Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Hyderabad- The Best Indian City to Live In

In the war of Delhi-Bombay, a different city altogether has bagged the label of best Indian city. Mercer, the global human resources consulting firm, has released its 18th annual Quality of Living Survey, listing 2016 city rankings of best places to live in.

The firm compared the living conditions of 440 cities including factors like political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and natural environment.
And guess which Indian city has topped the list?, Well, it’s Hyderabad! Hyderabad has been ranked as the best city in India to stay in with a ranking of 139 out of 230 cities in the world. Pune has been allotted the second rank. Whereas, Delhi is at 161, Mumbai 152, Kolkata 160, and Bangalore 145.

With new job opportunities and the housing rent being cheap as compared to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, people are now considering Hyderabad as a better option for calling it a home.

Monday, March 01, 2010

A sumptuous start for the new 2010

While I am based out of Pune for last three years, I keep traveling to Hyderabad, at least once a year. This time, the reason was a friend's Wedding. It was the start of year 2010 and what a sumptuous start for the new year.

My cousin treated us at "Point Pleasant Heritage Restaurant" in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad. It is located just next to Indo Arab Masjid complex and I thought of the days when I used to visit a friend's house nearby.

As we entered the restaurant, I found it interesting to find a mention of Lucknow cuisine on the posters and wall decor. Hyderabadi cuisine in itself, is a great delight and if there is a place that compliments it with Lucknawi cuisine, it surely must be worth a try.

We were all very hungry and so my cousin ordered the already tried stuff to begin with. Meanwhile, I spotted my favorite "Sheermals" in the menu. Not sure if they would actually serve the Lucknawi sheermal, I enquired and got an affirmation. I was tempted to see if it tasted the same as authentic Lucknawi sheermals. We ordered a few to taste. We also had an assortment of kebabs and Nihari. To my delight, the Lucknawi sheermals were truly lucknawi and I had a field day :-)

By the time, Biryani was served, I was full but I didn't want to miss it too. So, I had some biryani and waited for "Khubani ka Meetha" which is a compulsory dessert for me, even after a heavy and delectable Hyderabadi meal.

All of us came out happy and delighted. I would term it as an out-of-the-world experience and will go on to recommend the place as "must-go".

For your interest, here's their website URL:
Point Pleasant Heritage Restaurant

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ek Gulshan Tha...

एक गुलशन था जलवानुमां इस जगह,
रंग-ओ-बू जिसकी दुनिया में मशहूर थी,
बेग़मों की हँसी गूँजती थी यहीं,
शाह की शानोशौकत में भरपूर थी

ताज की शक्ल में जब तक ये क़िला,
गोल्कोंड़ा की अज़्मत करेगा बयां,
मिट सकेगी नहीं शानेमुल्केदक्कन,
मिट सकेगा नहीं उसका कोई निशां

ये क़िला ये फ़सीना ये वीरानियां,
हैं उसी शान-ओ-शौकत की परछाइयां,
जिस की दिलकश कहानी का है राज़दां,
ये नीला सितारों जड़ा आसमां

वक़्त की मार सहकर जो कायम रहे,
कैफ़ियत बस यही थी उसी रान की,
गोल्कोंड़ा की अज़्मत का कहना ही क्या,
ये क़िला है निशानी उसी शान की


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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hyderabadi Goodies

Almost every city has something special to eat and talk about. To name a few, Agra’s Petha. Mathura’s peda, Kanpur’s Kulfi, Mumbai’s Vada pav, Indore’s Poha, Kolkata’s Rashogulla and Delhi’s Chaat are a few of famous delicacies associated with different cities. Hyderabad, too has some specialities like Hyderabadi Biryani, Haleem, Dalcha, Double ka Meetha and Khubani ka meetha. Apart from all this, Hyderabad has a good number of Tea Cafes and Bakeries. Because of these bakeries in every nook and corner of hyderabad, one can taste a variety of biscuits, cakes, pastries, puffs, rolls, pizzas and burgers.

Snacks and Bakery items served in these Cafes are somewhat indigenous in nature. Here are a few of them for you to relish upon:

Osmania Biscuit: A typical biscuit named on the last Nizam. Served in all the cafes, bandis and tea stalls, ubiquitously.

