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The Happy Fish Narratives Always with a backpack full of sunshine

Hello, Hyderabad!

INDIA | Friday, 2 May 2014 | Views [213]

I’m going to begin by saying that I’m regretting my decision not to bring my DSLR camera here in India. I came mainly for business so I brought along a lot of work stuff and it’s already an established fact that I’m lazy and I don’t like carrying so much heavy things. But I now know that I should have brought my good camera. Anyone else who’s going here should. It’s a sin not to.

Shiv, one of my new friends here in India, couldn’t have picked a lovelier day than yesterday to give me a short city tour around Hyderabad. The weather was nicely warm. It’s actually very similar to Manila less the humidity. It was a good day to be out.

We only went to a couple of places. We’re trying to break down the sights that I’ll visit since I’ll be staying here for a long time and I’ll have a few more weekends to spend. My little trip yesterday was a great start. We took off at noon and went straight to the Chowmahalla Palace which is located within the Old City.

I’ve never been inside a palace before. From the outside, the Chowmahalla Palace is already majestic-looking. Inside, there are more wonderful things to see. High ceilings, tons of bejewelled chandeliers, colorful floor patterns, everything is just amazing (and expensive). When we came there, the open area where the royal thrones are placed was cordoned off, but I was told that once in a while it would be opened to visitors and there would be some music-playing and poetry-reading. 

Around the whole palace would be a lot of portraits of the royal families who lived there, their furniture, the clothes they wore, the weapons they’ve used, the kitchenwares they’ve had, the cars and carriages they rode and much more. Photo-taking was restricted to some parts of the palace so I’ve only taken a few pictures. We spent about an hour and a half roaming around the Palace.

After that, we went to Hotel Sitara Grand to grab some lunch. The place offers a lunch buffet of Indian food which Shiv thought was a good idea because I’d get to try a little bit of everything. 

In the past days, I’ve already tasted a number of Indian food because that’s what’s mostly served in my hotel and the company cafeteria. And the people I’m working with, they’d just buy me food and make me try all of them. I’ve had pakoda, samosa, subdana and a number of others whose names I can’t seriously keep up with. I’m telling you, the cafe attendants in the hotel I’m currently staying in may have possibly grown a huge annoyance with me already because I’ve made them pronounce and spell all the food they were serving me for fifty times and I still wouldn’t get the names right.

Anyway, yesterday was my chance to taste the authentic Hyderabadi Biryani. I was impressed. I had the Chicken Biryani and it has this distinct Indian spicyness in there that most food here would have. The rice was done right and so was the chicken, and the whole thing is just flavorful. I also had a bunch of vegetarian appetizers and chicken cooked on different ways. I’ve also tried Butter Naan (Indian Bread) and Papad (a crunchy bread). And then we had dessert. This is when I realized that Indians just love their spices. They love it so much that even some of their desserts would have some spice, even for just a little. We had this little balls of bread on a sweet syrup and the syrup had this subtle gingery taste in it. We ate it with vanilla ice cream. It was really, really good. I asked Shiv the name of the dessert and he told me what it is. As usual, I didn’t catch it. Now I’m thinking I’m gonna ask him again in the office this coming week. Or better yet, I’m just gonna make him write the name down.

After that almost 2-hour feast, we went to pick up Shiv’s wife and daughter to proceed to the Golconda Fort. The whole fort spreads to an area of about 11 km. But it’s not just a walled piece of land. The place has some acoustic surprises for the visitors. There is a spot somewhere near the entrance where if you clap, the sound would clearly be heard on the topmost pavillion. This was a warning signal previously used by the people there to let the royals know if there are enemies coming. Pretty neat.

After walking and climbing around the fort, we decided to take our seats to prepare for the Lights & Sounds Show. The viewing area is strategically placed in a spot where the people will have a good look at all the places where the lights will be lit, including the highest part of the fort. There was a huge crowd last night. We waited for the whole place to get dark and then the show began. The show involves a historical narration of how that place was built and it goes with choreographed colorful lighting on the different spots of the fort. One point you’re looking at the hallway in you’re right, the next you’re looking at the tomb in your left. And then you’d look up because there’d be lights on the highest pavillion. There was also a couple of music and poetry added in the narration. Overall, the show was a colorful historical treat.

We walked a little more around the fort and then we had to go home. At one point in our drive to my hotel I had this thought of how lucky I am to have the opportunity to see and experience all these things. I said a short prayer of gratitude. We have a beautiful world. And I am in a beautiful city. I can’t wait to see more of it.

 

*First published on my personal blog

Tags: biryani, chowmahalla, golconda, hyderabad, india, travel

 

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