Tag Archive: hyderabad


Trip to Nagarjuna Sagar

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After many months of planning, finally it was decided among my friends that we will visit Nagarjuna Sagar in Telengana by Bikes, two bikes to be specific.

From Hitech in Hyderabad, it is a 3 hours journey if you do not stop anywhere and a total of 182 kms. We set out at 4 am in the morning, since we believed that it might take 4-5 hours on bike. After all it is no fun in the journey if you do not stop rest in between and do so some sightseeing.

The two bikes chosen were Yamaha FZ and Bajaj Pulsar ( the most reliable bikes in that segment, good for rough terrains.)  We took state highway 19 from outer ring road (also called Nehru Ring road) from Bongulur SEZ area near Hyderabad International airport.

We crossed Ibrahimpatnam at around 5:30 am, it took us 1 hour to get out from Hyderabad.

Nagarjuna sagar

Both the bikes just kept zooming past cities and around 8 am , we were 30 kms away from our destination, considering the speed with which we were driving, it was 15-20 min away. We sat down around the road on couple of places to stretch the legs, sitting on the bike for more than 2 hour can be quite painful for butts.

The hotel that we found at the Nagarjuna sagar was a budget hotel with very basic facilities, Military style rooms. It was a government hotel opposite the Lake. The region has a sizable population with many housing societies and schools around. The food was manageable , certainly not great one. It was a 1 day trip so we took it in our stride.

There is another eating place which comes before you arrive at the Nagarjuna Sagar, which is also Andhra Pradesh (AP) tourism department run . It is far better in condition, may be next time if we go to Nagarjuna Sagar then we will use those facilities.

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The view from the hotel we stayed was nice. Later we went out for a boat ride, to the center of the lake where a museum is made by the AP government (just a walk in the park , if I may say).

We had to wait 1 hour in the ticket counter for it to start (so not so great customer service), after reaching the small island via the boat, we had the usual Dosa (a south Indian Dish) at the canteen there (again not great food quality, . We ate it since we were hungry ) .

At the hotel, there were many pictures of the National leaders who were there to over see the development of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam, the pictures also showed various stages of development of the Dam. This Dam plays a major role for water and electricity supply for two states of India, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh .

This Dam was built in 1950s and finished work in 1970s. It was nice to see the pictures and revisit the history. The Leaders which I was able to identify were Indian Prime Ministers JL Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi.

Once we were done seeing the lake, we headed for Ethipothala Falls. It is 30 min drive from Nagarjuna sagar. The river Krishna’s tributary flows under the land for a while before re-emerging and then falling from the cliffs.

There were alligators there , hence none of the tourists were allowed to go near the falls. Honesty it was a 25 mins watch, not a great attraction as we had thought earlier.

Then there was “Monkey menace” which we all recall vividly, who were a terror there for children and womenfolk. We had lunch there offered by the Andhra Pradesh tourism (again not great food) before setting out to our journey back to Hyderabad.

Paradise-restaurant

Moving along further, we reached on paradise restaurant which was suggested to us by the locals at SD road, after we had inquired about good places to eat. Paradise restaurant was built in 1950s and had a movie theater along with it. It seems that the theater’s name was paradise. Over the years the theater gave name to the restaurant, the Biryani of paradise became so famous that Hyderabadi Biryani became synonymous of Paradise’s Biryani.

The present paradise is more of a building block on a corner which includes a

  • Paradise restaurant: platinum and normal (we ate in normal one).
  • Paradise Bakery
  • Paradise Take away

The famousness of Paradise could be seen from the fact that the bus stop near the restaurant uses its name and many buses have route names Paradise. I and my friend thought of eating chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani (it was on his instance as I was pretty over with just chicken Biryani itself). Thereafter we tried the bakery offered by Paradise. The royal Kulfi and the faluda shake were important items which we HAD to try.

There was this clip board/information bulletin which talked about the origination of Biryani in Hyderabad Deccan and who brought it here. It also talked about the way Biryani has evolved observe the years and the local touch that it has got.

The word Biryani has a Persian origination and from there it went into Afghanistan and then to Mughal culture. Aurangzeb (The notorious Mughal Ruler) brought it into the Deccan when he invaded it.

