Another business trip to one of India's most evocative cities, a fine blend of ancient monuments and modern landmarks. This time round, unlike the prior purposeful road voyages, it proved more of a leisure visit...with no regrets of course!
Gateway to the city
Filth and fumes galore
Being a Mumbaikar at heart, have no reason to complain but arrogant and fraudster rickshaw drivers and dirty pavements infested with drug addicts make the ordeal rather scary - steer clear of auto rickshaws - either drive yourself or prefer cabs when in Hyderabad:
Vintage Karachi bakery (the mirror image of Pakistan's Bombay Stores) - not just biscuits, try their milk mysore pak and kaju katli - out of this world:
This property won't make Bombay House legends proud (certainly not Ajit Kerkar, the architect of the Indian Hotels transformation) - what with a filthy adjoining lake, ridiculous access road and poorly equipped toilets (no water outlet on the toilet floor leads to frequent water clogging and the slippery floor could gift you with a fracture any moment)
Having said that, the genuinely friendly staff of this place, excellent food and vintage ambience make your stay memorable. Just few words of genuine warmth and they drop their five star poise and unwind to glory! Priyanka of reception was very proactive and did her best to make us feel comfortable. God bless her!
Manan from travel desk, Suresh from housekeeping, Ruby from reception (one of India's very few ladies manning - rather 'womanning' - the early morning reception desk) and a bespectacled gentleman from Shayne's team - we could not capture them in clicks, but their fond memories would stay with us forever...
Highly efficient F & B team: Navya, Shayne, Chowdhary and Sachida
Sandhya - makes the world's best masala omelette
Smiling Security guards
Our God sent friends from the travel desk - Keshav sir and Narasimha sir provided us with minute details of Raichur Road and blessed us with Tirupati prasadam
Timeless Telephone in the lobby area
Soumalya (originally from Hoogly), Abhishek, Priyanka (a proud Bhopali at heart) and Payal (native of Chandigarh) from the reception desk
Iqbal from Artisan - the Pearl shop
Sweet but not short
Chinese fried rice and noodles redefined
Ram babu - the tall and handsome security guard
Our city tour Saarthi Mohd. Aziz bhai
Md. Azam bhai - our cheerful friend from the restaurant team
Al Rasasi - attar shop
Attar-smeared hospitality - we bought a small bottle only worth Rs. 200 but the three musketeers extended a 24-carat welcome - speaks volumes of the Hyderabad hospitality
Wedding cars on hire
Enlightening Landmarks :
Lumbini Park, Chowmala Palace, Salarjung Museum, Charminar, Birla temple, Hussain Sagar, City college, Osmania Hospital
Fag end blunders
Having suffered the wrath of the rough, under-construction road on the Solapur-Hyderabad highway, we decided to try out the Hyderabad - Jadcherla - Raichur - Lingsugur - Hungund - Bagalkot - Belgavi route on our return journey (profusely advertised on many travel sites as a great alternative stretch to reach NH 4). It proved a mega blunder given the horror of horrors the route happens to be. Countless speed breakers (Karnataka loves them but they do nothing to make your travel safe, instead end up doing the exact opposite), errant pedestrians, mad motorists, suicide-inclined bikers, raging bulls and adamant cows, corrupt cops, lavish village fairs right in the middle of the highway: all that can go wrong does go wrong here. And unlike what googlers tell you, this route is not a simple "move from one place to the next" trail, there are many confusing detours and exits esp. en route Lingsugur and Bagalkot sections.
But like every cloud has a silver lining, even the roughest of roads spares a greener pasture - for us, it was the sight of the ancient Mudgal fort, 10 miles south-west of Lingsugur. This is an enchanting fort with several inscriptions of Seuna Yadavas from Devagiri... Remembered my archaeologist dad and his frequent meaty discourses on the art, architecture and archives of so many little known places in India. I am sure he must have visited this fort during one of his official 'Nehru Centre' tours. The sleepy town is known for its historical heritage and communal harmony - both sorely missing now. Pity we couldn't afford to spend quality time here.