poem Bazaars of Hyderabad come alive. The beautiful lanes selling bangles, colorful traditional dresses, the mojris, jhootis, attars, pearls,kundan sets, the ari, zardozi embroidered sets. Especially during Ramzan, the colors that the bazaars display would be beyond the pallete of any artist. This place retains the essence of the real Hyderabad, the rest of the city has slowly morphed with times.
I write about Hyderabad and can cuisine be far behind? Being a vegetarian, I find it difficult to eat at many traditional eateries the city is famous for. For non-vegetarians though, this place is a heaven. Hyderabadi cuisine is cooked with ‘fursat’(slowly) and with Mohabbat(love) with rich ingredients befitting a king. The speciality lies in its slow cooking called ‘Dum’ cooking. The signature dish of course is Haleem which is unique to Hyderabad, seconded by the Dum Pukht biryani and its combo Mirch ka salan. Other than these are Irani chai, Irani samosa, Osmania biscuit, Dil Pasand, Dil kush, Fruit biscuits and the signature desserts Qubani ka meeta( apricot pudding), Double ka meeta( Bread pudding), Dil –e-Firdaus(kaddu kheer) and much more. For vegetarians, try veg biryani at Taj Belsons or Taj tristar(udupi hotels).
During the month of Ramadan, community kitchens define the city streets where people gather to cook on huge handis on either side of the roads and haleems are sold in little cups to break their fast. These sights do warm up your heart.( Being a vegetarian, I hate the aroma)
For a book lover, Abids and King koti are the place to be. It is a haven for second hand books at dirt cheap rates. Books on all topics under the sun from gardening, cooking, sewing to robotics, management and automation, you name it and they have it.
Beach? Our version of Beach is the banks of Hussain sagar The centre of which adorns a little Island with a huge Budhha . Especially in the evenings with the beautifully lit statue, the floating hotel Bhagmati, sitting on the necklace road with the illuminated park hotel behind and feeling the breeze is a costless luxury.(of course, the dampener are the mosquitoes).
If you are a first time visitor heading to Hyderabad for some sightseeing experience, AP tourism covers most of the places but still someplaces have been overlooked like the
unique experience at Lumbini park. Here you can catch, The history of Hyderabad at the Laserium. The story of Hyderabad to Cyberabad is screened with laser beams on a Water curtain which springs from a fountain. Don’t miss this experience in an open air amphi. The laser beams look lovely under the ink blue sky.
The sound and light show at the emporium of diamonds, Golkonda. You will travel back to the times when Koh-i-noor and Hope were mined. An experience you should’nt miss with the baritone voice of Amitabh Bacchan. (narrator)
Sudha car museum where you will find cars in unique designs (working models) like Double decker, tweety, brinjal, Phallus(lingam), Computer and many more all designed by a single man called Sudhakar.
Yogi Bear Putt putt park, all play things like swings, see saw are designed with tyres and it has a small golf link for kids to play. Beautifully designed by homemaker Yogita, inspired by a children park in sweden.
and much, much more define Hyderabad for me today, though 10 years back Brand Hyderabad was IT hit, today it is T-hit( got the drift?).
Now I am a True Blue Hyderabadi from a hard core Bangalorean, Infact, now my home town Bangalore where I lived all my life looks new to me.
Falaknuma palace reminds of the glory of old Hyderabad
The park hotel on the banks of Hussain sagar, A glimpse of New Hyderabad
Image courtesy: google