Irani chai without doubt was another menu item which we were not willing to miss. After having a good lunch, we thought of moving to Hussein sagar lake that we could go on a boat ride. Since we were unable to find the direct bus and were not willing to pay to the cab or auto driver, we choose to march onto Hussein sagar lake (well actually it was my friend’s desire/decision) and I marched on.

The whole walking process was 8 km long and we made directional mistake.This caused an added effort to us. Since we were more like tourists therefore we didn’t mind the effort but my feet, well they were surely complaining and protesting. It was as if they got squeezed.

We walked through the Marriott Hotel, then past Ambedkar Bhawan and a small Buddha Temple (which was in pathetic condition). Then we went onto Lumbini Park which is in front of Andra Pradesh Secretariat,past NTR garden towards Indira Gandhi statue. From there we took a right turn towards people plaza and finally came to a still on Food court which had pretty much everything (subway,cafe coffee day, sultans, KFC and other local restaurants).

paradise to hussain sagar lake

The pic below I took it infront of Marriott Hotel. The temperature in Hyderabad is usually good and varies from 18 to 31 degrees. However on the lake side, due to the water and winds blowing, it tends to be cooler.The clouds parting from the sky and view of the entire lake is indeed majestic.

There is however one thing which bugged me when I was walking down the necklace road, which is that Hussein sagar lake is not maintained properly. There are instances of water pollution there. People it seems believe that nature especially the water bodies can absorb anything, literally ANYTHING (sic).

The boards on the pedestrian street showed that there is a Japanese company project going on, but clearly things were in a mess. Either the Indians were faster in throwing the garbage into the lake compared to the Japanese removing it ( if that is true, Indians surely know how to beat Japanese) or nobody really cares about the entire mess.

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There is a boat club too on the Hussain Sagar lake, which I was not able to notice in my prior visit to the Lake in 2010. This time however I found it. The view from the side of Marriot Hotel was peaceful one. I remember that few days before Rahul Dravid had come to the boat club. The boat club requires a membership card to enter, without that one cannot use their Premises. One was also able to view Caucasians (white men and women) jogging around the Hussain sagar lake which also has this pedestrian walking place.

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The IMAX 3D theater also falls in the vicinity and apparently this is the first of its kind in Hyderabad, so the youth come there in large numbers including the IT people who have thronged onto the city in the last decade or so. There is a food court on the road to of IMAX near Hussein Sagar Lake which offers many restaurants/fast food / cafes.

From there on, one could board the ferry. The ferry cost no more than Rs50/- Per person.  We boarded it in the evening when the sun was settling. The Buddha statue was lit up with lights and it looked beautiful. Last time I came was during his hour of day too, that is evening.

Evening usually is the right time for any person to go at Hussein sagar. The other suitable time is  in the morning but I doubt that the boat club and the ferry offer their services then.

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There are couple of things that you ought to try when you come to Hyderabad (the cybercity earlier also known as city of pearls), the cuisine of Hyderabad is one of them. Hyderabad is famous for its Biryani pan-India but Irani chai doesnot fall much behind. There is an interesting story behind Irani chai’s origination in this region.  It is said that Persian immigrants came to Mumbai’s port in last century and prior to that for better life and trade purposes. From Mumbai they migrated to pune and then to Hyderabad. Along with them came the concept of Iranian Chai.

The culture of Hyderabad has got so consumed by Irani chai that I doubt any other form of tea (chai) is made here. They say that the difference in Irani chai and rest of the tea style made in India varies in the making/ preparing process. The tea leaves are boiled in a separate container along with water and milk is also boiled in separate container. Then while serving to the customers they pour in first the milk then the liquid solution made out of tea leaves. This process is seen in many places which still retain that Iranian touch. However with the advent of fast life, things have changed in way of serving that the tea is already poured in a container, ready to serve. Then it is just poured out, no first milk and then tea leaves solution long process.

If you talk to the café owners about difference in tea style they say that Irani chai is very different from the tea you get in Udipi restaurants and darshinis. Udipis add 3-4 litres of water to every litre of milk. They pour milk, water, tea powder and sugar in the same vessel and as soon as the colour changes they take it off the stove. They don`t let the tea brew like they do in Irani chai making process.

