South Tour: Hyderabad – A place for capturing the moment

16 Nov

A view of Hyderabad from the Golkunda Fort

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad is a nice, modern city that presents a nice mixture of the old and new. The roads were well-paved, the traffic moved well, a new mall we visited was exquisitely grandiose, and a few of the sidewalks were actually used for walking.

After checking in and having breakfast at our hotel, we bussed to the Salar Jung Museum – comparable to Chicago’s Art Institute in scope and variety. Museums and tourism attractions in India often charge different rates for foreigners than for Indian citizens. Employees usually distinguish the two groups with a simple test: looking at them. Thus a few of us only had to pay Rs. 10 to enter, whereas the rest of us paid the full price, despite our Indian student IDs.

(When future locations charged two separate entry fees, we decided to remedy the imbalance by totaling the cost for our group and dividing the cost evenly among us. Nonetheless, the practice of charging foreigners extra irked us all.)

For some reason, I was under the impression that Hyderabadis would be used to foreigners. But at every location we visited today, people gawked. Some tried discreetly taking pictures of us. Others put themselves in our own photo shoots. Throughout the day, it was impossible not to stand out.

What we saw, however, more than made up for the attention we received.

The view from the Golkunda Fort was among the most spectacular I’d ever seen. Although the light show we saw after dark was underwhelming, the pictures from this afternoon stand for themselves. Only Sinhagad – a fort I visited in Pune in August – comes close to the view from the top of Golkunda.

Besides the museum, we also visited a temple in the morning which gave us a spectacular view of the city. Sadly, cameras were not allowed inside.

Our sightseeing was capped this evening with a short boat ride in Husain Sagar Lake to a statue of Buddha. Even more impressive than its sheer size was the fact it was carved out of one piece of stone.

My 256 KB memory card will soon be full, on account of the many pictures I took today. There was a lot to see.

17 Nov

The capital of Tollywood cinema seemed to take a lot of cues from another “-ollywood.”

HYDERABAD-CHENNAI: I’ve spent the last 20 minutes or so just looking out the window.

As the train rolls along at about 50 miles an hour, the cool November breeze whips across my face, and one field after another presents itself beyond the paneless window. It’s a nice contrast to the hectic day we had today.

The Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad left me feeling half movie star, half paparazzi. South India’s Hollywood was reminiscent of Southern California in more ways than the Hollywood sign placed amidst bushes high above the city (for which Nikolas’ [Germany] plan to climb up and take a picture failed). The palm trees, balmy weather and American pop music made me forget several times which -ollywood I was visiting.

And there were more pictures today. Many of them. We saw beautifully maintained gardens and two or three shows, watched Jakob [Germany] and Dascha [Oregon, USA] star in a “movie” they weren’t told they were in, went on three carnival rides for the first time in India and drove to the train station having spent a nice day together, our memory cards much fuller than our stomachs.

As for our train ride, I haven’t missed having AC or closed windows. In fact, I’d argue the wind makes it more comfortable than the first Indian train ride I took from Pune to Nagpur earlier this year. 13 of us crammed into a compartment for six people and had a “dance” “party” much to the chagrin of the nearby passengers. We also shared a lot of food. The Rotary kids are awesome – all 18 of us.

I’m going to sleep now –

– Actually no, I didn’t. This train is not a very good place to sleep.


Click to enlarge


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One Response to “South Tour: Hyderabad – A place for capturing the moment”

  1. John Says:

    Great pictures , great writing , ty chris 🙂

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