Friday, September 15, 2006

Revisiting Hyderabad

Exactly one year has passed since the day when I came to this city. I stayed here all the time except for a few brief visits here and there. So why this "revisiting" thing? Actually my sister visited me in Hyderabad this week, and I traveled with her all over the city again. My one year’s worth of sightseeing (and more) condensed into four days. I even saw things which I had not seen before. Since we IT professionals here live mostly in a shell, working throughout the week and too tired to go out if we have no work on weekends, it seemed as if I was living in a separate world within Hyderabad. A world where we only know about software and coding and testing and projects. It was nice to visit the other Hyderabad for these four days.

And we saw a lot. I took my sister to Hussain Sagar, to the multimedia laser show in Lumbini Park, to Salar Jung and Charminar. When I had visited Salar Jung the first time, one year ago, I had formed this desire of revisiting it with my art-loving sister. Finally it was fulfilled. The laser show was something that I too saw for the first time. It was a nice new experience. We visited Birla Mandir in the afternoon, when the stone floor felt like an enormous frying pan to our bare feet. It was a memorable experience no doubt, but one that I would rather not have again. We visited Hitec City, which is very close to my apartment. We also saw Superman Returns in IMAX 3D. This was the first time that I saw a (partly) 3D movie in the IMAX. While the movie as a whole was not really up to my expectations, the special effects and the 3D scenes were good enough. After that we strolled along the necklace road, while munching on roasted maize and looking at distant lightning over the lake.

But the best part of our sightseeing was the visit to Golkonda fort on the last day. I had visited Golkonda once before, but did not have the time to climb all the way to the top. This time we went right up to the Baradari, 373 stone steps above the ground. The view of the city and the setting sun from the top was more than worth the climb. Then we spent an hour in the glorious past of Golkonda by watching the sound and light show before returning home.

These four days were remarkable, for although we were traveling from morning to night (and much of the time on foot), instead of getting tired I got wonderfully refreshed. And along with that, I rediscovered Hyderabad. I found that Hyderabad is not all Cyberabad. There is a part of the city that lies quite oblivious to the IT boom. There is the 440 year old Hussain Sagar, calm and serene as the Buddha statue in its middle. There is the Salar Jung, with its timeless treasures. There is the Charminar and the bangle market under it, exactly like that from times immemorial. And then there is Golkonda, where time has stopped moving long ago. We only need to open our eyes and see. We only need to spend some time to understand our history.

In the last one year, I went to Mumbai and Pune, just for traveling. But after this “revisit” to Hyderabad, I realized that I have much to see here. To quote Rabindranath Tagore:

Bohu din dhore, bohu krosh dure,
bohu byay kori, bohu desh ghure,
Dekhite giyachhi parbotmala, dekhite giyachhi sindhu,
Dekha hoy nai chokkhu meliya,
Ghar hote shudhu dui pa feliya,
Ekti dhaner shisher upore ekti shishir bindu.

Which can be roughly translated as:

I traveled miles, for many a year,
I spent a lot in lands afar,
I’ve gone to see the mountains, the oceans I’ve been to view.
But I haven’t seen with these eyes
Just two steps from my home lies
On a sheaf of paddy grain, a glistening drop of dew.

I’m not going to leave Hyderabad before I’m done with all the dewdrops around this place. There’s lot more to see. I have wasted the last one year, but I’ll not waste the next.


  1. I really loved this post specially because of the mention of the poem, my Maashi recites it to me often. Happy travelling and seeing Hyderabad :)

  2. @shreemoyee: I too love this poem. It was written by Rabindranath in Satyajit Ray's autograph book when the little Ray approached him for an autograph.
    Throughout the past week, I remembered this poem, and subsequently translated it so that I could post it here.

  3. hmmm next time in Hyderabad I should see all of these..

  4. Wah. Lovely poem there. Thanks for sharing it.

    Mind if I borrow it for my blog? :))

  5. @bidi-k: Inform me beforehand. If I'm here I'd like to meet you. :)

    @km: Not at all. A Tagore poem is public property. In fact I'd love it if more and more people become aware of this lovely poem.

  6. Informative writeup and good photos. I have always wanted to visit hyderabad because of its cyber city status.

  7. @hiren: Do visit. It's a beautiful city.

