The Heritage Trail: Old City, Hyderabad

A. P. Tourism conducts “Hyderabad Heritage Walks” in the old city every weekend. Recently we participated the in “Walk 2: From Charminar to Badshahi Ashurkhana”. With the vision of spreading awareness and to help with conservation, the tourism department conducts these tours for a paltry sum of Rs. 50/- per head.

Our guide met us at Charminar at 8 am and started with a brief history of the city. Hyderabad was established in the late 16th century by the Qutb Shahi Dynasty which continued to rule for almost a century before the Mughuls captured the region. The Mughuls set up the post of Viceroy in the region and this post was taken up by the Nizam Dynasty. The Nizams continued to Rule the Deccan a princely state under the British Rule.

All the iconic monuments of the city including the Golconda Fort, the Charminar and some of the palaces were built under the rule of the Qutb Shahi Rulers, and are a mix of architecture was Indo-Persian, a culmination of Hindu, Moorish, Mughal and Persian architectural styles.

Charminar: The iconic monument of the City.

The Iconic Building of the City.  Details of minarets and the arches.

The Iconic Building of the City -Photographed from the south eastern side
Details of minarets and the arches.

The interior - water basin and the dome

The interior – water basin and the dome

The various gates of the city: Charminar was supposedly set up at the centre of the Hyderabad City and the various sections of the city – palaces, bazaars, diwan ghaar etc were build in the four cardinal directions from this structure. All sections were accessed through large Gates called Kaman. 

Kamans: Vying to maintain their position in the now commercialised area.

Sher-e-Batil Kaman, Char Kaman, Diwan Dewadi Kaman: Valiantly trying to maintain their identity in the now highly commercialised area.

Pather-ghatti Market: The design of this market was based on the markets in Cairo. In recent times it is one of the most sought after wholesale market place.

The parallel lines of pathar-ghatti bazaar - consisting of some of the oldest shops still having slated wooden doors.

The parallel lines of pathar-ghatti bazaar – consisting of some of the oldest shops still having slated wooden doors.

Arched pathways providing access to the other side.  "Antiques" for sale.  Detailing on the pillars and roof.

Arched pathways providing access to the other side of the market. 
Curios for sale.
Detailing on the pillars and roof.

Badshahi Ashurkhana: The mourning hall for the shia muslims during the festival of Moharram.

Tiles originally set with semi-precious stones.  The high arched wooden roof and exterior minarets.

Tiles originally set with semi-precious stones.
The high-wooden roof and exterior minarets.

The walk provided great insights into the architectural designs of these monuments and it was increasingly brought to our notice the difficulty of maintaining these structures in encroaching push of the populace. These walks are the Tourism department’s way of increasing awareness of the historical heritage of the city, wishing to preserve these structures at-least in peoples’ memories.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Converge

The Charminar is the most iconic building in Hyderabad, India. Multiple images of the monument had made me immune to its charms till a recent “Heritage Walk” that I participated in, which started at Charminar.

Charminar literally means “Four Minarets/Towers”. The four minarets support the four grand arches and the dome. The four arches converge in a very symmetric design into 8 interior arches which converge into a 32 sided polygon supporting the domed arch – making it the perfect subject for this week’s photo-challenge. 

Converged arches facing the cardinal directions

Converged arches facing the cardinal directions

Internal Convergence of the arches

Internal Convergence of the arches

All Arches converge into circular domed roof

All Arches converge into circular domed roof

P.S.: More details on the Heritage Walk coming up soon!

That First Time!

The first time we were going for vacation after marriage.

Last minute checks in the house before hurrying to the cab:
A: Have you checked all the switches?
HD: (Mentally busy ticking off the check-list of all lotions and potions to be carried.) Yup!
A: Why don’t we just shut of the mains? Wonder why people don’t do that?
HD: (Dubiously and in a hurry to be off) Hmmm yah sure!
In the Cab:
A: Did you switch of the gas?
HD: Yess!!
A: The iron?
HD: (Exasperated) Yes!  I switched off everything except the fridge! And anyway it doesn’t matter cause you switched off the mains.
Bling!.jpg

Bling!

P.S.: The vegetation that can flourish in an enclosed humid space, within a week was a study in itself.
P.P.S.: We have considerably improved our house keeping skills since that first time, the latest exploit being as innocuous as the tripping of the electricity mains by leaving the immersion water heater on after taking it out of the water. There was a power cut at the time of taking it out of the water – could have happened to anybody!

Anti-Muggle Prank!

Sis lives in a first floor apartment, which has a grilled (as in enclosed by a metal grill and not as in roasted) balcony adjacent to the kitchen. This space holds her washing machine, and laundry, whenever she decides to ‘use’ the washing machine.

As in all modern apartments, for maximum utilization of the (sparsely) available space the door separating the kitchen and the balcony was a sliding door. The door in sis’s apartment however had a quirk – its latch wouldn’t fall and it was not possible to lock the door. Mother had made several attempts to coerce the door shut – and failed miserably.

The other day sis was having guests at home and decided that her balcony needed cleaning. She walked out into the balcony and nonchalantly slid the door shut.

“Click” – the latch fell in place and the door locked – leaving sis in the balcony with no phone in hand and nobody in the house!

Being full of resourcefulness born from her highly educative experiences, she decided to take the help of the security guard of the building. Yelling at the top of her voice she managed to get his attention, and using the same mode of communication explained her plight. After hatching various plans like breaking down the door, calling family from the other end of town etc. they finally decided and managed to get a lock-smith to come and get the front door and the balcony door open – all with the accompanied background score of the housekeeping staff laughing their heads off.

Sis maintains that somebody jinxed the door on purpose – it still doesn’t shut properly from the inside and she hasn’t dared to try it again from the outside.