The tea cost in the range of Rs 5-20 depending on the place of drinking. It is said that SD Road (Sarojani Devi Road) in secunderabad is a good spot to find all these cafes. Honestly, SD Road is no special; it might have been the place where the initial Iranian settler settled but now you can find Irani chai in many restaurants and the Irani cafes have given way of Baristas, Café coffee days and now starBucks is coming to town.

Though while travelling on SD Road, I did find certain bakery shops and the original Garden Restaurant established in 1952 (near the clock tower) which is very famous for Irani chai (atleast during the inception period). In the same very lane you can find café coffee day and subway providing competition.

Any trip to Hyderabad certainly goes unfinished if you haven’t had a sip of Irani chai, plus the whole Iranian angle does add a sense of exotica to it. Reaching the place isn’t tough if one wishes to go by public transport. There are buses which go directly to secunderabad and will land you on the door step. The location that any one needs to mention to reach SD road is the clock tower. Secunderabad as city is 200 years old and is also know as the twin city of Hyderabad (or more like a satellite town). It was founded in 1806 AD. Secunderabad was developed under the British rule and basic purpose for it was Cantonment for military purposes. Indian army and Air-force has a base there and it still continues to serve the purpose as a Cantonment.

Moving further I along with my friend went onto Paradise Restaurant which is famous for its Biryani, it is hardly 1 km walk from clock tower at SD Road. There too Irani chai is served as usual (like I said that Irani chai has taken over all the teas of Hyderabad and has kind of monopolized the region, though certain pockets of resistance do remain).

Secunderabad had a famous James street developed by the British for shopping purposes much like connaught place was developed in Delhi. Though James Street was wisely changed into MG Road (namely Mahatma Gandhi Road). It is still the hotbed of shopping in Secunderabad. On this very road lies the famous Paradise Hotel formed in 1953.

The traveling from SD Road near clock tower to Paradise restaurant is straight forward, there is a bazaar which comes in between whose name I was not able to gasp. They say about Paradise restaurant that it was established in 1950s, there use to be a cinema hall there. Over the years the cinema hall vanished and the restaurant business started to boom. Thereby creating a brand of Paradise Biryani.

India @ London Olympics 2012

Finally London Olympics 2012 came to an end. Actually it came to an end on 13 Aug 2012. I am writing it today partly because of my mood and partly that I did-not have time. This Olympics has been a joy to some and a disappointment to some. The overall achievement by India as a country has been encouraging one. From the last tally of 3 medals (1 Gold, 2 Bronze), this time round we won 6 medals (2 Silver, 4 Bronze). Most were new winners barring Sushil Kumar who won Silver after bronze in 2008 Olympics and created history by becoming the first consecutive Olympics medal winner in an individual event.

 

The government at centre and at respective states has been showering praise and cash on them.

The Disappointment and the glory:

There were disappointments too in these games, namely boxing. I for one believed that Indian Boxing Team was capable of winning 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze. The bouts however were controversial and so were the points giving system. The worst came when Vikas Krishan’s winning was reversed. It seemed there was something fishy there. The heart break was left for Vijender Singh’ quarter final match. He was one win away from securing a consecutive Olympic medal, a feat completed by Sushil Kumar then in wrestling.

MC Mary Kom, however saved the day for Indian Boxing by winning 1 Bronze (many including herself were hoping for a Gold, but it is a medal none the less no matter which ever color). She is truly a fighter and one hopes she fights in 2014 Olympics too. There she might get the chance of changes the color into Gold.

The role model in the making:

Winning of Bronze medal by Saina Nehwal was just not her win but a win for her father, her coach and more importantly a win for the girl child of Haryana. She has all the qualities and temperament of becoming the role model of girls of Haryana. One doubts that there would be many villages or cities in Haryana, who would NOT have celebrated her feat. She is most likely to become a catalyst for acceptance of girl child as the harbor and manifestor of glory. One is sure that in coming years with more of her success stories, Fathers from the state of Haryana (which gets bad press for gender issues and girl child issues) would want to raise their daughters to be like Saina Nehwal. Much like saina’s own father used to call her Steffi affectionately, hoping that the daughter will live the glory of legendary Steffi Graf. Given her age and her achievements, one only believes that there is going to be long glorious days ahead.

