Soon after checking into the in , I wanted to leave for Naya Qila (new fort). Like every time I had done a thorough research and had come across an unusual attraction, which I will unveil soon.
It was 10:30 in the morning when I reached the Naya Qila entrance gate. A guard stopped my taxi at the gate and questioned me if I was there to play Golf as there was a golf course adjacent to the fort. I informed him that I wanted to go to ' Hatiyan Jhad. ' Yes, this is the name of the place which, surprisingly, not many people know.
It was after about one and a half kilometers that I finally saw the huge 600 years old Baobab tree. Local people call it as Hatiyan Ka Jhad as it resembles a group of elephants standing close to each other. Some historians believe Arab traders gifted the tree (plant back then) to Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (fifth sultan of the Qutb Shahi dynasty), some believe that the wandering Fakirs planted the tree.
Did I go here only to see the tree? Of course not. What if I tell you that there is a room inside this tree that can accommodate forty people? One saying goes that this room was once home of Alibaba's forty thieves. (remember Ali Baba and forty thieves?). They would hide inside the tree room all day and come out when it was dark to carry their theft activities. Another saying goes that the thieves had once hidden here with the jewels they stole. I do not know how true these folk tales are. Nevertheless, such stories are engrossing, and we often like to believe them, right?
My travel story does not end here. It cannot until I climb the tree and go to the darkroom. The guard near the tree suggested that I remove my shoes as the tree trunks are slippery, and climbing the tree barefoot will help. Honestly, the naked foot did make it just relatively easier. I had never climbed a tree before in life. And I was not there to master the skill either.
But what I finally got to see was worth all the hard climb. The darkroom was for real. I climbed down the tree carefully and used my phone flashlight to see inside the room, which might have been the residence or the hiding place of Alibaba's forty thieves. It was freakishly awesome how a trunk of a tree could have the room so big that can fit so many people. I became sure that this would have been the safest place to hide as I entered the room.
A side note here - Include an ultra-bright flashlight in your travel essentials list for the unlit room.
Hyderabad city is one of the famous tourist places in India because of its rich history and culture. This Baobab tree could be a part of city history too. So, the next time you're in Hyderabad, make sure you don't miss out on this straight-out-of-Arabian-tales experience. There are also a few travel blogs to read about offbeat places to visit in Hyderabad.
Some places might not always earn the title of a tourist attraction or find a place in the travel guide, but they often tell a story as fascinating as other popular attractions.