Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Impressions of Hyderabad

The weekend saw me in Hyderabad. The last time I had been there was as a seven-month old baby. Though I have been to various places in AP, Hyderabad never had the good fortune to see me (I mean, err.. the other way round) :)

Hyderabad: I liked the city. Due to the Bangalore-Hyderabad rivalry, I had unconsciously developed a sort of antagonistic attitude towards the city. Actually there is no reason for it! :) From what I saw of it, its a clean, well-planned city. The roads are wide, and the number of cars on the road is phenomenally lesser than Bangalore. I think that's the only thing that saves the city from having traffic jams. Coz lane discipline is practically nil. I was on the roads quite a bit, and most of the drivers seemed entirely devoid of road sense.

I had at the back of mind this post , which says that there are very few local language boards in Hyderabad, as compared to Bangalore. I agree with the writer entirely. And I think I hit upon the reason too. In Bangalore, you need to have boards in only two languages - English and Kannada. In Hyderabad, if you have a board, you need to have it in at least three languages - English, Telugu and Urdu. And sometimes, Hindi too. I have seen a few boards which cram all these languages into a tiny space. It looks very cluttered. I dont know what will happen if they have boards in only 2 languages out of the three, but I tend to think that it might hurt some sensitivities. So they play it safe and have only huge English boards :) As I said, this is my theory - I am open to corrections!

Salar Jung museum - If you are even slightly inclined to hitory/art, Salar Jung museum is a must-see. Galleries upon galleries of exquisite paintings, sculpture and memorabilia - it needs at least two days to do full justice to it. And if you can, please do visit it on a weekday. Unfortunately I just skipped in and out like a true tourist, but we really had no time. And the crowds were getting too much to bear.

The highlight according to me is the heart-stopping sculpture of "Veiled Rebecca" by the Italian sculptor G.B. Benzoni. If the sculpture was not encased in glass, I swear I would have gone and touched it to see whether there really was a veil or it is just the sculptor's mastery of the art. [Now you know why it is glass-enclosed :)] You can see a picture of it here. There is also a very interesting double statue of Mephistopheles and Margaretta, which you can see in the same page.

The clock gallery deserves a special mention - more than the clocks in it, the gallery itself is like an old ballroom. Its magnificent.

The Clock is an old grandfather clock with a window which has the dial. At the side, a blacksmith figure pounds the seconds on his anvil, and every hour, a bearded man comes out of a little door and beats out the hours on a gong. They actually have a quadrangle where they have placed this clock. They have made seating arrangements in the quadrangle and have placed CC TV on either side of the clock, to enable everybody to see the chiming of the hours. Noon attracts the maximum visitors, of course. You should have seen the crowd that assembled to watch it. It as interesting indeed. But I have already seen the French Calendar clock at Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore, where a band of toy soldiers
come out of a door in the clock and march around the dial the number of times as the hour of the day. It is much more fascinating. So, considering the build-up, the actual clock was kind of an anti-climax for me.

Charminar - In my head, the symbol of Hyderabad. If you overlook the dirty wet steps and pan-stained walls on the way up [make sure you do not touch the walls with your hands, though the steps are steep], the view from the top is worth it. But on the whole, Charminar is very badly maintained, unfortunately. It kind of took away the magic for me. Near Charminar is a beautiful mosque with tombs of the Nizams. Around Charminar are the Bazaars and jewellery shops. No, I did not buy anything!

Hussain Sagar Lake: Another Hyderabad landmark. The Buddha statue in the middle of the lake is huge and very beautiful - 17 m tall and 320 tonnes heavy! The lake is expectedly dirty from up close, but looks very beautiful when seen from a distance.

The wedding: This was what we had gone to Hyderabad for, by the way :) Sandesh's colleague's wedding. Before the wedding began, the bride and the groom sat at opposite ends of the hall, surrounded by their friends and family. The bride's folks have to convince the groom to move closer to the girl, and the groom's side has to convince the bride to come closer to the guy. So basically this is a whole drama where both the bride and groom cite their ego and refuse to come closer to each other. Wonder what started off this custom in the first place :) Anyway, for us, most of whom were unfamiliar with this ritual, it was a good source of merriment!

Yes, I know, I missed out a lot of places, I SHOULD have gone there, I OUGHT to have done that, but there was very less time :( More in the next trip. Meanwhile check out my affair with Hyderabadi cuisine in the next post!


SloganMurugan said...

I was in Hyderabad too, last month and you will be surprised how similar my post is to yours!

check it out.

you may have to scroll down a bit.


SloganMurugan said...

In case u don't find the above mentioned post:


Shruthi said...

@SloganMurugan: Wow... you are right! We seem to have done the same things, enjoyed the same stuff :)
Cool blog you have.. trying to leave a comment on it....

Sri Harsha said...

Hmmm....u seemed to have missed out on some places near the Tank bund...like birla mandir (a lovely place to visit...especially in the nite),also some recent additions which i've heard they are pretty gud....

I too have a lot to catch up with around this time....but for now n joyin my stay...

SloganMurugan said...


I guess that was because of time constraints. I hope to go back for more someday, check out the golconda fort, etc. Loved the city.

Shruthi said...

@Sri Harsha: Enjoy your stay :) And will surely catch up on the other things on my next visit! Actually Birla Mandir was on my agenda, but I had to cancel it coz I had to meet a friend.

@SloganMurugan: Yes I wanted to go to Golconda Fort and Falakhnuma palace too. Next time! :)

Shuuro said...

//Due to the Bangalore-Hyderabad rivalry, I had unconsciously developed a sort of antagonistic attitude towards the city.//

Until now i did not know such hostility existed between Bangalore(err bengaluru) and Hyderabad, damn! my friends in Bengaluru did not inform me. Now i have axe to grind, accepted our clock is not impressive(i never liked it in the first place)and so does your clock at Jaganmohan Palace!.

Shruthi said...

@Shuuro: :)) All the rivalry is software-related :)

I did not get your statement correctly - do you mean that the Jaganmohan clock is also not impressive? Well, for 200 + year clocks, I think both are pretty impressive! But on a comparative scale, the Mysore one is more interesting!

Mr. J said...

In my search to find out what other fellow Hyderabadi's are upto, I stumbled upon your blog. Hmmm....Nice place no? Lol!!...

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