Earlier this year, I took a sojourn into the world of erstwhile rulers of the Deccan region of India – Nizams. The location I chose to explore was their very capital – Hyderabad. True to its reputation, the place lived up to its Nizamshahi. Every point of interest, every monument, each landmark in the city has traces of the grandeur of its erstwhile rulers. Even the street corners are no exception. As soon as the sun downs, sometimes even sooner, the streets are full of grand aroma of various food items. Upon investigating, I found that stalls, road side shops and eateries all sold eatables that were renowned and have been consumed through time by the Nizams, their subjects and now their descendants.
Taste is one such sense which can bring back memories and therefore I begin a description of Hyderabad first by its cuisine. Unlike other places around the world, the stalls at street corners don’t just sell snacks that satiate your need for Knick knacks; one can actually have their full dinner on road side stall. Everything, right from their special Hyderabadi Biryani to Haleem – a preparation of meat, to mouthwatering falooda and other delectable cuisine is available at almost all intersections and corners.
Moving over to monuments, it is prudent to note that all places of historical interest – the Golconda fort, Chowmahalla Palace, Charminar and others, all reflect the grand architectural style of the Nizams that are absent elsewhere. The Golconda fort is a must visit both during the day and night. During the day, you can explore its alleys and passages along with a guide to live the thrill of the Nizams themselves. During the night, one must watch the light and sound show which elaborates not only on the history of the fort itself, but also on the entire Deccan region, with the focus specifically on Hyderabad and its surrounding cities.
The Chowmahalla palace and Charminar can be wrapped up in half a day. But the Charminar, owing to its location in the middle of a busy market warrants a second visit at night to capture the structure in all its glory. In fact one can spend an entire day going around the market near Charminar. It is the local flea market and one is sure to be approached by sellers on foot as well as representatives from bigger shops with a host of merchandise that you can buy. A word of caution though – the ‘original pearls’ are almost always fake. Be sure to buy from a reputed shop that provides guarantee on its pearls. As far as the market is concerned, bargaining is the key.
Another attraction, located around 25 kms away from the city is the Ramoji Film City – a must visit for film lovers, where you can also spend the night at one of their own hotels to be able to capture the charm of the film world first hand. One can also spend a relaxed evening boating on the Hussainsagar Lake and if one is lucky, be able to capture the sunset on the water.