Hyderabad. If biryani is all that the name reminds you of then there is a lot you need to know about this vibrant city. A city of Nizams, pearls, lakes, and gardens. A city that eats drinks and sleeps technology. And a city where traditions meet trends.
Technology has led to the development of the new city which is very distinct from the old Hyderabad city. However, the tradition and culture binds the old and the new together.
I have been to the city a number of times now but it is my first rendezvous with it that stands out in my memory. I could feel the Mughal grandeur of old Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri as soon as I entered the city. No wonder it is also called the 'Istanbul of India', I had thought. The uniqueness of the city lies in the fact that it is not limited to just one religion, caste, creed or sect. It is a place where Hindus and Muslims have co-existed peacefully for centuries.
With a friend working in the city, I did not have to worry about accommodation. In any case, it is not difficult to find reasonably priced hotels in the city. My exploration started with Hussain Sagar Lake which is a man-made lake famous for the 18-metre tall Buddha statue in the middle of the lake. The Hyderabad Tourism department has assured that you have a close encounter with the majestic lake. Take a boat and go to the Buddha statue and feel the romance in the air! With blue placid water all around you, be ready to hear the silence of water and dance along the tune of the mystic air.
After hearing the silence of the water if you heard your stomach asking for some food, head towards the Eat Street. Be ready to be confused as to what to have, as the place has immense food variety. Besides, it is a great place to hang out. In case you are looking for some adventure, do not be disappointed. You can go for para-sailing at a very affordable ticket price.
I next headed to the Lumbini Park which features a musical fountain and 33 statues of various Andhra Pradesh personalities. The technological city has arrangements for technological entertainment! I enjoy seeing the water dance in the evening. Yes, the water danced in splendid colours on melodious Bollywood tunes. The laser show exhibits, through water, the history of the city, popular places in the old as well as new city and about Tollywood. It was an ecstatic show that left me mesmerized.
I started next day with a visit to the icon of Hyderabad's leadership in the field of Information Technology in the country-the Hi-tech city. It is located at Madhapur on the outskirts of Hyderabad. A fully integrated, ultramodern town that provides infrastructural facilities, it is a great place to visit. The organizations here give their employees all the comforts-from a dormitory to room with bean bags; fabulous cafeteria to games room and from appetizing food to delicious juices. The ambiance made me wish that I was an engineer and could work in one of the offices!
Pushing myself away from the glorious workstations, I went to the NTR Gardens which is a great place to hangout in the evenings. The gardens offer a serene as well as an adventurous atmosphere - Machan tree, Japanese garden, fruit restaurant, car cafe, souvenir shops and lots more.
A major attraction in Hyderabad is the Ramoji Film City . It is the world's largest integrated film studio complex, at nearly 2,000 acres. Also it is one of Asia's most popular tourism and recreation centers. It has over 500 set locations. 20 international films and nearly forty Indian films can be produced simultaneously in the complex. One day is not enough to see entire film city. There are superb arrangements for you to enjoy in the film city. Eat, swing, watch skits and dance performances, take a bus ride - there is so much to do!
Trip to Hyderabad would have been incomplete without a visit to Charminar and Golconda fort. I was told by a guard that the Charminar was originally surrounded by wide open parks and flowering trees but today I see that it stands amidst crowded streets of various exotic bazaars. Directly to the west of Chaminar is the Lad Bazaar, also known as the "Street of Love". In the bustling street reminiscent of the bygone era, you will find bangles galore. Each bangle set is exclusive in design and colour. If you are blessed with the art of bargaining and love bangles - this bazaar is no less than heaven for you!
Other major attractions in the city are the Birla Mandir, Nehru Zoological Park, the largest zoo in India, Snow World, and Falaknuma Palace.
Telugu, Hindi and Urdu are the principal languages spoken in Hyderabad. When the locals speak to you in Hindi, the typical 'Hyderabadi dialect' is unlikely to leave you unaffected! Not only is it amusing but you can also feel the warmth they have for their guests.
What is one thing you just can not miss while you are in the city? No prizes for guessing this one! It, undoubtedly, is the famous Hyderabadi Biryani. There are lot more delicacies that a Nizam kitchen has.
You'd find unending thematic food festivals good enough to soothe your appetite. The delights include Khubani ka Mitha, Pheni and Haleem, a meat dish traditionally eaten by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. You may be surprised to know that people from different countries come down to Hyderabad to have Haleem during Ramadan. So, if you are a non-vegetarian do find out what's so enticing about this special dish. Have a sweet tooth? You'd regret if you don't! There are a plenty of shops where you can have pure ghee sweets. There is a huge variety of sweets that taste great. However, do not compare the taste with the sweets you have in Delhi. There is still more! Visit Karachi Bakery near Mau'zzam Jahi Market, Nampally. The bakery is popular for its biscuits including the local Osmania biscuits.
The best part about Hyderabad is the cheap transport in three wheelers, Delhi autowallaha's fleece badly, but most Hyderabadi's run by the meter. The city is safe even after midnight. It's awesome roaming around late nights around Hussein Sagar, and watching the sunset at Shilpgramam.
The bad part about Hyderabad is the traffic as it is a city of bad drivers. It's almost impossible to cross any road, motorbike riders have no driving sense, there is a dearth of traffic signals and nobody pays heed to the traffic police wallah s.
Hyderabad is too big a city to be summed up in few pages. Any number of glorifying words for the city would be less. To verify the statement you would have to go and visit the city.
The best time to visit this place is during the month of December.Have you been to Hyderabad? What is the best thing you like about the city?