July 2, 2015

Hyderabad : A Boiling Cauldron Of the Modern and the Traditional

There are a couple of reasons as to why I have intentionally mentioned the term "boiling". The first reason being the dates on which we had planned to visit Hyderabad, the divided states of Telangana and Andhra were enduring one of the worst heat waves witnessed in the recent past. And the second reason ??? well let me not reveal that part just yet :).

Light Camera and Action
 Well generally speaking Hyderabad is not a typical tourist destination. If asked randomly about the places of tourist interest to a random person the only thing that would come to their mind is the Charminar and if that person is more informed probably Ramoji film city. Truthfully there are only a couple of other things which would interest a tourist and they are the Golkonda fort and the area around the Husain sagar.

We had 3 days in hand to explore this city and we made sure we explore Ramoji film city on a friday so as to avoid the weekend + summer vacation crowd one can expect during this time. With an overnight bus journey which took around 10hrs from  Bangalore we landed at the MGBS bus stand. The journey was pretty good considering very good road connectivity between these 2 metros. We had booked room in Grand Elite Hotel in Abids area which was around 2 km from the bus stand, and pretty much the heart of the city in terms of connectivity. The hotel was good and VFM for the discounted price provided via goibibo online portal.

Mythological Set

Day 1 we got freshened up at the room and directly left towards Ramoji film city.  This film city is touted as the worlds biggest integrated film city, and is situated at around 30 kms from the heart of city. We had booked an OLA cab from the city and the driver was constantly cribbing that this is totally out of city limits and not within the purview of the OLA services, but still in the end he dropped us there. After collecting the tickets which costed us 900/head we entered the film city after a 15 min ride from the main highway which is provided free of cost by the buses operated by the filmcity. Once inside we went through a lot of film themed shows such as Action studio (wherein they show how movie processing is done), filmy dunia(where one hopes on to a tram ride which takes through different miniature movie settings from around the world) and ramoji towers (where there is 4D kinda show with floor shakes and wind blows). Frankly these shows were okayish type, nothing spectacular.

After this we went to a show "Lights camera and action" which was good. Here against a black and dark backdrop artists played around with props which glowed under the black light. The show lasted for some 15 mins and we enjoyed it. But one complain to the organizers was that the hall was stuffed beyond the seating capacity and people without seats would stand around inconsiderate to those people whose views they were blocking. After having lunch we attended another show which was "Spirit Of Ramoji" which gave a Bollywood award night feeling to us.

Apart from that there is a kids section with certain shows specifically targeted at them. A total of 3 thrill rides were available when we were there and this part was quiet enjoyable and thrilling. A bus ride is provided around the park showing the different gardens ranging from Japanese to Mughal. Also during this tour the guide takes us through different movie sets which have been setup for the shooting such as train station, airport, mythological court setting, london street, delhi street setup and henceforth. After this tour the tourists are let into a bird and insect park, which included a lot of colorful and beautiful varieties.

Since this period coincided with school vacation there was a special summer program going on which included shows in the evening by various artists such as acrobats and dancers from around the country. Some of these performances were quite jaw dropping and impressive. Around the closing time there was a carnival parade and it was just ok. But after nightfall this place is beautifully illuminated with lights and one must not miss them when visiting this place. While returning back we stuck a deal with a taxi guy and he dropped us to our hotel room without much of a problem.

Birds Eye View Of The Fort
The next day we explored the amazing Golconda fort. This is a very interesting place to visit for history and architecture buffs and hiring a guide to take one around is highly recommended even though they are very expensive. The guided tour lasted nearly an hour and half and he took us explaining all the nook and crannies of the place. Some of the most amazing places of interest include clapping at the entrance which can be heard very very clearly at the palace situated on top of the mountain, talk about medieval intruder alarm system :). Other places of interest was their water system, as to how they got it from a lake a couple of kms away, how they pumped it up the mountain, how it was protected from the poison arrows from enemies so on. The other most fascinating place was the huge queens room wherein whispers facing a corner can be heard crystal clear standing diagonally across the room, and this in a room which was nearly 30-40 ft in dimensions. The nawabs had specially appointed Turkish architects to design the entire place, making it all the more interesting for a visit to Turkey.

