August 23, 2005

TWTWTW - Hyderabad Tour

That Was The Week That Was. Last week was the most happening, busy and enjoyable week I ever had in Hyderabad. My family was here for five days on a visit to Hyderabad. We toured the whole city and covered almost all the famous tourist destinations. I was having fever which would have become a show-stopper but I managed to carry on so that they made maximum of their available time here. The itinerary is below.

Day1. 18th AUG.

I had already decided to avail the standard tour packages from any of the travels for City Tour and Ramoji Film City tour. So today I decided to go the places which would not be covered by this tour i.e. Snow World and IMAX theatre. It was 12'O clock in the afternoon by the time we started from Madhapur. We first went for a visit to Hyderabad Central in Panjagutta, which is big shopping mall owned by the Pantaloon group. After that we went to Mangatrai Pearls and Jewels, again in Panjagutta junction. Mangatrais are the famous vendors of the Hyderabad pearls and also give a huge discount for corporate employees. My mother purchased some pearls and they gave us a 30% discount on the final price! The next planned destination was Snow world, but by this time I was feeling the grip of fever more, so we decided to drop the plan and went to IMAX instead. Prasads IMAX is the biggest multiplex theatre complex here in Hyderabad with five screens. After taking some snaps, we went for a walk to Necklace road near Hussain Sagar. An exhibition of agricultural products were happening there, which my parents found interesting. We returned to the room by 6'O clock in the evening.


I had gone to this place 4 days before, on 15th of August with my friends and had found the place boring. So the expectations were low and that may be the reason it was better this time. The place which is just a cluster of shooting locations has been converted to a tourist spot with few rides and all that. There is not much that you would find entertaining for a whole day. If you go by a tour package, the buses would start only after the closing ceremony at 5.30 pm. So you will have to find something or other to spent the day. We took photographs from all the possible places we could, especially the ones which we had seen in films like Darling Darling and Udayananu tharam. They have two tours inside the campus in the red buses you see in the film Udayananu Tharam. First one will take you through some of the shooting places like Taj Mahal, Golden Temple etc. I found the second tour more stupid. It will take you to a cave called "Kripalu". I doubt if the entire structure was carved out, though they claim it was found during some excavation work. Anyway they have done and are doing some sculpturing using cement and uses video projector to show a dancing sculpture, in which century do they think the tourists are from?. We started from the place at 5.30pm, after the closing ceremony. I think the visit would be more interesting if you plan it for half a day.

Day3. 20th AUG. CITY TOUR.

A day's tip through the famous tourist spots in the city. The Southern Travels bus for the tour picked us from Madhapur, but the tour was officially started from Birla Mandir at 9 O'clock. Then we went to Golconda Fort, there are about 300 steps to be climbed to reach the top of the fort from where you can see almost whole of the city. The Quli Qutub Shahi tombs also can be seen from there. Then we went to Salarjung Museum, from there the Mecca Masjid and Charminar which are ride-through, Sudha Car Museum and then to Nehru Zoological Park which was the last destination. Only one hour each was allowed at Golconda, Salarjung Museum and Zoo park due to which we could only have a glance of things. The time duration was obviously not enough but this helped to cover all these places in a single day.


My father was not happy that he could not see the Charminar and Masjid in detail, since both were ride through in the city tour package. He was also interested in shopping at the place. You have lots of jewelers and ladies item shops near Charminar. So after visiting my office at Hitec Sity we went to Charminar. I should say that we made a wise decision. The view of the Masjid was magnificent. The Charminar was an experience, the view from its top refreshing. Mecca Masjid was built using the sand from Mecca, I am not sure it is the story since my guide on previous day did not explain it well. We also bought some chains and all that from hawkers. Then we left to Secunderabad railway station where my brother was to catch the Chennai Express by 4.15.

My parents left the next day, on Monday. In all, the trip was memorable and I am happy that I can now leave this place without any regrets, at any time.

August 03, 2005

Water Water Everywhere But...

It was raining continuously for the last one week, here in Hyderabad. All the lakes, that are existing (including Durgam Cheruvu lake in Hitech City) or has become non existent by encroachments were full, unable to contain any more water. Newspapers carried photographs of submerged houses, and there was fear that the situation will get worse. But then the rains stopped and water began to recede.

The same however did not happen in Mumbai, India's industrial capital. Rains poured 94cms of water within 24 hours, beating the earlier high of 82cm in Chirapunji. The city choked, came to a complete halt with no power supply and dead telephones. People spent whole night in their offices or railway stations or even double-decker buses. I could read about the "spirit of Mumbaikars" in newspapers, which I came to know from friends working there.

It is raining heavily in Kerala for the last two days, flooding many of the places from Kotayam to Kannur including places in Palakkad which was drought hit one month ago. I do not know yet what is the situation today, and am wondering which place is the next target of monsoons?

The most astonishing fact had been the performance of Indian stock markets. It seems they have become resistant to all this, both NSE and BSE have been rising constantly for the last two weeks finding new all time peaks even though BSE stopped trading for a whole day due to the floods! As of today, this trend looks eternal!