All posts tagged: India

view of the chowmahalla palace grounds

Chowmahalla Palace Museum Hyderabad

Amid a chaotic market square where the majestic Charminar towers over the passersby, you will find a place of peace and enchantment just around the corner at the Chowmahalla Palace grounds. This erstwhile palace of the Nizams is now a museum housing artefacts that houses a collection of photographs, pottery, clothes, furniture, manuscripts, and currency from the Nizam Era. The collection of vintage cars is the highlight of the tour. The name Chowmahalla refers to four palaces. The complex originally covered 45 acres, out of which only 12 remains the palace grounds today. The Chowmohalla Palace complex is said to be a replica of Shah’s Palace in Teheran, Iran. The well-maintained elegant palaces with their courtyards and fountains offer a respite from the city’s hustle-bustle. The Southern Courtyard is the oldest part of the complex and comprises four palaces, namely Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, and Aftab Mahal. The Northern Courtyard has the Bara Imam, a long corridor that once served as the administrative wing.  The heart of the palace is the Khilwat Mubarak …

woman looking at the paintings gallery at salar jung museum hyderabad

Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad

Do you love museums? I like them enough to visit a few once in a while. I like it even more if there’s an explanation of how things came to be and their significance.  I had visited Salar Jung Museum over twenty years ago and had a vague memory of it. In our quest to re-explore the city, we revisited this cultural and historical landmark. Local Tourism It has taken a global pandemic for us to explore local sights in more detail. It shouldn’t have. Instead of lazing around every weekend, or getting tied up with chores, make time to explore the city you’re in. Take a break once in a while. You’ll be duly rewarded, especially in a city like Hyderabad that has so many landmarks, nature spots, monuments, and ruins. You’ll never fall short of things to do. Salar Jung Museum The Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad is considered to be the third biggest museum in the country. It was established in 1951 and now houses the largest ‘ one-person collection’ in the entire …

city park

Parks in Hyderabad – Part 1

Aren’t you tired of staying indoors already? Malls and restaurants are passé. Go for a breath of fresh air to one of the many parks Hyderabad has to offer. This list of Hyderabad parks is just the first instalment of the list of parks in Hyderabad that you should visit. Many more will follow. KBR Park Jubillee Hills Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, or KBR for short, has been a walker’s paradise for decades. The city’s green lung is a major contributing factor to the area’s cleaner air quality. There is an entry fee, but you also have the option to walk the periphery of the park for free.  The uneven terrain gives you a good workout, and you’ll find plenty of people taking advantage of this facility. Cycles are not allowed inside the park. Kids can cycle on the outside path if they are careful not to bump into all the walkers. You’ll also be greeted by peacocks strutting along with the rest of the crowds. However, their plumage has been exploited by people looking …

Buddha mural surrounded by plants

Weekend Stay in Hyderabad: Palm Exotica

As the world is slowly starting to open up, we have also started to move beyond the walls of our home – cautiously of course. We’re still not venturing outside the city limits and not using public transport. That leaves us with a few places we can go to over weekends. We had been to Palm Exotica pre-pandemic and had liked the open atmosphere. Although there wasn’t anything new this time, it felt good to be out and about. Since we went on a weekday, there were hardly any other guests apart from us. The benefits of work from home extends to work from anywhere you like! Our luggage and us got a sanitising spray while we checked in at the reception. The short walk to our rooms was beautiful with the pathway flanked by greenery on both sides. The fresh air and quiet ambience meant we could hear the chirping of a variety of birds. Our rooms were clean and spacious. We had an issue with the geyser not working but it was soon …

Child sitting in the decorative niche of a wall with the japanese pagoda behind him

Ramoji Film City

I remember visiting Ramoji Film City over 20 years ago. It was a novelty then – new swanky restaurants and all the movie sets were a great pull. Over the years, the charm has faded a little bit, but in times of local travels, we thought, why not take a weekend break here. At least the green spaces around will be a welcome change. We booked ourselves for a night at Sitara. We were informed that many of the usual attractions like the adventure park and butterfly garden were closed post-COVID lockdown. One tour was available that covered the garden areas, the bird park, and the highlight of the City at the moment – the Bahubali set. Things to do at Ramoji Film City Private vehicles are not allowed to drive on the premises. We had to park our car at the hotel parking bay. Instead, you need to book an in-house tour bus tour or just walk around.  They have two tours – one in the afternoon and another in the evening. We took …

