Hyderabad - A city steeped in History

By Abhay Bakshi, Mumbai, INDIA

Hyderabad was the largest state during the British rule. In 1937 the Nizam was declared the richest man in the world by Time.

I visited Hyderabad in July 2011. My visit primarily was to see the "Treasures of Ancient China" at the Salar Jung Museum. The same exhibition was in Mumbai for 2 months but I had missed it. Salar Jung Museum is an impressive and had an imposing building. The spotless white paint , manicured lawns and well pruned plants were proof that the museum was well looked after. I was impressed at cleanliness within the museum too. The exhibits are very well displayed and explained. One can easily do without a guide. A museum enthusiast could easily spend a full day without being bored. The museum director Mr. Nagender Reddy must be complimented for doing his job well... actually very well. Now for the cons: The cafe is a bit expensive as the portions served are quite small. It has a very limited menu than what is actually printed on the walls. Many stalls are unattended. The clock which strikes the hour is a complete letdown and not worth waiting for. One can get lost as the rooms are in a semicircular pattern. (Salar Jung was not built for a museum). It is advisable to take some time and understand the layout of the rooms.

The other must-see museums are the AP State museum (officially the Dr. YSR Reddy museum) near Nampally railway station. Try to meet Venketash if he is still around. A very helpful employee who will guide you as to how to see the museum. Do not forget to see the red toenail of the Egyptian mummy.

The Purani Haveli Museum of the Nizam is also worth a visit. You will be astonised at the valuable gifts the last Nizam received at the Silver Jubilee of his accession to the throne. This museum is devoted to that!!

Charminar can be seen from the outside. Do not waste time to go up a very, very, very claustrophobic and long, winding staircase, unles you want to photograph the city. Close to Charminar is the Makkah Masjid. A truly majestic structure for its sheer size. The tombs of the royal family are located on the left within the Masjid.

Falaknuma is closed to the public as it is a Taj Group hotel. Do not even try to bluff your way inside. You cannot see the Falaknama Palace from the outside as it is located on a hill.

The best that Hyderabad has to offer is the Chowmahallah Palace. I will not describe it here. It is fabulous and breathtaking. Minimum three hours.

I could not see the Golconda fort and Qutb Shahi tombs.

Bargain hard with autorichshaw drivers. Usually they come down by 30%.

Karachi Bakery for biscuits and other baked items.

Santosh Dhaba at Abids for quick, very delicious and reasonably priced vegetarian meals.

This is my third visit to the city and definitely not my last.

Abhay Bakshi
Mumbai - INDIA

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