Is it the evenings, when colourful paper kites dot the sky keeping company with their avian counterparts, both enjoying the evening breeze? Is it the skyline of the old city, dotted with minarets and curvy domes, all lit up and awash in the pink glow of the setting sun? Is it the tangy food loaded with tamarind and spice, and so full of flavour that even a humble dal is transformed into a meal fit for a prince? Is it the people, subservient yet shrewd, who put you in your place with a few well-chosen words, but where even the poor welcome you into their homes with a smile and a cup of tea? Or is it an ancient yearning of the soul to return to where it sprung from?
Whatever it is, every time I visit I am reminded about how fortunate I am to belong to this beautiful part of the world.
Here are some pictures
The kids were with me and so we paid the famous Charminar a much over-due visit and they simply loved it! One little boy was especially enthralled by the story of the secret underground tunnel that was an escape route for the kings, in case the lofty Charminar was attacked by enemies. Thrilling stuff 🙂
The left bank of the river Musi (which is sadly now a dirty big drain) is still a lovely place to walk. This was quite early in the morning, so there is little traffic.
My morning jaunt took me to Patharghatti – the thoroughfare of the old city – and I saw people selling stuff that one would think no one had any use for. Ever. But to my surprise, not only were these vendors (mostly older men) all set up and waiting, but passersby actually took an interest in the myriad pieces of junk that were on display. These new and shiny locks were the rare exception to all the other really old bits and bobs being sold.
On sale are teething pendants which are famously made in Hyderabad. They are called the Tlismi moti and are supposed to ward off the pain and discomfort of teething. But I have never seen them sold like this before. And as you can see the seller is all dressed up like a fakir or a baba to add to the authenticity of his product.
Here is someone who had set up shop at 7 in the morning to blow up deflated footballs. And of course someone was actually getting a football pumped up after all. These guys know what they’re doing.
Some very beat up watches (all 30 of them) getting the look-over by a prospective customer.
This little fellow didn’t seem to want to part with his shiny treasures.
With apologies to the vegetarians, but here is my favourite dish of Nihari (made with lamb bones and tongue and eaten with square loaves of bread called shermal) being cooked in a big pot, ready to be taken away and eaten for breakfast. Yum.
One most move with the times. So now the traditional water dispensing stalls (sabeel) put up all over this area during Mohurram – where water is free to drink in the name of Imam Hussain, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Mohammed who died thirsty – now use mineral water dispensers and not the round earthen pots that used to be the norm.
The local barber hard at work while his customers catch up on the morning news.
Oh Hyderabad, how I love you. Till we meet again.