Ramoji Film City
Being a media person, Ramoji was definetly on my checklist. For a hassle free entry, I had booked tickets online in prior. The whole package that covers you from 9am-5.30pm comes to around rs. 1150. and includes guided trips to various film sets, botanical and zoological gardens, light and sound shows. You also have VIP tickets costing around rs. 2500 that will have a personal guide throughout your tour, which I suggest is not that necessary.. If you are an early morning person, redbus has bus services at 7.30am from the city to Ramoji which is almost 66kms. Not being a morning person I decided to take a cab.
I ended up paying 1k to reach Ramoji when it showed in the app rs.500.
I reached the la la land and it was massive. I was amused at the scale of the establishment and was surprised to know that one person,Ramoji Rao built this empire. We are taken in small antique-looking buses around the film and television sets and are free to roam around there for sometime before being taken to the next location.
The biggest 'awe' for me was the Baahubali set. You enter the set and hear the theme music playing throughout and it gives you goosebumps. From Ballaldeva's throne to Anushka's hand-chains, everything is kept intact.
Once the sets are done, the guides leave you to yourself to explore the rest of Ramoji. For me personally, Ramoji gets over with the seeing the sets. But for people who like gardens and light, sound shows, the experience can be quite wonderful. Since I had paid for the whole package, I stayed till evening and watched the rest of the programmes and they were good, unlike my expectations. The bus takes you back to the entrance at 5.30pm and you are awaited by rickshaw walas and taxiwalas.
Tip - do not trust the local taxi and rickshaw guys in Hyderabad. They will loot you like anything. And as your last choice, call for an ola/uber. Atleast they will be safe.
Determined to save money and for the local experience, I decided to take the local Hyderabad bus and it was the best decision.
Since I had a lot of time in hand for the day, I decided to cover the very famous Charminar which is in the Old Hyderabad. The bus conductor helped me get down at the right place and got a localite lady to help me reach Charminar. Again I was not alone. A family from West Bengal was there with me in the local bus from Ramoji and were also heading to Charminar. So we grouped up and reached Charminar. To our disappointment, we got to know that Charminar is lit up only during festivals and important holidays and not otherwise. Located in a Bazar area, Charminar is not really a clean place. There are vendors selling and forcing you to buy fake pearls all around. We decided to get out of the place as soon as possible.
Hussain Sagar Lake
Our next stop was Hussain Sagar Lake. The lake basically has a huge Buddha statue right in the centre and you have ferry services from the entrance to the statue and back. The place was dirty as people were doing ganpati visarjan in the lake and it was atrocious seeing them spoil the lake. But again, its India and everything is fair when it comes to religion.
Me and the family parted ways.
It was around 9-9.30pm and I was just not ready to go back to the hostel. The night was still young for me. Being a vegetarian, I knew Hyderabad was just not the food place for me but I still decided to give it a try. I went to the famous Sarvi Restaurant in Banjara Hills for a biriani. It was decent enough because I really don't know how to judge a veg biriani. Tourists are usually directed to Paradise Restaurant for lip-smacking biriani but my host said those biriyanis are 'over-rated' and 'clichéd'. On my way back to the hostel, I stopped at the very famous 'Karachi Bakery' for their Karachi fruit biscuits which costs around rs. 120.
After an event full day 1, I finally decided to head home.