Charminar: This weekend I visited Charminar, yet again, with my friend Sud.. and the place continued to thrall me with its ethereal beauty despite the fact that the betel juice traced its path from the streets and along the winding stairs (that path could do with some lighting) bang into the balcony. Through the balcony we tried to get a glimpse of the (not-yet-crowded) bazaar as the clocks chimed at 11:00am (Charminar is one of the many clock towers adorning the twin cities ::4 clocks, to be more precise::). The pigeons were perched in their moolah oblivious to the furor and the shutterbugs clicking away to glory (I bet these pigeons are some sort of secret-keepers and were discussing how things were and how things have changed over centuries).
(PS: Single female visitors will not be allowed to enter Charminar owing to security reasons, there were few eve-teasing instances in the past, it is better to tag along with a friend.)
|In and around Charminar|
Famous Govind Bandi: The next stop had to be the famous Govind bandi for some hot cheese dosa Thanks to Sud (who started her day with that sumptuous Cheese dosa at the bandi before reaching Charminar) for endorsing the dosa while we were in the balcony; the tiring descent did the trick. Giving in to temptation led to this street binge.
Govind bandi is known for its delicious hot cheese dosas and tawa idlies. We reached the bandi after 11:30 by then the last cheese dosa was served so I had to settle for some buttery dosa before we resumed our journey to our next desination (Dear bucketlist, am striking off Govind Dosa, but I shall be back for some cheese dosa and tawa idli).
The Laad Bazaar: Our next stop was supposed to be Chowmahalla palace for which we had to walk through Laad bazaar. We left our blinkers and ear plugs home so we went for a quick bangle shopping (just kidding! we fell for the sales pitches). After picking her stone studded bangles, Sud and I attempted bargaining and left the bazaar with our spoils to our original destination, always happy with such detours (it was inevitable).
(PS: It is advisable to bargain while shopping for bangles at Laad bazaar. Better tag along with local Hyderabadi friend(s) however hopeless they are at bargaining. Always start with half-price or use your instincts.)
It was fun to recall the history of the Nizams parading through the palace which was origially spread in about 45 acres but is now confined to 12 acres. Princess Esra, former wife of Prince Mukarram Jah Bahadur, is instrumental in restoring the palace to its past glory and telling the city their story, before it was forgotten. The Palace now holds souvenirs of the Nizam dynasty through several exhibits - featuring photographs, paintings, crockery, arms, clothes and carriages/cars. Certain parts of the palace are not open to the public yet, but one gets a peek into the royalty and grandeur that once was, Chowmahalla(t) palace.
(P.S: Thanks Sud for planning this trip and enlightening me about Chowmahalla being four palaces :D)
|Irani chai Nimrah cafe|
Irani Chai and Osmania biscuit: My first date with Irani chai was in December when I visited Nimrah cafe for a cuppa, but the chai fell flat in terms of taste (too much milk and way too much sugar) and texture (Asking for special Irani chai for your visiting friends was a BAD IDEA!). Sud convinced me to take the leap of faith (she considered herself to be the lucky food companion and after a happy dosa) and to order the famous Irani chai of Nimrah and their partners-in-crime osmania biscuits. Oh boy! Sud was right (it is now certified, she is a lucky food companion). The tea tasted better than what I had when I last visited this place. After quickly sipping tea and getting refreshed, we headed to Mecca masjid for some peace and calm.
(PS: Women are advised to carry a shawl/dupatta while visiting this mosque.)
This trip also ended with a cup of refreshing Irani chai, now I know why this is the go-to beverage for most Hyderabadis. While walking back to catch our respective cabs I recalled Sarojini Naidu's famous poem, 'In the bazaars of Hyderabad', which I discussed with Sud when I first visited this place with her in 2012. (I don't think people would return home without buying anything from this place. I might have left the bangles in Laad bazaar but I bought the crunchiest almonds and the juciest fruits from this bazaar of Hyderabad.)
Disclaimer: This is my account of the city and the places I am trying to discover. This post does not provide a 360° view of those places.
Photo Credits: Clicked by Sud (most of them) and me