The Heritage Trail 2: Old City, Hyderabad

After the first walk we were very interested to walk the rest of the routes also, and ended up attending the Walk 3.

This route as usual started at Charminar and this time mostly covered the old buildings in the north eastern area around Charminar starting at Nizamia Hospital and ending at Purani Haveli.

Nizamia General Hospital / Unani Hospital: Built in 1938 by the last Nizam of Hyderabad State, HEH Osman Ali Khan

Nizamia General Hospital / Unani Hospital

Built in 1929 by the last Nizam of Hyderabad State, HEH Osman Ali Khan, under the schemes for post-flood development, designed by Vincent Esch, in the Indo – Saracenic architecture style.

Mecca Masjid: Opposite to the Hospital.

Mecca Masjid

Sardar Mahal

Sardar Mahal

Though the style reflects European architecture, the design and construction was indigenous; built in 1900 for the use of Sardari Begum the wife of the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad. Currently it is being utilized as the south zone office of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation

The old gateways of the city!

Glimpses of the old in the new



The minarets of Bargah Panj-e-Shah-e-Vilayat visible through the entrance of Kadam-e-Rasul Alava; and the Mansoor Khan’s Mosque – remnants from the Qutab Shahi Period.

Inside the mosques




The Old Palace

Purani Haveli – The Old Palace


The Heritage Trail 1: 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.

Do not “Kiss to Drink”!

Just travelling by trains is an adventure in India. For a short span of time you are thrown along with people whom you would never meet in your normal environment and are subject to opinions and interests which are alien to your own friends circle.

This one time while we were on our way back from a brief holiday at home, we shared our 3rd AC compartment with a French couple. Another travelling companion an enthusiastic young Indian seated next to them began to converse with them regarding their tour of India and international politics.

In the middle of the conversation, the indian took a swing from his 1 Litre water bottle. To us indians the usual mode of drinking from the bottle – pouring the water from the bottle into the mouth, without putting ones lips to the rim of the bottle – was standard practice and didn’t raise any eyebrows. However the foreigners picked up on it and questioned the youth “Why do you drink in that manner, without touching the bottle to your mouth?”

The youth replied “I would need to share the water with others and drinking straight from the bottle would not allow me to share it.” The French couple was really stunned – they said such a thought never occurs to them. They always get their individual bottles!

Some time ago Bisleri launched “kiss and drink” bottles. 500ml bottles, with a “kiss” cap to drink straight from the bottle.

The idea behind the Bisleri teams campaign was, “We have taken cue from a basic consumer behaviour that we do not like to share water with someone who has touched the bottle to his/her mouth. The campaign takes into consideration this behaviour and asks the consumer to buy their own bottle and drink straight from the bottle (kiss)”.

They expected to drive a social change by getting the consumers to buy their own bottle to be able to “kiss and drink”. On the flip side they expected the consumers to not share their bottle of water. While they are correct in the assumption that we do not like to share bottles which have been drunk from straight, in a country that buys everything family size, and sharing is the first value any child learns, I wonder if they were way off the mark in their consumer analysis.

Considering that the “kiss” bottles are no longer available in stores, and the marketing campaign has died out I think it would be an accurate conclusion to arrive at.

“What do you have?”

My first time in Gujarat ! Official travel of course. I reach Ahmedabad and the sales team has a hectic three day client tour planned.

The tour starts off with pouring rain and consequent delayed bus travel to Rajkot. Second day pretty much goes the same way with a delayed train journey to Surat, and 8 inches of rain in Ahmedabad. Third day provides a diversion by way of a bus ramming into our vehicle on the way to Mehasa. Barring all travel problems the trip is a success; and despite the the airport drop cab arriving at the nick of time (causing considerable increase in blood pressure), due to the drop timing coinciding with the Ramzan namaz (Id prayers), I am able to board my flight home.

I ask for the emergency exit row and armed with my neck pillow and leopard print scarf am happily looking forward to a hour long sleep. The trick of sleeping on flights I have learnt is to doze off while take off. The dimmed lights and lack of announcements provide the best ambience to doze off, and once you’er in the dream zone its its easy to ignore the clatter during the flight.

Flight Companions

Flight Companions

I am all settled with the pillow and the scarf over my eyes and am just into a light snooze when the announcement starts-
“We will now begin our inflight service. We wish to provide you expedient service and in order to help us with the same we request you to kindly go through the menu and select the items you wish to order and keep the required change ready.”

I manage somewhat successfully to ignore the bi-lingual announcements and am back into my semi comatose state when the flight attendant’s voice booms over my head –
“What do you wish to order sir?” To the passenger seated next to me.
Passenger 1: “What do you have?”
Attendant: “The menu is in the seat pocket sir.”
Passenger 1: “Do you have the hot items? Dal chawal?
Attendant: “Yes sir”.
I hear some rustling which I construe as her preparing to heat up the meal.

Attendant to the passenger behind me: “What would you like to have sir?”
Passenger 2: “Do you have the hot meals?”
Attendant (With just an octave higher note): Yes sir what would you like to have?”
Passenger 2: “Do you have dal chawal?”
Sounds indicate her giving the meal to the passenger seated next to me.
Attendant: “Please open it only after 10 minutes.”
Gives packet to the passenger seated behind me: “Please open only after 10 mins.”
Attendant: “Do you have change sir?”
Passenger 2: “No”

By this time my semi-comatose state was fully and truly overridden by irritation and I wondered at the patience of the air hostesses who had to deal with this day in and day out.
What I had now was crystal clear knowledge that sleep was not a luxury I was going to have on that flight and all I could think was “Thank God it’s Friday”.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story

Indian Railways are a legacy of the British Rule in India and today besides being the core of Indian Public Transportation system, they are also the best means to view the beautiful landscapes of this vast country.

Over the monsoon water engorged Kaveri

Over the monsoon water engorged Kaveri

Monsoon is the season of joy in India! It washes the dust of the summer away and brings new vitality to the country. A shot of the birds enjoying the splashing waves of Kaveri captures the enjoyable moments of a good monsoon!

Enjoying the splashing waves

Enjoying the splashing waves