Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two days trip to Hyderabad (Nov 2010)

I appreciate my wife for allowing me for a ‘bachelor trip’ with Faisal, Fayas, Niyas, Jafar to Hyderabad from Bangalore. The pack for Hyderabad trip was full of enthusiasts and cheerful ‘adventurous’ guys. From my past journeys, I had learned a big fact that, unless the pack is proper and prompt, the trip is going to be worrying. We collected details through Wikipedia and used google maps to get familiar with the Hyderabad city and routes.

Our friend Riyas bai’s family came in Bangalore and he couldn’t make to the trip. He was unhappy that we planned the trip at a time when he couldn’t come with us. But there was no choice, since we wanted to utilize the three day holiday during Diwali time. His mother and wife gave us a good dinner treat (Kottayam special) and even now, we don’t know if his old parents, brother and his spouse managed to have a reasonable dinner once we left.

After that wonderful dinner, we left to Hyderabad from Bangalore by 10.30PM (Nov 5th  2010, Friday). I had filled petrol and started driving i10 through NH7. There was a heavy raining through out Bangalore city that evening, and we were a little afraid about the night journey through highways in rain. But thank God, after crossing Devanahalli, sky was clear and we could drive at 100Km/hr constantly. Understanding the unexpected turns, accepting the fact that mileage is going to be less, scared of surprising two ways and more over because of lack of confidence, I didn’t accelerate above 100Kms/hr.

The route was,
Bangalore (0) - Chik Ballapur (57Km) - Anatpur (214Km) – Gooty (265Km) - Kurnool (332Km) – Hyderabad (546Km)

Road till Hyderabad city is smooth and well maintained, except some unexpected deviations. Though we had to pay tolls at four places those range from 50 -75 rupees, we could feel beauty of express way ride and comfort of long distance journey through the highway. On the way to Hyderabad, we couldn’t get a glimpse of what all are there on both sides of this high way, but while coming back, we realized that it’s all uninhabited open land. We can literally see kilometers of untouched land that shares the border with rocky hills. One can easily comprehend why Keralites protest against the so called express ways; we have a very special topography with a fascinating mix of farmland and houses having high population density, which make mapping of an express way difficult.

Wikipedia told us that, it will be a 8 hour journey, and personally I felt we are going to take more than that. But because of the astonishing condition of NH7, we reached Hyderabad at around 6.30AM (8 hours).We couldn’t find a reliable mosque near to the high way and we had our subah prayer on the walkway. As we entered the city, road became bad and lots of constructions were going on. Faizal bai switched on GPS in his phone and started guiding us. Since Charminar is near to the place we entered Hyderabad, we headed to there. We reached early in the morning and city was still waking up. NH7 go straight to place called Purana Phool and we have to take a round about and take the right. From there going straight for 1.7Km, after covering the last stretch of Laad Bazar, we hit Charminar.

Atmosphere and scene of the street around Charminar reminded us of Bangalore city market. We parked the car and walked to Meccaa masjid, just 50 meters away from the Charminar. Security measures are established at the masjid entrance after the bomb blast. There were people and some kids who fed pigeons with wheat and other unrecognized grains with in the masjid compounds. The long steps come after that which took us to a big open water tub. There is a vast open space for prayer and the main building of the masjid is some distance away from the steps. Pigeons were huge in number, which kept the masjid premises dirty with the bird drops. There is one college and hospital opposite to the masjid, but they are not maintained well and the walls and structures are ruined.



Every one was hungry and we found a hotel near to Mecca masjid. But unfortunately they gave us some old food which made us to have a pathetic break fast and unwanted introduction to Hyderabad cuisine. Malayali is the comrade of Malayalees… we took some snacks items from a malayali hotel near by. We had no clue of how we were going to get fresh and satisfy ‘preliminary morning needs’. We attempted to find out some reliable options for taking bath and using toilet, but didn’t find any thing near Charminar. We decided to go to Golconda Fort, which is on the other side. We thought we will find some other options on the way or at Golconda. We were moving through the old city and road were really pathetic. For a moment we scared whether we are going to have similar kind of roads for the entire two days of the trip. But the road became good and we entered the middle of the city. We were not sure about the route to Golconda and we wanted to find out some means to fresh up, which finally happened to violate a ‘no right turn’. Auto rickshaw drivers together with traffic police men encircled our car and started negotiations. Thank God, finally some how we managed to rescue from there. 