Chand Biscuit: Another Hyderabadi biscuit. Apparently, it got the name because of its shape resembling a crescent moon.

Fan Biscuit: A longish wafery biscuit.

Dilkhush: A sweet snack item which has lot of cream and other sweet stuff tucked in a bun. I bet it must have got the name because of its ability of making hungry hearts happy. Have one or two and you are ready to walk a mile or two.

Luqmi: A namkeen (salty) snack with just a little vegetable and spicy filling in a flat square patty.

Bun-Maska: Bun with butter and sugar on it.

Surprisingly, Hyderebad doesn’t have a McDonald outlet as yet. The possible reason could be stiff competition from the local bakery businesses. A Veg burger for Rs 15/- and a Chicken burger for 22/- with some extra cheese for 5/- can surely give McDonald's a run for their money.

So, here’s a toast…err.. a ‘Burger’ to Hyderabad’s Bakery Business.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Musi River

A river which passes through the city of Hyderabad in India. Normally, it has a narrow and harmless stream flowing through the city but it is famous for causing destruction and loss of life when it is flooded.

This river's claim to fame is its significance in the birth of the city of Hyderabad. History tells us that the fifth ruler of Golconda - Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah fell in love with a local dancer named Bhagmati. She lived in a cottage in the village of Chichlam, situated on the southern bank of Musi.

It is said that once the young prince rode out from the Golconda Fort to meet his beloved, braving the flood waters of the River Musi. Later, the prince married the girl and ascended the throne following his father's death. When the fort of Golconda became insufficient and there was shortage of water and other resources, the emperor decided to shift his capital to the village Chichlam and thus Hyderabad was born.

Date: 10th February, 2005

Addendum: Purana Pul
When the prince Muhammad Quli risked his life to meet his beloved then his father decided to build a bridge on the Musi River. The bridge still connects both sides of Musi River but it is not used anymore. It is known as "Purana Pul". Sadly, A.P. Tourism is blind towards its romantic and historic significance. Today, nobody cares to mend the bridge which once brought the King and his subjects, together.

Date: 25th July, 2005

Charminar - Hyderabad's Eiffel Tower

Charminar is a monument located in the city of Hyderabad which is the capital city of the State of Andhra Pradesh in South India. [1] [2] [3]

Charminar is one of the most important landmarks of the city. The monument was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 to commemorate the eradication of plague, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golconda to what now is known as Hyderabad. Legends tell that the emperor Quli Qutb Shah prayed for the end of plague and took the vow to build a mosque on that very place. He ordered the contruction of the mosque which became popular as Charminar because of its four characteristic minarets. The top floor of the four-storeyed structure has a mosque which has 45 covered prayer spaces and some open space to accomodate more people in friday prayers.

The Charminar is a beautiful and impressive square monument, with each side measuring 20 m, and each of the edges having a pointed high minaret. It derives its name from these four gracefully carved minarets which soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground, commanding the landscape for miles around. Charminar literally means 'Four Minars'. Each minaret has four storeys, each looking like a delicately carved ring around the minaret. Every side opens into a plaza through giant arches, which overlook four major thoroughfares and dwarf other features of the building except the minarets. Each arch is 11 m wide and rises 20 m to the pinnacle from the plinth. Once upon a time each of these arches led to four royal roads. Each of the four arches has a clock which were put up in 1889.

There are two galleries within the Charminar, one over another, and above those a terrace that serves as a roof, bordered with a stone balcony. It is vaulted underneath and appears like a dome. There is a large table raised seven or eight feet from the ground with steps to go up to it. Nothing in the town seems so lovely as the outside of that building. A thriving market still lies around the Charminar attracting people and merchandise of every description. In its heyday, the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops, a unique conglomeration of a grand oriental bazaar. The whole market around the Charminar is crowded with shops which sell glass bangles in rainbow colours.

Unlike Taj Mahal, the fluted minarets of Charminar are built into the main structure. Inside the four-storied minarets 149 winding steps guide the visitor to the upper floor, the highest point one can reach, and providing a panoramic view of the city. There is a mosque on the top floor, which offered a wonderful place to worship in solitude.

