The overnight train journey from Bangalore to Hyderabad was very comfortable but you don’t get good dinner in the train. So it is advisable to carry dinner with you.
With so much of hype about the city, the first impression about the city as you set foot on it – it is over crowed. There is no traffic sense at all. Vehicles use every inch of space on the road. It is free way for all. If you can drive in Hyderabad, you can drive any where in India. I still don’t understand how pedestrians cross the roads. There are no pedestrian crossings and traffic won’t stop at all for you. The first day we had to hire an auto to cross the road. By the end of 5th day, we could master the art of crossing the road. In fact it was quite simple. The trick is to signal the approaching vehicles to slow down with your hand and you criss cross your way in between the moving vehicles to reach the other side of the road.
Spitting city – the second impression I got about the city is – it is very filthy. There is no civic sense amongst public at all. What you see around is filth and garbage. It is a common sight to see people opening the door of Mercs at the traffic signal to spit on the road.
Shopping experience – it may be a shopping paradise but our shopping experience was different. Shop keepers are not courteous especially the saree shops. They don’t like if you want to unwrap the saree, admire it and then buy; they want you to buy first and then unwrap at home. Perhaps we are pampered shoppers in Mysore. Here they not only open the pieces fully and show but drape and model it for you also. They want you to admire the piece even if you don’t end up buying anything. As far as pampering the shoppers is concerned , Punjab and Delhi are one step ahead , as you start showing serious interest in their products, out will go the call ‘ Chootu jara thanda lana madam ke leye’ . Ultimately you end up buying more than you require.
If you are on pearl shopping, make sure you get 35% discount. It is a common practice more so in big stores. Just take out your visiting card and avail 35% but you don’t get unless you ask for it.
Hyderabadi biryani– It is simply superb. So much talk about Hyderabadi biryani, it is much better than that. You are really missing out on something if you are a vegetarian in Hyderabad. Three best places for biryani- Paradise, Bawarchi and Bahar. Paradise’s one day business is Rs 10 lakh and there is one floor dedicated to take away. There is no match to Hyderabadi Biryani.
Salarjung museum– I had read about tourist attractions of Hyderabad in my history book in 7th standard, more than twenty five years later my sons read about the same attractions. Alas they are not attractive any more. People recommended us to spend at least a day in the museum; we visited all the rooms in the museums and finished it in 90 minutes. The artifacts and collections are marvelous but our experience would have been better if things were little more organized there. There are no direction boards or arrow marks so you don’t know how much you have seen and how much is yet to be seen. We were keen on seeing Nizam’s jewelry but that section was closed. We were informed by one security guard that there are 46 rooms.
Charminar– anybody who goes to Hyderabad will not come back without visiting the historic monument so why make an effort to maintain the place? As you climb it, dirty walls with graffiti all over welcome you to make sure that you go back totally disappointed. So if you have not visited charminar you have not missed anything. Life is cheap in India. In spite of so much talk about security measures, this place has an unsecured fence. No metal detectors, no frisking by security guards.
Lad bazaar– it is a bangle bazaar with bangles of all varieties and colors but you will be looted if you don’t know the art of bargaining. If you have the patience to haggle, you can get 50 % bargains.
Banjara & Jubli hills area is totally different from rest of the city. It is cleaner, better roads, less traffic. Your impression about Hyderabad depends on which area you visit. Since we visited Secunderabad first, our first impression of this city was – filthy city. Even the residents are confused about the concept of twin city, you don’t know where one city ends and where another begins and how they are divided. Don’t bother too much just ask someone and go on. But whatever you do, don’t miss the biryani.
I would like to visit Hyderabad again for two reasons; I could not visit Ramoji film city and another of course for Biryani…more is still less.