Friday, January 18, 2013

A special post for two reasons ;)

 Many a times, people like me live in a place and do not  visit some of the local  places due to our regular routine. And when we do have holiday/long break, we would end up spending our holiday at a farflung place or some weekend getaway. 
But only when you leave or migrate from the place would you realize  that you hav’nt visited some local places  while you were there.
It has happened with me, I have been in Bangalore all my life but am yet to see the Bangalore palace, modeled on the Windsor castle . I have been on this road/ locality( vasanth nagar) more than 100 times, I have been to the palace grounds too when it hosts fun events but have  never seen this palace .
Similarly, My innumerable visits to Chennai has never led me to Mahabalipuram’s Shore temple , that is till recently ( dec’12)
On the same note, I have been in Hyderabad for 11 years and I can count the number of weekend trips that I have missed. We are often out visiting/ exploring some places either at a park, garden, market, a themepark, resort, road,street, mall,hotel, dhaba etc.
 To name a few roughly and  randomly (you can miss this para, just listing out places)- Yogi Bear Putt Putt park, Lumbini park, cantonment park, Sanjeeviah, KBR, jalagam vengal rao parks or at temples like yadagirigutta, ananda Buddha vihar, birla temple, EME mandir, Sarvadharmasthal( maintained by Indian army),  Jagannath mandir,Chilkur, skandagirietc, designer / theme parks like Ramoji Film city,  Dhola ri dhani( rajasthani village), Mount Opera, Dream valley, Leonia resort, Pragati resorts,Alankrita( Kerala style) or at clubs like Century club, chiraan fort, secunderabad club. The stadias like uppal to see matches or to try swinging the clubs at bolarum golf links, go karting at runway 9, or at the various glitzy malls,  the various hypermarkets,multiplexes , upmarket retail stores, malls  like GVK one, Central, Babukhan, inorbit , necklace road,  cheruvus(lakes) like durgam, hussain sagar, osman sagar,  shameerpet, dusty, crowded and chaotic bazaars/gullis and lanes  like begum bazaar,King koti, abids, sultan bazaar, general bazaar,Moazzham jahi market,monda market  or at the historical tombs of the quli qutub shahis,  historical places like  Golkonda, Rashtrapati nilayam, or the one of a kind museum by a single man called Salarjung museum, sudha car museum,  nehru zoological park,the signature monument Charminar…….
 Now wait….wait….this was the point of my post,  the last charminar I’ve been around only two times in the past 11 years. The area around Charminar is the soul of Hyderabad and we usually avoid visiting the places around or venturing into old city due to the chaotic crowd and parking woes.  Whenever we go there   we have ended up coughing penalty due to lack of parking space or the place is overcrowded it is very rare that you can come out without a dent or a scratch in your car or without getting challaned.  Forget all these, it is difficult to even walk around these places unless you are part of a heritage walk.
But in the sankranti weekend gone by, we did gather courage to go to a place which is behind the mecca masjid. Only the previous day there was unrest in the area  which was the talk of social sites and covered by media around the world .
My better half who normally hates crossing into this area due to the heavy bumper to bumper traffic was game for this adventure.
And guess what?
We drove on roads  which looked deserted not due to a bandh call, but due to the long weekend . The people of hyderabad  went to weekend getaways or to their native claimed the newspaper and so our car with very few vehicles ruled the roads leading to the old city.
We could focus more on the beauty of the old city rather than the traffic on the roads. We soaked in the charm of the city,  where there were signs of decay on buildings here and there and the mildew on the buildings only added an aura and soul to the old city.This is a total contrast to the chrome and glass buildings which we see in the Hi-tec city. The bazaars around Charminar are a colorful riot, best described  in Bazaars of Hyderabad by Sarojini Naidu. The display of attar bottles, chudis, colorful zardozi, ari work dresses,mojris, accessories etc.,
And  after the mild traffic in the old area( I would’nt  even term this as traffic) we finally reached our destination  which was home to the regal past of the Nizams of Hyderabad . A monument which was thrown open to public in 2005 after a lot of restoration work. In fact, this was supposed to be one of India’s biggest restoration and conservation project. More on this beautiful timeless jewel in my next post.

Ha...btw, I said this post is special for two reasons in my title,
For somebody, who said " I will be returning in two years time to Bangalore" way back in Jan of 2002, I am completing 11 years of my stay here in ‘Mana Hyderabad’, a city which i hated then(2002), but slowly fallen in love with now(2013) and hence my second ode to Hyderabad. The first ode is here.

and  the second reason,  with this post, i've slowly reached a milestone in my 3(?) year old  blogging journey. This is my 200th post. 

