Travel diaries.. Episode Hyderabad Blues

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History has been my interest ever since I was in school and visiting historical places ignites this hidden passion. A visit to the land of Nizams and Biryani, Hyderabad has been in my checklist for long and it came to light this time when my dad planned a family leisure trip to this beautiful city. A 5 day tour with the agenda to cover the most talked of places were in our list. A journey by train was opted as we wanted to view the beautiful landscapes on our way. The paddy fields of Bengal, hilly tracts of Jharkhand, Bihar, greenary of Orissa, Salt water lake Chilka and the beauty of Andhra and Telegana villages were all captured as we traversed through states.

Day 1:

The day started with a checkin to the hotel and a spicy hyderabadi biryani lunch . Exhausted by the travel and fully content with our scumptous spread , we decided to spend the day with some self indulgence and pampering at the spa, evening filter coffee and a light super.

Day 2:

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The day started after breakfast with a tour of one of the world’s largest museum, the Salarjung Museum. The Salar Jung Museum is a repository of the artistic achievements of diverse European, Asian and Far Eastern countries of the world. The major portion of this collection was acquired by Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan popularly known as Salar Jung III. Spread across three floors, this dent of art, architecture and culture has a charm that engulfs young and old. The Museum has a collosal artistic collection of  antiques from across the globe. there are 38 galleries in the Museum in three blocks i.e. (1) Indian Block (27 galleries), (2)Western Block (7 galleries) and (3) Eastern Block (4 galleries) in which nearly 13,654 objects are on display. The Indian collections are from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, and places like Kangra, Basholi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mewar, Hyderabad, Golconda, Bijapur, Kurnool and Nirmal. The Western collections are from England, Ireland, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Venice and Austria. The Eastern collections are from countries like China, Japan, Burma, Korea, Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia and from Middle East countries like Egypt, Syria, Persia and Arabia. The Indian art objects comprise of stone sculptures, bronzes, wood carvings, miniature paintings, modern paintings, ivory, jade, textiles, metal ware, manuscripts, bidri, arms and armour, utility ware etc.This place is so vast that it is almost impossible to tour the entire museum in one visit. The sculpture of Rebecca , the ticking of the huge clock , the marvellous spread of carpets, porrery, glassware, paintings etc can awe any individual.There is an inherent nostalgia that grabs your mind travelling through to the glorious history of the erstwhile era of the Nizams. After our trip down memory lane to the Salr Jung Museum, the next stop over was Charminar , the most talked about place in Hyderabad . We reached Charminar at dusk, walking through the narrow noisy lanes lightened with the dazzling bangles, pearl shops,shoes and dresses and the aroma of “itra”, this place is indeed a shopper’s delight amidst the old world charm. Situated next to the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, the religious hub of Hyderabad and the Indian version of Mecca.Beautifully crafted walls and serenity fills the air the moment you enter the premises . A 30 minutes stay here cleanses the soul and rejuvinates the mind. After a brief religious stint, we went straight ahead to the famous “Irani Chai” shop near Charminar and sipped some wornderfully aromatic team with Osmania biscuits, this was perhaps one of  the best tea tasting sessions I have had . The famous “Churi bazaar” with its dazzle lightened our tiring spirits and we ended up buying a handful of the beautifully crafted pieces. The day ended with loads of shopping from the pearl showrooms and some traditional Andhra cuisine.

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Day 3:
An early morning drive through picturesque landscapes brought us to this colossal film city that finds its name in the Guinness book of world records, Ramoji film city as its known worldwide is the largest film city in the globe. My love for cinema has become twofold after witnessing the backend production work, sets, camera and action stunts involved while shooting movies. A beautiful garden, village, airport, railway station , palaces, haunted houses, shipyard, exotic locations, mountains , burning houses, make shift restaurants, church , live movie making classes and shows, u name it and it’s in your platter. A magnificent day trip marked the end of day 3 in the land of culture and heritage.

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Day 4 :
After spending an exciting day at the Ramoji film city our day 4 was again a historical stint at the Golkonda fort. The echo point which was used by visitors to announce their arrival to the fort and meet the king by clapping that echoed through to the king’s chamber situated way up in the fort is indeed a spectacular show of science that no advanced technology can explain. Hyderabad was named after the Wife of Quli Qutub Shah, Bhaghyamati , a dancer in the king’s court who converted into Islam and was rechristianed as Hyder after marriage. Climbing hundreds of steps to reach the top of the fort is worth the Labour once you get a beautiful Arial view of the remnants. The fort has burial chambers, places of worship , entertainment, beautification , each giving a deep insight into the lives of kings in such days. Satisfied with our visit to the fort and reliving the era of pomp and splendor, we decided to head towards modernity and headed straight to the posh Banjara hills to end the day with silk shopping .

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Day 5 :

Another tryst with the past, this time landed us at the Chowmalla palace, the place where all the Nizams stayed. This place has beautiful collection of day to day wares, clothes, shoes, jewellery, vintage cars, carriers, furniture and almost every detaile. article depicting the lives of the Nizams. I almost felt like a Royal princess touring my empire here. Our next stop was the famous Hussain Sagar lake , rafting and laser show and a visit to the famous Karachi bakery to buy some lip smacking bakery line. The last day ended with a lavish dinner of Paradise Mutton Biryani and Kebabs.
If there is one thing that I ccould take back from this land of Nizams , it would definitely be the Biryani . I have never been fond of rice and spicy food but my thought process completely transformed after my visit to this culinary heaven. I am a proud fan of Andhra cuisine now and will try and find some place in my city of joy where I can quench my new found desire.
From history to technology, food to aroma, pleasing climate to soft spoken people, tea to biscuits , gunpowder to the vintage guns, charminar to hi-tech and film city, Hyderabad has every ingredient to make it as one of the most sought after destinations in India.
We wrapped up our tour with memories of this charming city and a desire to revisit and relive the warmth this city offered. Thank you Hyderabad for a great vacation.

Arpita Deb

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