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India south Kerala

TRAVELOGUE SOUTH INDIA

 

  

  

 

 

 

 

HYDERABAD

25.2. 2017, travel book part I.

 

Why to go to Hyderabad

First of all, I wanted a simple way to get to Hampi and Hyderabad seemed like a good starting point. If I haven't visited Goa beaches on my previous journey, I would definitely skip Hyderabad and travel to Hampi after few days spent on a Palolem beach instead, see more in article 'What would I change about my itinerary'.

Hyderabad, [population 7 million, capital city of Andhra Pradesh] used to be a powerful city of Muslim dynasties, known for its trade of pearls and diamonds, today also known as a center of IT technology. The city's best-known landmark is Charminar mosque - shaped like a gate, there are gorgeous tombs of Qutb Shani dynasty and former royal residence Golconda Fort is also worth a visit.

 

How to get to Hyderabad

It was quite a challenge to find flight tickets to Hyderabad as all the airline portals showed me a high price. I was saved in the end by kiwi.com which offered me a flight for half price. Even though it was tickets of airlines that don't usually cooperate with each other and there was a catch as I was supposed to reclaim my baggage while I changed planes in Dubai, it wasn't such a big deal as there is no need to have a visa to Dubai anymore and I didn't carry any baggage that needed to be reclaimed, which meant I could save some money and continue with planning my journey.

I travelled to Dubai with flight company which successfully sold more flight tickets than they had seats on the plane. So at first, I was asked to move to first class only to be contacted right away and asked if I can postpone my flight till afternoon. It is a good idea to arrive to the airport early, as I wouldn’t want to be in the skin of the person who had to take the later flight. I got to Dubai, where they sent me from Connection Transfer Desk to terminal 1 to get my boarding pass with India Air. I had to explain to local officers that there is indeed an international airport in Hyderabad and that the piece of paper I got really is an electronic visa. As I was supposed to get to Hyderabad at 5:30 of local time [around 1 o'clock in the morning], I wanted to catch some sleep on the plane so I wouldn't be too tired. Unfortunately, my wish didn’t come true. First of all, they had to serve us hot meal [who eats at 2 o'clock in the morning?] and then I was disturbed three times by a passenger sitting next to me, whose dinner obviously didn't agree with him.

I stumbled out of the arrival hall in Hyderabad in the morning, all baffled and tired and I had to agree to an unfavorable exchange rate in the exchange bureau and very expensive taxi offers. Even though I tried to negotiate, I didn't have any other option than to accept the offer and get a taxi to Charminar for 800 INR [30 min, 25 km].

 

Acommodation tip

I didn't plan to stay long in Hyderabad [as there was no reason for it] and I was going to continue to Hampi in the evening. Therefore, my next bed would be on a night train.

 

My experience in Hyderabad

At seven o'clock the very same morning I was standing in front of Charminar mosque, which was built in 1591 by the ruler of Qutb Shani dynasty. Surrounding streets full of shops, which are usually crowded with people, were completely empty. I sat down on the curb and observed cleaners trying to get the whole place free from mountains of rubbish.

India Hyderabad

Morning in Hyderabad, in front of Mecca Masjid

The mosque is not available for public, so I walked around Charminar few times and kept looking at its four minarets that are 56 meters high.

India Hyderabad Charminar

Charminar

When I was finished admiring the beauty of Muslim architecture, I went to have a look at neighboring mosques Mecca Masjid. It is one of the biggest mosques and can take up to ten thousand believers. As the tension between Muslims and Hindus escalated into a bomb attack in 2007, I was asked to hand in my backpack and my camera at the entrance. I was allowed to keep my phone, as the bomb was hidden in a camera during the attack.

India Hyderabad Mecca Masjid

Mecca Masjid

After that I had a plan to visit Chowmahalla Palace, but because it was Saturday, it wasn't open till ten o'clock. And as Muslims don't work on Saturdays, all the shops with pearls and diamonds in Laad bazaar were closed. I went into a small restaurant for breakfast and thought about what to do next.

I couldn't think of anything better than to take a tuk tuk ride [200 INR] to Golconda Fort [200 INR]. Golconda Fort used to be a sultan's residence but as there was not enough water around, the rulers decided to leave the fort in 1590 and built the city of Hyderabad. The inside of the fort is surrounded by battlements on a 120-meter hill. I was still full of energy so I decided to climb the hill and have a look at the ruins from above and at the city nearby.

India Hyderabad Golconda Fort

Golconda Fort

Near Golconda Fort are tombs of Qutb Shahi dynasty [100 INR]. I found my tuk tuk driver in front of Golconda and because he didn't find anything else to do, he gave me a ride to the tombs for 40 INR. The tombs hide 7 out of 9 rulers of the dynasty and I was more than grateful for the shade they provided – so much, that I fell asleep sitting down for an hour under one of them.

India Hyderabad Qutb Shani

Hrobky Qutb Shani

After that I took a tuk tuk ride [200 INR] towards Birla Mandir temple. I was just in time for a lunch break, so I walked down the hill on the main street and went to find lunch for myself. After meal I found my way back up the hill through a narrow street full of tiny shops and when I got there in the end, all tired and hot, they asked me to hand in not only my backpack and camera but also my shoes and phone. The phone part was too much for me, so I thanked them and went back down the hill. Great.

The sleep deficit was really catching up with me at this point, so I took yet another tuk tuk ride [60 INR] to park Lumbini [20 INR] which is right beside Hussain Sagar lake. Right here I decided to make my camp in the grass and fell asleep. I woke up in the evening and found out that the park got crowded while I was sleeping. It became the spot for local families and a great place for dates of the young ones. I could see a statue of Buddha in the middle of the lake on a tiny island, and I also spent some time just watching groups of young Inds who played games and talked.

At nine o'clock that evening I took a tuk tuk ride [90 INR] and got to Nampally station. I only met about five tourists during the day, and none on the station.

And right away on that first day I realized, that south of India is completely different than what I experienced years ago in the north.

 

VISITED COUNTRIES

zeme 100

35

DAYS ON THE ROADS

dny 100

367

KM ON THE ROADS

km 100

42 770