Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Hyderabad blues!

We just returned from our tour of the Pearl City of Hyderabad and during the last week ... we've been soaking up some Hyderabadi sunshine as well as getting soaked in the off and on rain that has been lashing the capital city of Telangana. However that did not deter us from discovering the city in our own unhurried way.... savouring each and every moment ... amidst the numerous tantrums, tussles, tardiness and toilet breaks of our kids.. ..:-) 

Starting from the best known icon of Hyderabad, the "Charminar" and the bustling old city to experiencing the grandeur of Nizam at the Chowmahal palace and it's various mahals housing some exquisite remnants of British India's most important princely State, from exploring the world famous Salar Jung museum through a guided audio tour to climbing atop the colossal Golkonda fort during the day and witnessing it's illuminated ramparts take us through a thousand years of history vide the spectacular light and sound show in the evening...we were on a roll! While squeezing in a few usual touristy hot spots like Birla mandir in pristine white or the Hussain Sagar lake with the Buddha statue in various evening hues, NTR gardens with it's noisy children's adventure rides, we also managed to stop at the lesser known Qutub Shahi tombs heritage park, browze through one it's quaint little independent bookstores, go bangle shopping at the Laad Bazaar,  sip the Hyderbadi chai and chomp on the mouth watering baked delicacies of its Karachi bakery and shop at the jaw dropping market place of Hyderabad's most recent MNC retail acquisition - IKEA... which was a throwback to our days in the US. Just as we thought we would end our trip with a big bang visit to the Ramoji Film city with it's sprawling gardens, gigantic film sets, including it's latest attraction, the Bahubali film set and it's evening carnival extravaganza, it was however destined that we stay in the city of Nawabs a little longer owing to a last minute cancellation of our flight which in fact proved to be a blessing in disguise allowing us (read me) to go on a shopping spree at Hyderabad's vibrant crafts Bazaar..... Shilparamam! In all, we came back refreshed....carrying a bagful of shopping, a potpourri of experiences and a cartload of memories!! 

No trip of ours is complete without a visit to a local independent bookstore and thanks to the recommendation of an erstwhile-Bangalorean-now-turned-Hyderabadi friend of mine, we stopped by Akshara Books while on our sight seeing tour. Nestled in a quiet part of the Jubilee hills area, Akshara books is how a bookstore should be...a charming little sanctuary of books, its set-up offering a sense of tranquility goading you to immediately curl  up with one of the books from its impressive collection. "Akshara Books" also houses a sizeable collection of children's books ranging from the board books and picture books from foreign publications to many home-grown publications like Tulika, Pratham, Katha and Karadi tales, etc. 

As I was looking out for a children's book on Hyderabad, the friendly co-owner, Ms. Kavitha guided us through the bookshelves and helped us find "Off to Telangana", a part of 'Discover India' State by State series by Sonia Mehta, brought out by Penguin Publications. Narrated from the perspective of the brother sister duo, Mishki and Pushka who set off on an adventure with Daadu Dolma discovering Telangana, with Hyderabad being its Kohinoor in the crown! A comprehensive travelogue for kids aged eight and above,  the 'Discover India' throws light on the history, geography, language and culture of the State in focus accompanied with fun facts, puzzle and games. "Off to Telanagana" turned into our ideal tour guide at Hyderabad, acquainting us with Hyderabad's magnificent mosques and tombs, palace perfections, its Telugu and Hyderabadi cuisine, Telengana's famous festivals, and many of Telangana's accomplished personalities, all presented in an engaging format replete with catchy phrases, fun and interesting games and activities for the young readers to go on their own little expedition....just like we did and thoroughly enjoyed the land of the Sunrisers!!!  


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