  8. read one of the first travel post.. i tried once, due to lack of knowledge, lost memories, and less expertise of blogging could really do a good job..

    with ur post, i think i will set a standard for my next travel blog. hopefully i will be able to put some good pieces together.

    all the best.. did u see areas like sultan bajar, chapal bajar? they r not historical, but thats real hyderabad.

    this IT boom is killing India and such old cities... we all dream of chicago and sydney. there is so much of treasure in our on backyard to explore.
    i have not yet seen Taj Mahal, Ladhak, Kashmir, Delhi, Kerala...
    but i had been to Sydney, Opera House, Empire state, NY, Chicago, Navy Pier, Theme parks in Florida.. kept my foot in Frankfurt airport... i hope i mentioned all
    but i m yet to explore india..

    wish u luck
    all the best

  9. @ken: No, I haven't been to Sultan Bazaar and Chappal Bazaar. And I have also not seen the Taj Mahal, Ladakh, Kashmir, Kerala. We Indians are very bad at selling things, and tourism needs to be sold. Search about tourism-related info about any place in India, and you hardly get anything (with the exception of Kerala probably). On the other hand, you try knowing the hotel rates in Sydney, or the travel agents in New York, and you have all the information in the world.
    There are places in india that are unmatched in beauty. But how many of these places do we actually know about? We know every little detail about US or Europe. My father has been to both Kashmir and Switzerland and he says the former is far more beautiful. But terrorism is killing Kashmir. Insurgency is killing the NE States. We need to market our tourist spots properly and make them safe and accessible to tourists. Only then more and more people will visit India, and come to know about our treasures.
    I really want to do a bit of exploring in South India, but I'm not finding the time. Let's see when I can manage that. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  10. Very true dear.. . problem is that nobody really does anything.. and we think that we as individual are too small to make a chg. irony of life. everybody thinks they cant do anything, and everybody expects others to do something.

    we had to wait for 150 years before M K Ghandhi arrived and reminded the simple facts of life. if I/we will not do it, nobody will do it.

    yesteday I read this beautiful quote from Steve Irwin, The first necessary thing for evil triumph is that good men do nothing.

    and no need to say thx for comments, i did becuase i wanted to and i felt it. :D :D :D

    how did u came to know that it was me?

  11. the places i mentioned r not tourist place.. they are jas areas of Hyd old city.. but u can stroll around to get the feel of it, u may able to see in time, how they must have been in those olden days.
    sultan bazar is near osmania gals college, chapal bazar is near to that.. u can go to abids, and then from there go towards koti... in fact the places around salarjung muesum are all like that.

  12. Hello Sugata, Is the translation of the Tagore poem by you? I like this translation over all the others I've come across. If you are the one who translated this...please allow me to use this on the header of my blog which is on travel and wildlife photography in India. Please write to me at


  13. @Bikramadittya: Thanks for your kind words. That translation is indeed by me. Translating Tagore poems to English keeping the original rhyme intact is one of my many hobbies. Photography is another. So you are welcome to use that poem in your blog header, just that I would be happy if you mention that fact somewhere or provide a link to my blog.

    You can see some of the photos taken by me here.

  14. Thanks a lot Sugata. It's a bonus to know that you are a photographer as well. I have visited your photoblog and you are really a wonderful photographer. I'll send you the link once the blog is edited and re published. I don't have any website through which I can show you my photography, but you can find me on facebook.


  15. Interesting article, added his blog to Favorites

  16. amazing translation and blog...I found this picture on the net and the quotation reminded me of the Tagore poem and I was looking for a suitable translation, which I found here. Brilliant job..

  17. Beautiful... <3 the poem! Have been thinking of using it in my travelogue as well the translation is very very well thought of. Permit me to use it with credits please...

  18. @Ananrita: Sure, you are welcome to use it with credits. :)

  19. Good post. Thanks for sharing. The plethora of numerous delightful places to visit in Hyderabad ensure that travellers return with a lifetime of memories once they check out these different Hyderabad places to visit. Whether it’s a tranquil boat ride on the Hussain Sagar Lake, feeling the pulse of the city from atop Charminar, or hearing the echo of a bygone era at Golconda Fort - the different attractions are as numerous as they are diverse. Just a handful of the other Hyderabad tourist places include Mecca Masjid, Sudha Cars Museum, St Mary’s Church, and Lumbini Park. Check out all best Hyderabad places to visit also.