Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hyderabad - IV

I was sad that we had only 4 more days left in the trip and the last day was left to meet relatives, leaving us 3 days for 3 destinations. Hyderabad had been a great destination. There were so many things to see but we had narrowed down things to fit our list and now the most exciting destinations were awaiting us!!

Golkonda Fort
After Nehru Park, we wanted to go to HITEC City, but since it started raining in the morning, we decided to skip it and proceed to Golconda Fort, which our friend told, had some spectacular light show in evening. So we went to Golconda Fort. Golconda, long time ago (and I mean very long time ago, say 13th or 14th century) was ruled by Kakatiya Kings (very famous kingdom in AP) and followed by Qutub Kings who went ahead and built the fort to fight with others. It is one of the most famous archeological and historical sites in India. The Kakatiya kings first made it with mud and Qutub Kings later structured it with stone. It is a huge massive landscape offering amazing scenes to capture. What we see today is a conglomeration of walls (some of them broken too) in a closed curve format (I cannot define what shape it is actually..)

Golconda Fort, HyderabadWe entered through a gate called "Fatheh Darwaza". It turned out to be a pleasant evening after rain and I was expecting to smell a lot of rain soaked mud on hill top but to my dismay, I could not even stand near some of the walls, they stinked of bats, and that too so many of them.. (huh!!!). I remember distinctly, I held my breath for at least 2 minutes but still there was some sense left in receptors and that killed me (not literally!! it's just an expression to say it was terrible, but I was so damn angry - yesterday it was raw meat in the zoo and today bats..uhuh!!). Rain and the elevated terrain made the place really cool. 
Our guide was a young man who was seemingly uninterested in what he was doing. I gathered more information about the history in various inscriptions on the walls than what he told us.  I am not an architect and cannot describe the technicalities of the walls, but they were beautiful. 

Golcunda FortThe whole construction has science of sound in it because it was like, from the far corner, if someone claps, you can hear the claps in all the directions and notify the people of the dangers or warnings or anything else (you see there were no cell phones in those times and people had to rely on manual ideas of communications). The ammunition used in those times were put on display at short distances. I never liked the concept of using a cannon, they have these huge balls which, if hits someone, can break that person to 1000 pieces (talk about human rights violations!!).
Other than them, there were arrows, spears, swords, darts etc. all displayed with each one having a history of its own. Although it was a rainy day, there were many people who turned up to see the fort. There were a lot of gateways and bridges to connect various entrances of the fort. The fort also held religious places like mosques and temples. 
Taramati Mosque / Мечеть Taramati (01/11/2009)
And now we were entering a small museum sort of room which told the untold stories of diamond mining in Indian history. World's three most famous diamonds came from Golconda mines - the Koh-i-noor, Darya-e-noor and the Hope diamond. I could not believe it was already 90 minutes from the time we entered here. The whole place is actually just a historical site where you can walk and wander in to the walls, losing yourself to the older historical times, absorbing in their culture (at least for as long as you are there..). Then there are some selected corners of the fort, from where you can hear the echo of your voice (which enthralls everyone alike) and some corners which present you an excellent bird's eye view of Hyderabad. 

light and sound show GOLCONDA FORT by sabu mampallil kottayamThe final part was that of a light and sound show, waiting for dusk to scoop in and people were seated in red plastic chairs. The show was about the history of fort, the places where kings and queens lived. The narration was well synchronized with shades of  red, yellow, green and blue spot lights focusing on relevant sections of fort in all the directions.  
It was a good show and I am sure there would have been a lot of changes now and making the show more exciting. And finally, we exited the history and went home.
Cyber TowersOur next destination was the HITEC city and the adjoining Shilparamam. Sun was on and so were we. This is one of a very rare tourist spots of Hyderabad (or anywhere in India I suppose) where two such contrasting spots are next to each other. HITEC City is the IT center of Hyderabad and highly advanced part of city, with all glitz and glamor of IT world. The world class facilities of Microsoft, IBM, Infosys, Satyam, CTS, Motorola and many many more such companies have made Hyderabad, one of the biggest IT Hubs of India (as well as that of world).  Lying next to such a center is the village which preserves the ancient culture of the state, storing oldest artifacts, mannequins which show what the workers looked like in older times, preserving the very ethnicity of Hyderabad. While in early 2000s HITEC City was still in infancy, we did not have much to see around, other than brick colored buildings which were separated by the glass structure in between. The reflections of moving clouds on buildings were absolutely new to my eyes and was a delight to see. Moreover, this part of the city received special attention in the past few weeks, because president Bill Clinton was going to see this. The roads were immaculate, traffic was very well controlled and there were no street people (I mean vendors, beggars etc.) in the farthest sight. It did not take long there and we went ahead to Shilparamam.

This place is a nice little village, which is rich in culture and diversity. Arts, Crafts and related festivals make the place a feast to the art and culture lovers. One of the very unique gardens of city is the rock garden, where they have a collection of rocks that are shaped naturally like various structures of birds, boxes, clouds etc. It is indeed unique and one must go there, you might take a little while to decipher the subjects, but you do have descriptions engraved underneath. 
There is also a lake in the middle of the place (an artificial one I suppose) which has some boating and stuff.. I am never excited with the beauty of artificial lakes and so I did not care about that.. my sister definitely wanted to go for boating, but in the end we did not go (ha ha ha ha!!). Moving along we reached to another venue called as Rural village. This is a definite must place for the international people who carve to see the "villages of India", but cannot stand the dirt and pollution of actual villages. The life size models and their near-real expressions are a worth dekko.

 A good part about all these locations is that the administrators also provide you opportunities to host any events in these mutually exclusive places (for a fee of course). The near by-es of rural village was getting decorated for some event for that night and the whole of the "rural village" section was getting dressed in lights and other accessories. Shilparamam has something or the other to offer to everyone of varied ages and interests. Whether recreation, shopping, exclusive Andhra cuisine or simply an opportunity to sit peacefully sans the loudness of the exterior world - this place just hits the right notes. A must every time I will go to Hyderabad. 

Today wasn't too tiresome and we ended the tour with some great moments and an even more heavier heart than yesterday, the trip was coming to an end with just the old city left to see.