Our trip to Hyderabad, India was indeed another eye-opener, apart from somewhat being back to my roots for me! As usual, it was another conference for the Mister and another enriching experience for myself.

We arrived in the wee hours of the morning, after a really long flight from Toronto. I decided to get my visa done upon arrival and that took a bit more time before we could be on our way to the hotel.

As we made our way to the hotel from the airport, we experienced the really dark and what seemed like vast roads and the streets looked quite decent. When daylight hit, we were still dead beat from the flight and when we finally got out of the hotel later in the day, it came to realization that what we experienced upon arrival was actually like the ‘calm before the storm’ for us to a certain extent!

Our hotel room at the Westin

The roads were busy, continuous heavy traffic, never ending honking, people trying to cross the roads and the list goes on. If anyone were to ask me anything about Indian Roads, my description of it would be,” On Indian roads, people drive the way they walk” Well, yes, if you wanna ever reach your destination, “walk” your car – the existence of a two way street is probably just for formality of having a physical road. Vehicles were actually going and coming in and from all directions. “Autos” or three-wheeled vehicles are very widely used in Hyderabad.

Our very own “Auto”

Nevertheless, despite all the many commotions we experienced on the roads, it was still a very enriching experience for me. From the people, to the food, shops, culture, environment, buildings….. Just too many to name, there was always something new to see each day.

Due to previous security scares / issues, each time we entered a building, we had to go through security screening, just like what we have to go through at the airports, minus the removing of laptops / electronic equipment though. Well, as the saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry…”

One of the amazing places of interest was the old town area, also known as Charminar. The Charminar (Four towers) is a symbol of Hyderabad. With a beautiful ancient architecture, The Charminar stands out in one of the the busiest areas in Hyderabad. The Charminar is believed to have been built by the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty, Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah.

The Charminar

Also, situated in the Charminar area, is Makkah Masjid, which has beautiful architecture of its own. It is said that the central arch of the mosque has been made from bricks made from the soil of Makkah (holiest site of Islam). The tombs of the Asaf Jahi rulers can be seen near the entrance of the Makkah Masjid.

Makkah Masjid

Tombs at the entrance of Makkah Masjid

In the vicinity of Makkah Masjid

The Qutub Shahi Tombs is yet another area full of ancient architecture which is simply breathtaking.

One of the Tombs at Qutub Shahi Tombs

Foodwise, Hyderabad is the land of Briyanis! Very delicious Briyanis are served here, literally known as Hyderabadi Briyani. It has a taste of its own, simple, not too full of spice like the usual Indian Briyanis, just yummy! One of the best places for Hyderabadi Briyani was Paradise food court – tastes like Paradise indeed! Other types of food we had include Dosas, Vadais, Idlis, Bondhas, Murukus, various Chais, Lassis; again, too many to mention. The Mister was one happy soul, looking at the spread and choices we had each time meal time came!

Hyderabadi Briyani at Paradise Foodcourt

Enjoying my Irani Chai & Usmani biscuit, specially served in the car by our driver

Hyderabad is also known for its bangles. We were lucky to have been brought to a small but well stocked bangle shop by one of the hotel drivers. I was of course spoilt for choices but I did make up my mind eventually 🙂

Bangles used as decor on a wall in a restaurant

A bangle-maker outside the restaurant, free bangle after each meal

The people in Hyderabad were rather friendly, apart from the constant stares they tend to give – more of harmless stares of curiosity. One very heart breaking moment was to see young kids and haggard looking adults walking around, knocking on our car windows, asking for donations. Everytime, we were at a busy traffic light, when the car came to a halt, there was sure at least one knock on our window from either a very young child, barely 6 years old or very poorly dressed adult females or the elderly. On many occasions, I was left at a lost for words and can’t help but wonder on further about their backgrounds. I can only pray to god to protect them.

A glimpse of the roads of Hyderabad – Spot the ‘autos’ or three wheeled vehicles

In all, visiting Hyderabad was a very enjoyable, eye opening trip, which definitely made me treasure the simplicities of life even more. Indeed, India is the land for all seasons. Rain or shine, there’s always something to look forward to each day, always something new to discover, amazingly awesome, au revoir!

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