Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hyderabad - Parks and gardens

The city of Hyderabad has various gardens and park, the most prominent being the Nehru Zoological Park, the Lumbini Gardens,  the NTR Gardens etc.

Nehru Zoological Park, one of the biggest zoos in India, was established in 1963 and named after the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Nehru. It is well-maintained and does not stink like the usual zoos of our country. It is spread over 380 acres and so it is advisable to go through the zoo by car to save time. Still it takes nearly 3-4 hours to go through all the sections of the zoo, but it is a must visit.

video

  This is a video of the Himalayan bear inside the zoo, which was walking up and down over the little stream of water inside its enclosure. It looked as if it was exercising!!

The zoo is closed on Mondays, so please keep that in mind while planning your itinerary.

Lumbini Park is situated on the banks of the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad. It lies opposite the NTR Gardens.  It is famous for the monolithic statue of Lord Buddha and the musical fountains. Every evening there is a laser show where the fountains dance to the tune of bollywood songs and the story of the city is projected on a screen of water from the fountains.  There are a number of eateries and a manmade waterfalls inside the Lumbini Park and also a jetty where one can take a boat ride to the Buddha statue. The boat ride takes about 10 minutes. One can purchase a combined ticket costing around Rs 85 to the laser show, the boat ride, the entrance to the Lumbini Park and also the NTR Gardens.

NTR Garden
Close to the Lumbini Park and the Hussain Sagar Lake lies the NTR Gardens built adjacent to the NTR Memorial. It is a well maintained garden consisting of cascading waterfalls, bonsai and desert gardens, along with various flowering shrubs and plants. Also has several eateries and shops selling different wares. A visit to the MESH outlet is recommended if not for the reasonably priced handmade bags, books, ornaments, and other accessories, then at least to support the noble cause of the organization.

Birla Mandir, Eat street and the Necklace Street are the other attractions near the Hussain Sagar Lake.

Recommendations: 
1. The famous biryani from Paradise which has numerous outlets across the city.
2. Spicy chicken 65 Andhra style from Hyderabad House.
3. If its Chinese, its got to be Aromas of China!!! The best Chinese food I have had in a long time!!!
4. The famous fruit biscuits from Karachi Bakery. We visited their Mozzamjahi outlet. It is open on all days except Sundays when it is open only from 2pm to 9pm. They have prepacked boxes of the biscuits costing Rs 200 for 900gm. The same boxes cost double the price at the airport!
5. Bargain!! Bargain!! Bargain!! From the rickshawallas to the pearl shops....bargaining is a must!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Granny square bag

A few of my latest creations
A granny square bag

Obverse side 
A mobile pouch with a waist hook
A multicoloured clutch


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hyderabad - Historical Monuments

The monuments of historical importance in  Hyderabad are Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Golkonda Fort, the Qutb Shahi Tombs, and the Chowmohalla Palace.

Charminar, one of the most famous historical structures in India, consisting of four minarets supported by four ornate arches. This was built by Sultan Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. It is said that the city was ravaged by plaque and this affected the economy of the place as foreign traders stopped coming to Hyderabad for trading. The Sultan is said to have prayed for the elimination of the plaque disease and vowed to build a mosque in commemoration of the end of the epidemic.

This monument is open to public on all days between 9 am to 5 pm except on Fridays when it is closed between 12:30 pm to 2 pm. One can climb the spiral stairway up to the first level which offers a panoramic view of the city.

Mecca Masjid, one of the oldest mosques of Hyderabad, so called because bricks were brought from Mecca to build this mosque. It is located at a stone's throw away from the Charminar and is closed to tourists on Friday.

Near the Charminar and the Mecca Masjid is the Laad Bazaar or the bangle market, dotted with innumerous shops selling exquisite bangles and pearls. DO NOT FORGET to bargain. Bargain hard and end up buying stuff at half their rates.

Note: Restaurants in the old city are closed for four days after Eid. We were looking forward to eating the authentic biryani in the old city but were amused when told that the restaurants are closed for four days following Eid as most households have large amounts of leftover biryani from the festival!!

Chowmohalla Palace, belonging to the Nizams of Hyderabad was modelled on the Shah of Iran's palace.

It is at walking distance from the Charminar. Consisting of various courtyards and gardens , it houses beautiful collections of crockery, arms and weapons, and antiques. The Nizam's throne room is  very beautifully adorned with numerous chandeliers.
Nizam's throne

A marble sculpture 
It takes about an hour to walk through the various rooms and courtyards of the palace.

Golkonda Fort

Golkonda Fort famous for its brilliant acoustics lies around 11 km from the city of Hyderabad. Built by the Hindu Kakatiya Kings, it later became the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until it was captured by Aurangazeb, the Mughal emperor. It is said that the fort stood strong against Aurangazeb for nine months until a treachery by one of the soldiers led to the fall of the fortress.  Though it is now in ruins, the brilliant acoustical system of the fort is still in place. A clap sounded at the grand portico or at the main gate can by heard at the top of the citadel which is around 300 feet high. Most of the rooms are built with diamond-shaped arcs in their walls which are responsible for the acoustics.

 This systems was used to alert guards at the top of the citadel through codes handclaps about any incoming guest, enemy, or the king himself. This acoustical system was used by the king to eavesdrop on his guests from the royal chambers. Even a whisper in a room downstairs was clearly audible in the king's chambers.  The acoustical system was also used by the females of the royal family to beckon their maids-in-waiting.

The fort is open to the public on all days from 9am to 5 pm. There is a sound and light show which takes place at the fort every evening at sunset. It is recommended to hire the services of a guide to understand the beauty of the ruins better.

Qutb Shahi Tombs
About a kilometer away from the Golkonda Fort, lies the Qutb Shahi Tombs, the tombs of the seven Qutb Shahi Kings except for the last one who had been captured by Aurangazeb. It is said that the Qutb Shahi rulers commissioned the building of their tombs when they ascended the throne so that they could be buried there after their deaths. So the tomb built for the seventh ruler lies empty.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hyderabad - the land of the Nizams, Pearls, and Biryanis

Last week we went on a short trip to Hyderabad, the capital city of Andra Pradesh, also famous for its pearls and biryanis. It was founded by Sultan Mohammed Quli of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty and it was named after Bhagmathi, his lady love. When Bhagmathi entered the Shahi family after marriage to Sultan Mohammed, she embraced Islam and took the name of Hyder Begum, and so the city was renamed as Hyderabad.

Hyderabad is a vast city and can be divided into the old city, the new city, and the Hitec city. The old city has all the historic places such as the Charminar, the Chowmohalla Palace, the Nizam's silver jubilee museum, the Mecca Masjid, the Salarjung Museum etc. The lanes are narrow and crowded. The new city consists of the Lumbini Gardens, the monolithic statue of Lord Buddha standing on an island in the Hussain Sagar Lake, the NTR Gardens etc.  The Hitec City is home to various software companies and is relatively the most recent part of the city. Other places of importance are the famous Golkonda Fort, the Ramoji Film City, Birla Mandir, and the Nehru Zoological Park.  I will elaborate on each of these places in detail in separate posts, as otherwise, this will be a lengthy post.




Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hello....

Hi Friends!! Its been a long time since my last post.  Been busy with the festival season and also took a short vacation to Hyderabad, the land of pearls, Nizams and biryani. Will post about that soon. Now for the latest in crochet creations.....I made these garlands with crochet flowers, leaves, and beads to adorn Lord Ganesha. I thought of adorning Lord Ganesha with my craft as a way of thanking Him for all His blessings on me and my family.
Will be back with my post on Hyderabad soon....till then keep safe, take care.

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