Image Credit: Arpan Bhowmick
It should not be a surprise to us that the decadent and historically vibrant city of Hyderabad has secrets lying in its stunning pillars, towers and nomenclature. Though there are many facts regarding the specific and exquisite culture followed by Nizams and their descendants (eg, biryani originated as a quick snack for soldiers) but in this post I have focused more on the subtle messages and narratives that the city's places and structures hold.
Here are a few.
1.) Biryani Was Never a Big Deal
Until the Nawabs decided to obsess over it. Initially, Biryani was only prepared for soldiers and that too minutes before war. Like a quick and hearty snack. But after the Nizams and higher ranking officials tasted it that they decided to make a hierarchy of even a rice-based dish. And once that started, royal families made a huge deal out of it by adding more and delicious ingredients and keeping recipes secret, and away from common public.
Credits: Gagandeep Sapra
2.) The First Diamond Mine
Ever wondered by the Nizams were always ALWAYS richer than any other royal. Well, that's because of Kollur Mine, which was once the only and most rich diamond mine in the world. And is known to have given the world the (in)famous Kohinoor.
Source: Anoop Madhavan
3.) Cat Face on Charminar
Charminar was actually built to commemorate the city's victory over the deadly plague. There are several cat motifs in the structure, this one is most noticeable (though not many do). Why cats? Plague is caused by rats. Cats chase away rats. That's why!
Source: South Repor
4.) Food in the Coat of Arms of the Nizam
Hyderabad is a heaven for anyone who believes in venturing out of plants and vegetables for their food. The passion for food here is so much that the Coat of Arms of Nizam of Hyderabad contains a Kulcha symbol in it. Yes, the Indian bread. It's right there, next to brave panthers.
5.) Abids, the Overachiever
The oldest and the most famous business area of Hyderabad is actually named after Albert Abids, who was the valet of Nizam VI. A valet has a city named after him, what have you done in life?
6.) Hyderabad is trying to hard to be an Iranian city.
The city was built by Quli Qutub Shah, in an effort to imitate the enchanting Iranian city. Whether he did a swell job or not, is not for me to decide, but Hyderabad surely became the center of Persian studies after Isfahan went into intellectual darkness.
7.) A White Man Cured Malaria Here
Clearly foreigners like coming to Hyderabad to do cool things that we can later brag about. Dr Ronald Ross became someone we are proud of after he discovered the cause of malaria at Begumpet General Hospital in 1897. Probably because he got bitten a lot by mosquitos since he stayed right next to Musi river (which is known for having waste deposits), but who cares, all's well that ends in a Nobel Prize.
8.) Highly Ignored Paigah Tombs
The Paigahs were fierce loyalists of the Nizams, making them extremely influential and rich. They must be pretty clever to have such eclectic designs adorn their resting place. The tombs are a combination of Mughal, Hindu and Persian architecture, giving them a unique and possibly not-seen-before appearance. But these beautiful tombs are not really maintained by authorities and don't seem excite locals, so you can have a visit the next time you are in Hyderabad and have a quiet marvel moment.
They are really weird, like nice-weird.
Source: Nagarjun Kandakuru
9.) Golconda Fort was a Freehold Property
The fort was never ruled by a king. Self financed, it served as a major trading center and was respected by kings that it endured for centuries. Though this was clearly changed when Nizams decided to play kingdom with it.
Credits: Bindaas Madhavi
10.) A Really Cool Hand Print
The name breaks down into hand-mountain in Telugu, after a nearby peak which is topped by an almost self supporting boulder, and is marked by the hand print of Imam Ali. If you are even remotely familiar with Islamic narrative, then a peak touched by Imam Ali is a pretty big deal.
(I couldn't find a picture of either the hill or the print, share one if you have it)
These facts might not exactly blow your mind, but they did mine.
Do you have any other exciting and probably more insightful secrets of Hyderabad?
If yes, then I am all ears.