Darbar Hall At The Top
After wrapping up our tour of the fort we went to watch a movie at Prasads IMAX in order to escape from the afternoon sun. The screen was huge but got to know that since the format used at this theater is not digital and off late all IMAX movies are released in digital format, the movies showcased in here are not in IMAX format till the technology upgrade takes place. Even then movie was enjoyable (San Andreas- disaster movies look the best in big screen :P ). From here visited the Birla Temple which is quite serene made up of white marble and giving some great views of the surrounding places including the Husain Sagar. But all electronic items are banned in here and have to be deposited at the entrance.

Hussain Sagar and Necklace Road
The next plan was to visit the Hussain Sagar and Lumbini park. Right outside the temple there was one board mentioning drop to this location for 20 bucks per person in a taxi. If you ever see such a board. run like hell, because this is a big tourist trap. Once inside they would tell that they would be taking us to a pearl shop and even after our protests our driver took us there. So we just went in and came out in a fraction of a second and this kinda infuriated the driver, since he would have lost the commission. We got really pissed off and there was a verbal argument and just then he almost hit an auto and it resulted in a physical fist fight with the auto person and our cab driver. During all this melee we quietly slipped off and walked away from the cab :P. Anyway we walked and reached the park and it was terribly crowded, with it being a weekend. But apart from that it was a pleasant thing to sit around the banks of the Hussain Sagar lake. By nightfall it started raining hence the laser show which is showcased at this place was cancelled and we took an OLA cab who took a very circuitous route around the lake giving us an unwanted tour of the necklace road. With so many experiences during the day I somehow felt Hyderabadis were generally more short tempered and aggressive when compared to an average Bangalorean. Just my unbiased observation !!

Hulk In Museum
Day 3 of the trip we first visited the humongous Salar Jung Museum. The official museum showcasing the collections of the numerous generations of the Hyderabad Nawabs. There were rooms after rooms of exhibits and one gets really exhausted going through all of them. Frankly in about 3 hours, we visited only about 50-60 % of the museum. The most notable of the exhibits was the "Veiled Rebecca" statue which was just stunning even for an non-art enthusiast. And the most over-hyped exhibit was the musical clock wherein for every hour a doll of some sort comes out and does some activity/dance, and to watch this there were close to 200 people waiting. Frankly it was just a waste of time with it being similiar to any other cuckoo clocks :P.

Veiled Rebecca. Even the "veil" is carved from marble

After getting exhausted at this place we went to the icon of Hyderabad , the charminar which is situated in the heart of old Hyderabad. The older part of hyderabad is a chock-a-block with traffic, narrow roads and people. The charminar which was at the centre of the road was quite stunning amidst all the chaos surrounding it. One can climb up the minar to have a view of the surrounding place, but the queue was quite long and we decided to head to a much calmer place. With a couple of more hours to spend we headed to Snow World which was a fun place near Hussain Sagar lake. My wife really loved this place and its especially enjoyable to those who are seeing snow for the first time in their life. This place is just a giant freezer converted into a theme part wherein they spray powdered ice. One can indulge in various activities such as snow fight, snow slide and dance once inside. With this our Hyderabad trip came to an end. We took an evening bus back to Bangalore.

Snow World


  1. After every trip, we come back to Bangalore with a feeling that our city is the best. Amidst all the traffic and chaos it is still a lovely place with warm people, pretty clean compared to other cities, and last but not the least, a lovely climate!!

  2. Charminar!! My goodness.. it was so damn crowded tht one starts getting phobic the moment you step into that area. . To add to the misery, hawkers are all around you pestering to buy things. Thankfully we found solace in front of a police station :-p

  3. can i have your email please?


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