The Underdog of Shooting:

The underdog tag without doubt goes to Vijay Kumar, who no one expected to win as all the expectations in shooting were with the likes of Ranjan Sodhi, Abhinav Bindra and Manvinder Singh Sandhu.  His win was without fuss, I watched the final shooting competition which won him silver. He was very calm even after winning it. Though later many said that it was not right for him to ask for promotion, but I ask why NOT ? Wasn’t Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore promoted too ? Then what seems to be the harm here ? The guy is asking what is rightfully his.   It is good to see that sports minister Ajay Maken supporting him here. Being a JCO, if he desires to be a commisioned officer in Army after Honouring India at an International event. One believes it will only be fitting to do so and will show case the value Indian Army gives to its soldiers and their efforts. He should be given Captain’s Title in Indian Army (even though it might upset some men in Indian Army who have achived no such feat).

Vijay Kumar has been giving consistent performance in terms of shooting and earning accolades. He has been winning Gold medals in all the commonwealth games since 2006. He won silver in shooting event in 2009 and 2011. It would be nice to see those people who came from villages in India to be honoured and facilitated in both monetary and honorary terms.

Gagan Narang did not disappoint and won a medal for India, though many were hoping that he might win Gold. He again is in contention in getting gold in 2014 Olympics to be held in rio de janeiro.

The Encore:

Sushil Kumar did which many were expecting Vijender Singh to also do, though Vijender should not lose heart as he did reach quarterfinals and that itself is a huge achievement. Additionally age is in his side, so in next Olympics I for one STRONGLY believe that he will win GOLD. We should remember that it took Md Ali just 1 Gold to get recognized rest was his style and attitude (a positive one) which brought him so much acclaim. (Not that Vijender Singh needs recognition in India, but many including me have a desire that he wins Gold in Olympics.

Sushil Kumar on the other hand was likely to win gold given his recent performance but in final his health and fatigue gave away. The feat has been a welcome one. One hopes he is able to fulfill his dreams in future. It may be so that he might go for 2014 Olympics. It was a good win for Yogeshwar Dutt to who won his first Bronze medal. His hardwork finally paid off.

The Awards:

It has been raining awards for the winners of Olympic medals and those who participated. Yogeshwar Dutt and Vijay Kumar have been awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for 2012. Last year it was Gagan Narang. Haryana Govt has awarded its players 1.5 Crores for silver and 1 Crore for Bronze. Now one has got news that  Olympic medalists wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, badminton star Saina Nehwal and shooter Gagan Narang will get audi Q5s for bringing laurels to the country from DLF Limited.

That apart, the company will also hand over Special Editions of Maruti Suzuki – Way of Life‘s mid-sized Suzuki SX4 cars to 15 sportspersons from Haryana who took part in the London 2012 Olympics, but could not win any medal.

This a welcome move from DLF who have been past associated with cricket namely DLF IPL. SAHARA announces medals of pure gold of 5 kg, 3kg and 2kg to every Indian winning gold, silver and bronze medal respectively in the London Olympics 2012. Sahara has been supporting Indian sportsmen for longtime and it is no different here.

All these awards from the corporate sector is a welcome move. One hopes that many other companies would come forward; such awards will encourage youngsters to fight and win more medals for India in future Olympics.

 

Alright so in continuation to my last post on the Hyderabad trip, I am writing this. After going to Golconda fort, I wanted to see the char Minar and Nizam’s palace. Therefore I set forth in an autorikshaw( This was the next day ofcourse). Though I must warn fellow travelers that they charge ridiculous amount until unless you are willing to bargain with them.

The Char Minar is situated deep in the old city of Hyderabad, it took me 30-45 mins from my residence in Hyderabad (which was outskirts of Hyderabad near the IT city).

I for one had never seen Char Minar, so obviously was excited to see it for the first time. Though many had warned me not to keep high hopes as it may lead to disappointment. Still the excitement was there.

Upon arriving at Char Minar, I can say it was pretty much what I expected . Reasonable expectations did come to my rescue. There was a counter for entering, which charged about Rs 4 per person. This was done by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). I dare say the job that they were doing for maintenance was not good.

The view from char minar was certainly a delight. The staircase to get up however was too narrow and steep. I guess architects forgot about people climbing up. Usual to the Indian standards the site was riddled with piques of paan (The banner of  “Kindly Paint me red”  was the only sign missing, rest of the job was done fully well by the local tourist armed with their gutkas. This is specifically the case of staircase).