Built with granite and lime mortar, Charminar is a fine example of the Tazia style of architecture. The Charminar looks spectacular particularly in the nights when it is illuminated.

Source: Wikipedia

Fateh Maidaan

Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium at Hyderabad is also known as 'Fateh Maidaan'. Fateh in urdu means - victory and Maidaan means - a ground.

The name Fateh Maidaan came into being when Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb conquered the Golconda Fort. It was this place where the Mughal army laid the siege, leading to the fall of Golconda.

Since, camping at this place brought victory to the Mughals, it came to be called "Fateh Maidaan" then onwards.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hyderabadi Numaish

"Numaish" is an urdu word and it means "exhibition". The 65th Annual Industrial Exihition has already been inaugurated here in Hyderabad. This Numaish has a special significance for Hyderabadees. The exhibition ground is located in Nampally, the heart of the city. In the evenings during the Numaish period, the streets around the place are clogged mostly with pedestrians, autorickshaws, two-wheelers and cars. People wait for the Numaish throughout the year as it's a 'once in an year' affair. A few months before the grand numaish, hyderabadees prefer to postpone their shopping until the Numaish. The wait, as they say, is worth it because of the discounts they get and the variety they get in most of the goods available in Numaish.

The range of goods starts from garments, bed covers, carpets, upholstery, furniture, household goods, electronic items, consumer durables and it is so inexhaustible that it can't be mentioned here. Apart from that, ice-cream parlours, flavoured-milk stalls and chat corners account for another reason why people crave for giving a visit at least. Children have their own gala time enjoying various amusement rides especially the mini train which takes a round of the numaish. And here...Adults don't stay behind. They too jump onto the train to have a ride.

Though some people think that they can have all these things in Hyderabad even outside the exhibition but most Hyderabadees love to shop during exhibition which also leaves them with some fond memories. The general mood is upbeat and shoppers as well as shopkeepers feel proud in claiming that this is 5th, 10th or.....65th time they are visiting or participating in the exhibition.

While talking about exhibitions, I would not forget to mention the Aligarh Numaish which is as popular in Aligarh as this one in Hyderabad. The Aligarh Numaish is also organized around the same time of the year i.e. Jan-Feb and it is more structured and well planned.

People form Meerut boast that the meerut exhibition popularly called as "Nauchandi" is the largest exhibition in the country. It is so popular that a train running from Lucknow to Meerut is named as "Nauchandi Express".

To sum up, these exhibitions are a part of Indian culture. We have a history of village fairs called "Mela" in Hindi. This 'mela' evolved with time and became "Numaish" or "Exhibition". Earlier, when they were started, they had an objective of making goods available to public alongside a festival. It offered some wonderful discounts to promote sale and business as well as people's buying power.

As of today, our means of business have improved to the extent that we can buy anything at any time of the year. The Transport System within the country has made it happen that you get Kashimiri Kaftaan or shawl in South Indian state of Tamilnadu. With this kind of set-up, we might not need exhibitions or Numaish but for the sake of preserving our culture, we surely do...

Friday, August 20, 2004

To Hyderabad

"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other"
-Reinhold Niebuhr

One day, I was pondering over the meaning of the word - Indigenous. In plain sense, it means "local" but I thought there should be something more to it than just being 'local'. And when I came back to the real world, from my own world of words and ideas, I found myself in an Irani café. Well, what was I doing there? Nothing but sipping my routine cup of Irani chai. Just then, I paused and asked myself, "Is this Indigenous?" The answer was a reluctant "yes". Though Irani chai seems to come from Iran but it has become an inseparable part of this city, the city that owns me for about five years now.

This was beginning of a thought string for me. Since that day, I started looking at Hyderabad from a different angle. I started searching for things characteristic of Hyderabad. No doubt, a city with such a rich history is sure to have an attitude. Just as when we know about our talents, we take pride, we try to boast and sometimes we may go to the extent of hyperbole in saying that we are this way or that way. So why wouldn't Hyderabad have attitude like that? If it was there, I was to find it out for me.