2 of the Qutub shahi tombs with blue skies above and lush greenery all around

Qutub Shahi Tombs

Sometimes you take things closest to you for granted. It’s true not only for relationships but also for travels. We were always so busy planning for our next out-of-city travels that we had utterly ignored the varied and rich heritage of the city we live in. We had visited some of the city’s more famous landmarks – the Golconda Fort, Salar Jung Museum, Chowmahalla Palace, Charminar, etc. but hadn’t been to the Qutub Shahi Tombs that were quite close to where we live. I had expected to find some dilapidated old ruins but was pleasantly surprised at the well-maintained oasis I found.  We hired a tour guide who offered us his services at the entrance. He gave us a detailed history of the cluster of seven tombs. To show us the acoustics in one of the domes, he gave us a beautiful prayer rendition that echoed through the chambers. The tombs were once furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. Copies of the Quran were kept on pedestals and readers recited verses …

View of Bhongir fort monolith rock surrounded by greenery

Bhongir Fort Day Trip

Hyderabad has a few hidden gems for those who love to explore local travel spots. Since we haven’t been travelling for the last two years, we’ve had time to look around and unravel some great spots for day and weekend trips. Bhongir Fort, about 45km away from Hyderabad, is one such place. Beware though, it’s not for everyone since it involves a fair bit of a climb. The refurbished Yadadri Temple is just 10 km from Bhongir town so combining the two places is a good idea. The roads are excellent throughout. The weather in early September was pleasant, which combined with smooth roads and greenery all the way to the fort made for an awesome drive. Bhongir Fort History The Bhongir Fort was built in the 10th century on an isolated monolithic rock by the Western Chalukya ruler Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya IV. It was named Tribhuvanagiri after him and later renamed Bhuvanagiri. The town is still known as Bhuvanagiri although the fort is now called Bhongir. The impressive rock is called a Basso Monolith and …

Child walking down the steps of a high lookout tower

Hyderabad Staycation: Life at Prakasham

Have you been itching to travel, but common sense has held you back? Even after we completed both our COVID vaccinations doses, we have been quite hesitant to travel. Our primary concern is our young unvaccinated child and the unpredictable new variants. We have been exploring our immediate surroundings around Hyderabad, India and looking at options we feel are relatively safer. Many resorts in Hyderabad have sprung up in the last decade mainly catering to corporate team-building events. I never enjoy these places because they are always crowded and noisy. Weekend places in Hyderabad: Hyderabad stay options range from luxury hotels and big resorts on the outskirts of town to the quieter and smaller home and farm stays. I had written about one such stay – The Baby Elephant Farm in my earlier post. Today, I’m writing about Life at Prakasham. Both these places cater to a limited number of people. There are no crowded restaurants or noisy parties. Set amidst a relatively small farm, they exude peace and calm. A farm stay in Hyderabad, …

view of himayat sagar lake after heavy rains

Hyderabad – Himayat Sagar Lake View Point

Hyderabad has a couple of artificial lakes that add to the scenic value of the city. One of them is Himayat Sagar. At one point it was considered way beyond the city but in recent times the city has grown to meet it. If you’ve driven on the roads along the lake, you’ll notice that they’re quite narrow. That doesn’t stop people from stopping their vehicles to take a few pictures, making it more chaotic. The rise of food stalls has increased the number of visitors who have little interest in the natural beauty or the tranquility of the place. However, if you take a small detour, you find a place where you can enjoy the view away from heavy crowds, and even discover some hidden paths. It’s best to go during off-peak times, like weekdays and early mornings if you want to take in the surroundings without noisy crowds. We found this place by chance. It is a turn on the road opposite the lake and leads up a small quarry. You get a …

gazebo on a lawn with pool next to it

Day Trip near Hyderabad – The Baby Elephant Farm

Are you looking for day trip near Hyderabad? Check out the Baby Elephant Farm.  Short trips will give you enough time to learn something new, get refreshed in your mind and have some fun also! Getting away from the noise for some relaxing weekend R&R at a farm stay isn’t something you’ll want to pass on.  They only accept a limited number of people at a time so we had to pre-booked our trip and food. It had been raining all week and we were quite apprehensive about having to spend our time there indoors. Mercifully, the skies cleared up just in time for the weeknd! It took us hardly any time to reach there. It’s a green haven among a city intent on developing through building more concrete structures. The lush greenery, in part because of the monsoons, was a stark contrast to the construction sites all along the route. Our table was set up in a gorgeous shaded gazebo next to a small swimming pool. Our son wanted to immediately get in. After …