Now the time for the pending travel journal :-).
So after Bhopal, we started for Hyderabad. Now Bhopal was not something which we had planned to travel but it so happened that we could not get the direct tickets to Hyderabad. Hence, the break journey was planned. However, even with that plan we could not get all the tickets confirmed for the train from Bhopal to Hyderabad. We could get just one ticket confirmed and that too when we were just about to board the train. So we decided to go ahead and take the chance. (Even though as a precaution, I had booked the “tatkal” tickets for the next day, even though that would have left us with no time to see Hyderabad, so tight was the schedule).Thankfully, the TC was also kind enough to let us travel that way.
Now, once we reached Hyderabad, we did not have too much trouble.The first place on the list was the Salar Jung Museum, as it was on the way to Golconda fort, from the place we were to start (Kacheguda).
So there we were at the museum which had lots of tourists, even though it was a weekday (Tuesday). In fact I was pleasantly amazed to see a group of old ladies on their own. In India, it’s quite surprising to old ladies as tourists – all by themselves. But there they were, enjoying the trip :-). This India is quite new.
At the museum, since we were not allowed to take any pictures, so I don’t have any graphic record of what I saw there. The artifact that I liked the most was a marble statue by Benzoni – “Veiled Rebecca”. You have to really see it to appreciate the beauty and the craftsmanship. The photographs cannot do justice to the poetry in marble. The veil is not of muslin but of marble and yet appaears as translucent as the muslin itself!
There were lots of rooms dedicated to dolls, Chinese artifacts, Indian artistry, jewelery and so on and one needs a lot more time than 4 hours to just see the whole place. To remember the details would need much longer!
After that we forced ourselves to get out of the museum and start towards the Golconda Fort. Seeing the fort we were quite awed by the size of the place. Other details were equally impressive. We hired a guide as it is quite pointless going to see such places without knowing as to what structure stands for what purpose. Also, a good guide brings a kind of adventurous feel to the whole sight seeing experience.
So there we were walking on the same paths as the sultans of the Bahmani and the Qutb Shahi dynasties would have done. We just misse them by more than 500 years!
The fort is situated on a hill and also has a small temple which was built by a ruler of the Kakatiya dynasty, much before the fort was built.
There were quite many impressive things to be noted about the fort. The acoustic system was so advanced that a clap from the bottom of the fort can be heard till the top, as also the whisper in one corner could be heard in the other corners of the room where the commoners waited for their turn to put their grievances before the sultan. The building itself is constructed with stone boulders put together by a crude kind of cement made of mud, lime and I don’t know what. However, the most impressive thing there was the system of pipelines for water supply. There was a place in between these pipelines going up, where as per the guide, a horse was made to drink the water before it could be allowed to be mixed with the water to be used by the royal household – poison check!. Then there was the place where the royal ladies and their guests used to swing on swings with rose water being filled in the pits for having a cool and aromatic breeze! Also, there was the place where the royal dancers stayed and performed.
After climbing down, we took a little rest there as we could anyways not have gone to the Qutb Shahi tombs, they being closed by 4 PM. I have also seen the forts of Agra and Delhi but felt that this was different and more ingenious.
Thereafter we moved towards the Birla temple and also decided to have a look at the planetorium. Then took a little ride around the Hussain Sagar Lake. After that we decided to call it a day and retired for the day after having some dinner at a restaurant near Paradise circle (You see, being a vegetarian, we did not have to taste the famous Hyderabadi Biryani 🙂 – the non-vegetarians would love it though).
The next day we had only one place to go – the Ramoji Film City. The place is huge and would need one full day even if you reach there at 9 AM – the place opens at that time.
Interesting place to see if you are a movie buff. It lets you see the reality of what you see in the movies. The bungalows, the railway platform, the airport, everything is there – just that nothing is for real – all made of plaster of paris. There are some structures which are permanent and some are created and destroyed as per the requirements of the movies. They have even built some structure similar to the Ellora caves! There is a Japanese garden too :-).
There are 2-3 big hotels also – and they are real – in case you want to spend the night.
Then there are some shows going on which you can see – one which shows a movie making experience, another in which you sit in a room while they create the scene of a blast making you feel the shaking, the glass shattering, free fall etc.
Also, there were performers dancing to the tunes of some english dance numbers while you are waiting for the shows.
Then we left the place after having some lunch there, as we had to catch the next train and start the next lap of the tour.
The things missed out were the famous Charminar market and the Hyderabadi pearls. May be some other time :-).
All in all, a good place to visit. We had a taxi to ourselves but can’t say how easy or difficult is it to go via public transport. But definitely, Hyderabad is an old but impressive city and must be on the itinerary if one is planning a trip to South India.