Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Hyderabad as the accidental tourist destination

How can one's place of birth and childhood and growth possibly be a tourist destination? Easy: if you have moved away and your kid comes back every vacation to visit grandparents, granduncles and cousins. So that is what happened to us.

Of course Charminar is a must and we visited it last week. Impressive as ever. What is more, the weather was the best I could remember in years. Then we asked our driver to take us to `Paigah Palace' which I thought was nearby. He confidently took us to a nearby palace which was not Paigah but was the Chowmohalla Palace. This is terrific. We did not have much time and could only a small part of it. The Nizam's descendants in 2005 have allowed the public to come and walk through. It is a must.

Earlier we had done the usual Public Gardens and the Birla Mandir and a short walk along the Hussain Sagar where there are now two gardens on either side of the Necklace road.

We also visited the Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park, which is now a deer park in about 16 sq. km. of what was once the Nizam's hunting grounds. There is a safari ride for 15 min. and costs 5 rupees. There is no safari between noon and 3:00 pm. We also went back to the Public Gardens to the State Museum which has one of 6 Egyptians mummies in the country's museums, which had been bought from London and they say it is that of a 16 or 18 year old female and daughter of a Pharoah. The Buddhist and Bronze collections and Ajanta reproductions are excellent. There are also murals in several scripts and apparently there is a miniature which we did not see. This is not be confused with the Salar Jung Museum which we did not visit.

There is also a small tribal museum in Sankshema Bhavan at Masab tank which we visited.

For the tourist, there is also the crafts festival in December at the Shilparamam near the Hi-Tech city.

This is what we did this year. Last year, we had done the Qutb Shahi tombs, the Golconda fort and on an earlier occasion the famous Nehru Zoological Park near the Mir-Alam tank. So what more can one ask from one single city. And, don't forget that you can get by with Hindi if you are someone who does not know Telugu.

So if this information has been useful to you, happy holidays now or for later...