The view from the top of Char Minar was a nice one. You can see the entire old city and the mosque which is besides it. There is a famous bangle shop there. It is in a lane which faces one of the four walls of Char Minar.  That same lane would eventually lead you to Nizam’s Palace.

I remembered the mosque near Char Minar from the news briefing about Saina Mirza, the news was such that she went for a photo-shoot there. Apparently the orthodox individuals had an issue with her “posing” in a mosque.

The minar offers a view into the lanes of Bazar. I clicked couple of picks of the opposite side, the hustle and bustle of the lanes brought out the liveliness of the city. After staying there for 45 mins. I moved onto Nizam’s palace. Apparently Nizam had seven wives and 42 concubines and 40 Children. Quite an Army indeed.

The Place of Nizams was huge indeed. ASI handled it too. They charged Rs 10 to enter but for forigeners it was a bit more. The courtyard was grand and one was able to see the place where the Nizam use to sit.  However the clicking of pictures in the inner chamber was not allowed. It was a sort of a museum of the history of nizams.

Nizam’s Throne :

While going through the museums of nizam, I got across a pic which looked familiar to me of black and white cinema era actress, Nilofar. Apparently she was married to the Nizam (That was a news to me).

Finally after watching the whole of the palace which was done in an hour or so. One decided to head back to the city. There was some time left so one could catch on some other places before it was dark. Hussain Sagar Lake was such a spot.

They say that Hussian Sagar Lake was a man made lake build built by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali in 1562, during the rule of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah.

There is one big statue of Buddha in the middle of lake which was installed in 1992. One could see a boat club there, where people were boating in the lake. For those interested in going to see the Buddha statue, they need to board a ferry.

The sight at Hussian Sagar lake was a calming one . The winds were also keeping temperature chilly. The whole day’s trip came to a fitting end. It is a popular spot among tourist and I can certainly see why it is so.

Last year I went to Hyderabad, the second IT city after Bangalore in south India. It is the capital of Andra Pradesh which currently is in a bitter battle of separation, in order to create another state of Telengana. I stayed in Hyderabad for 7 days before proceeding to Bangalore via a bus.

I reached Hyderabad in august of 2010.(cannot remember the exact date). I do remember however that it was 10 am that my flight landed and I had boarded the flight from delhi at 7:30 am (so it took 2 hours and 30 mins ) . This is the exact time that it takes if you are going from delhi to Thimpu,capital of Bhutan. Remarkable right… India is a vastly remarkable country…

The first couple of days were just site seeing near the place I resided. I tried to get accustomed to Hyderabad but then I ventured out to see the Golconda fort.

Golconda fort has an interesting history, it starts with  13th century  built by the Kakatiya kings. Though the current structure was build by the Bahmani Sultanate .After the collapse of sultanate, a new empire ruled over it. That of Qutb Shahi dynasty before it fell to Mughals. It was captured by Mughals during the time of Aurangzeb. It is said that he captured it to finance his crumbling empire as Qutb Shahi dynasty had lots of diamonds. The region itself was rich producer of diamonds.

The historians also write that the defense of Golconda fort was so good that Aurangzeb’s army was not able to get in. Only after bribing the gatekeeper, the Mughal army was able to capture the fort.

Something which amused me was to find a temple at the top of fort. The story about it is that a saint Kancharla Gopanna, popularly known as Bhaktha Ramadaasu, a devout Hindu constructed Bhadrachalm temple without informing the sultan at that time Tana Shah. This resulted in his being  jailed located inside the fort. I saw the place where he was jailed but forgot to take a pic(but certainly got the pics of temple).

I think, of all the ancient monuments that I saw in Hyderabad. Golconda was finest. At the top of the fort one could see Hyderabad. It think the attacking armies could have been easily spotted 100 Kms away. Truly on top of the fort it was a remarkable view. The greenery of Hyderabad is also proved when you view from top of Golconda fort.

While in Hyderabad I also observed one trend, there seems to a lot of construction going on. It seemed that Hyderabad was on infrastructure revamp mission. The road connecting airport to outskirts of Hyderabad where most IT companies are offers memorable sights for watching.Though I must say campus of both Microsoft and Infosys were equally beautiful.

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