After 9Km journey, we reached a bus stand just near to the Golconda Fort. We were very happy to find a bath room and toilet run by Sulabh International at one corner of the bus stand. Golconda Fort is huge in size, many steps and levels to climb and so we decided to start the climb after friday prayer. We had a good bath, took lunch and went for prayer. By that time, there were a good number of tourists at the fort, taken care by Archeological Survey of India. Took a 5 rupees/person ticket and entered the fort. Though many parts of the fort are ruined, it is a mammoth structure, beautifully built and well maintained. There are huge rooms, arches, halls, one pond, one masjid, open theatre etc with in the fort. Building structure is made of huge rock blocks with minimal cementing. Some parts of the structure are inhabited by bats and the area is dark. At one level of the fort, garden and lawn occupies the open space. As we go above, the view from the top is amazing; we will get a 360 degree view of the Hyderabad city from there. Hyderabad city has many small hills and lush greenery. I never had a similar sight from any where in Bangalore. We spent around 3 hours in this fort and we had a feeling of an old era, we thought how people who lived in this fort managed to communicate between the entrance and the top.

We then went to Taramani Baradari, a tomb around 3 kilometers away from Golconda Fort. We went back to Charminar using the GPS, which took us through narrow and busy roads. The scene of the street that we saw in the morning had completely changed by this time. We decided to park the car at the starting of Laad Bazar and started walking. The street sell a mix of items and it was really crowded with people and vehicles. There is literally one masjid in each 100 meter distance on an average. Ladd Bazar is said to be famous for pearls. We stopped by a shop and saw a pearl chain. We wanted to meet SIO Hyderabad zonal president at his office and found the office after walking for a long time. He suggested having dinner from “Shadab Hotel” which is near to Charminar. We took Hyderabadi Mutton Biriyani from there. It was awesome. We observed that, Hyderabad hotels serve food in huge quantities, some time it breaks your calculation. We are not sure if it is part of the culture too.

Citizen response on the Hyderabad roads is worser than that of Bangalore. There are no strict one ways and we can expect two ways traffic on one ways. We noticed that most of the traffic signals were not working and police men were not doing a great job. Many times, we found difficulties in crossing the road.

It was Diwali night and the scene in the streets was terrific. Each and every shop keeper was contributing his share to the celebration by firing crackers and the entire streets were decorated with special lighting arrangements. Traffic was high and the people continued firing crackers on side of parking area and at the middle of the road. I felt that Hyderabadians are used to these kinds of activities on road that they manage to ride their vehicles even through these fire works. Many times crackers wee fired and thrown which happen to land at the bottom of vehicles, but it ‘managed to not cause any harm’. We walked through the streets for some time and went back to the SIO office for sleep.

Next day, we visited Ramoji Film city. RFC is well maintained and have some good gardens, but not worth the money paid. Then we went to see Hussain Sagar Lake at around 7PM. Today roads were wider and in good condition. City is vast compared to Bangalore. But the traffic and the citizen response on the road are same in all parts of the city. The scene around the lake at night is really good. Took a boat ride to the small island were statue of Buddha is erected. There are some gardens around Hussain Sagar Lake. We went to Lumbini Park only. Then we visited Birla Temple, which is built completely by marble. We knew that there are some Iranian hotels near to the Hussain Sagar, searched for some time, but couldn’t find them. Finally we went to Secunderabad and took dinner there. This time we took special thandoori roti and Hyderababi Chicken Biriyani. of course roti was large in size compared to the one we get in Bangalore and half family biriyani was enough to satisfy five of us. After a good dinner, we returned back to Bangalore.. Fayas bai took the control and drove the car at above 120Kms/hrs which finally helped us to reach Bangalore by 8AM on sunday. He is an expert and confident driver.

It was only after this trip I realized that we need to collect details about the cuisines of a place we are going to visit and find out the best place to taste it, before reaching there. We learned that we have many things to understand just from the eating habits, the kind of dishes one community eat, the ingredients used in the dish etc. Let me summarize the dishes we tasted.
(1) Hyderbad Biriyani (Shadab Hotel, Madina Complex, Lokkad Kote, Old Hyderabad)
(2) Lukmi, Kheema, Shikampur (Hotel Irshad, Lakkad Kote, Old Bangalore)
(3) Hyderbad Biriyani (Garden Restaurant, Secunderabad)

We couldn't taste the famous 'Hyderabadi Haleem'.. It is widely available during ramadan season, but there are a few hotel who supply this in other time also. But we couldn't reach a suitable hotel to have this. This is some thing that is pending in Hyderabad exploration.

It is really interesting to learn and compare people and culture. Every journey teach us some new things, adds some thing new to our experiences and more over broadens our pattern of understanding people and controlling the situations… after all, journey is a good teacher. It was a wonderful trip with my loving friends.
Post a Comment