Thank you all for being a part of this journey by leaving your quality comments which i treasure :)
Now some photos of unique places which are not covered by APTDC

                                                           Rashtrapati nilayam
Constructed in 1860 by a Nizam, it became the country house of the British resident at Secunderabad. After 1948, Hyderabad's state annexation. now it is the president's retreat and used as southern sojourn. The indian president  vacations here every year end at Bolarum in secunderabad( recently our present president vacationed here) . Then from jan 1st - 10th only, this is open for the general public.
 The 16-room estate is spread over an area of 90 acres consisting of single storied building besides visitors' quarters that can accommodate 150 people. It has a Dining Hall, Darbar Hall, Morning room, Cinema Hall etc and a herbal garden. The President stays at the residence at least once a year and conducts official business. It was also used as a guest house for visiting dignitaries. what you see is the dining hall clicked by me through a side window. The inside is not thrown open to the public.

the puri jagannath mandir at Banjara hills which is a replica of the mandir in Puri.  
it has beautiful murals from Hindu mythology especially of Lord Krishna. Worth a visit.
 The necklace road is my version of beach for hyderabadi's. It is a pleasure to sit here and do some 'time pass'( read eating groundnuts or roasted charcoal bhutta or gupshupping). The night time is good for enjoying the view, the morning time for walking. The banks of the hussain sagar also serves as a venue for marathons, exhibitions etc., ( statuory warning - lot of mosquitoes). After chilling, You can end up at the eat street or any of the boutique hotels near by:) or catch a night show at Prasad's IMAX closeby
On the banks of Hussain sagar is the Lumbini park through which you can take boat rides to the central Island in the lake which holds the Budhha statue. You have a Laserium in the park which is India's first multimedia laser show on a giant water curtain. This 30 minute show unfolds the history of Hyderabad through laser beams on a water curtain in an open air amphi. The image you see here is of Charminar. (pic courtesy: Google). This was also the place where the terrorists bombed in the hyderabad blasts that occured a few years back.

Sudha car museum is a wacky car museum where you find working models of cars, bikes and buses all modeled in the shape of cup and saucer, helmet, cricket bat, computer, shoe, Phallus(lord shiva) as you can see in the pics above. All these are designed by A single man called Sudhakar, a guiness record holder. This museum is not known to many people and is beside the nehru zoolocial park. For more on this museum  read this.(pic courtesy: google)

and now  the bazaars of hyderabad as described Sarojini Naidu aka 'Aadab Hyderabad'

during my visit last weekend from the moving car as we entered into the galli leading to  the charminar
   Laad bazaar famous for hyderabadi bangles , you can see the pillar of the minar in the background

A glimpse of the shops selling ari, zardozi work. This place is very very active in the night too, since there is a night bazaar. I missed taking a photo of attar shop since the traffic built up on the return around 8.o clock.


  1. Congrats Asha on this 200th post. It is a very special moment for a blogger and definitely one that is worth celebrating with a special post like this. Also, it's great to hear how you have made Hyderabad - a city you weren't keen to be around - as your heart's home now. I can connect to what you said because I did feel the same about Delhi when I first came but that gradually changed and I saw how closer I seemed to inch towards this city just as you did.

    I really enjoyed reading about your tour around the city. Hope you have fun throughout the year. Rock on, Asha! Waiting for your next blogpost!

    1. Thank you, Swapna. Glad to hear from a person like you who values culture and heritage:)

  2. I always wanted to visit Hyderabad, so some two years back we planned a trip.We visited all the important places had good fun everywhere, had the famous Hyderabadi chai, and Irani samosas, went to all the beaches, and even went to Araku Valley by train, saw the Bora caves, went walking by Charminar, bought lots of bangles, ate Biriyani at a very famous place near the Museum, we really had a very good time.
    We availed the 50% off at the Taj Hotel. I have even written a blog about our visit.
    It is really a beautiful place.
    BTW, even I have not seen the palace, in Bangalore but I recently went to the palace Hotel is the same?
    It is a very beautiful Heritage Hotel.

    1. oh! so you experienced the hyderabadi culture. yes, irani chai with osmania biscuit is a tradition in old hyderabad.
      bora caves, araku valley, rk beach, kursura submarine museum in Vizag. Vizag was one of my best holiday.

      I don't think the palace has turned into a hotel in bangalore. It is now a management school run by the wodeyars called GEMS business school. not sure if it is open to public any more unless they have some events like recently they had ARR's musical nite:)

  3. Congratulations Asha. Its a great milestone and we readers have been enthralled by your travelogues. I myself went to Dhanushkodi after being captivated by your post and have a list of places to go to now.

    So very true about neglecting your home city. I've been in Bangalore for 15 years now and have never gone to the palace or for that matter to ISKON temple or any of the sights. Shame no ??

    1. Thank you so much, RAmesh:)

      YEs, many a times it happens to many of us. for me, it happens even with books. When i borrow books, i read it quickly since i have to return, when i buy one, it adorns my shelf and always think i can read any time. so i blame it on human nature:)

  4. 200th post!! Congratulations, Asha!
    Yes, it is so true, we as the locals of a place rarely visit the places which are the talk of the world. I remember visiting the Amer Fort and Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, as kids when we visited Jaipur on a vacation. Now that it is our home since the last 19 years, not once we have been to these historic places!
    Glad you had a good time discovering the culture and heritage of your city! :)

    1. Thank you, Shilpa:)

      Wow, you live in one of india's beautiful and historical city. Must visit one day to catch the palaces and you too:)

  5. double century posts in 3 years!! intha fastest to 2000 apdinulam cricketla solrangalay :D ithu antha categoryla varum nenakren..each one more memorable than other...namma oorulalaam paaka enna irukunu polambravangaluku unga blog oru super example..india vantha unga blog paathu thaan oor suthanum :D

  6. Those words coming from a person who has almost reached 6k posts. so, there you are - a veteran master blogger. Thank you gils:)

  7. It is ages since I visited H'bd. A trip is pending. I have to visit a few temples in A.P.
    Congrats on your 200th post. keep writing and enthralling your readers.

  8. Some nice pictures here.
    Agree about that chaotic crowd and parking woes near the Charminar (and I happened to be there on Id day!!!!)