Take the case of Irani chai. It might have come to Hyderabad, all the way from Iran while taking a break at Bombay. But Hyderabad calls it a hyderabadi speciality. Hyderabadis are proud of Irani chai. They not only drink it but they adore it, admire it and sing praises about it. Surely, the taste is different but it takes some time before an outsider could really appreciate it. The pre-requisite is that you shouldn't be a tea-totaler. If you aren't a tea-totaler then you are sure to find yourself all-out for Irani chai. Either you would want to have the normal tea or a pauna(light tea). If you are the one who likes your tea as sweet then you would go for Khada chammach - a cup of tea which has so much sugar that a spoon could be erected straight inside the cup. If you were a real tea-buff, you would go for Suleimani - the thick black tea. If you like a lot of milk cream in your tea, you would definitely enjoy Pardaposh in which all you get to see in the cup would be cream. In other words, the cream would literally hide the tea in the cup. So there's tea for one and all.

The Hyderabadi Auto-rickshaw
One of the first things you get to see, as soon as you drop in Hyderabad is the Hyderabadi rickshaw. Cycle rickshaw would look strange and funny but an auto-rickshaw? You would know about it only after you take a ride. Some of the things to look for, in a Hyderabadi auto-rickshaw are - the Nawabi Sofa-style seat, the music system (hi-fi), hooters and horns, exceptional driver's skills (Skills that can send either the passenger or other road users, to a dispensary) and last & the best - the meter. All this is pure Hyderabadi.

Hyderabadi Food & Culture
Hyderabadi Tehzeeb (culture) has won praises and accolodaes, all over the world and Hyderabad is famous for its Mehman-nawazi (hospitality). Hyderabadi food has a rich variety to choose from. Even if you were a stranger in Hyderabad, you would be completely bowled over with the Hyderabadi dishes in any of the umpteen restaurants on the streets of Hyderabad.

Hyderabadi biryani
has no parallels among the connoisseurs of biryani. Haleem is another delicacy, which associates with Hyderabad. The best and worst thing about Haleem is that it is largely available only in month of Ramzan. It is the best thing because people keep waiting for this month to savour this mouth-watering dish and it is the worst thing about Haleem as people who miss it in Ramzan may need to wait for a year. In this case, the only people who suffer are the visitors to Hyderabad. They get to hear a lot about Haleem but if they are unable to visit during Ramzan, they miss the opportunity. One of the must haves in Hyderabadi food is "Khubani ka meetha". You may have anything for the main course but for dessert, you ought to have Khubani ka meetha with ice cream or custard.

Hyderabadi Lingo
When I was new in Hyderabad, I was puzzled at the Hyderabadi dialect of Urdu. Apart from the usual Hau and Nakko for Yes and No, there were so many strange words and usages. For example - Hyderbadis say - "Paani naha lo" when asking you to take a bath while in any other Urdu/Hindi speaking region, "Naha lo" would suffice as it is taken for granted that we take bath using water and not milk etc. Another difficult situation arises when Hyderabadis want to say "Yes" and they move their head sidewards, with a difficult to comprehend, vertical dimension. Any North Indian would definitely take it for "No" and move on…

Hyderabadis can't sit at Home in the Evenings
Most of the people here prefer going out in the evenings. If not evenings, then they would love to go for a ride to an ice-cream parlour, post dinner. The rides would usually be around Tank Bund, Necklace Road or KBR Park. For Ice creams, a lot of people would wish to go to Moazzamjahi market for having famous fresh fruit ice cream at Famous or Shah Ice cream.

The City does sleep but wakes up late
In most of the authentic Hyderabadi families, there is still the culture of having dinner, very late. They wake up late, too. Typically, the business starts here after 10 AM only. It may, in all fairness, start at 11 AM. The truly nawabi style people don't want to compromise on this.

Epilogue: Winds of change may sweep the streets and bylanes of Hyderabad. It may become popular for IT revolution or for anything else in future, but the basic temperament of the city would continue. The spirit of Hyderabad would live longer than any fever or revolution. To Hyderabad, I wish… It may…

I would like to end this post with the famous couplet from the emperor poet - Quli Qutub Shah.

Mera shehar logan soon mamoor kar
Rakhya joon tun darya mein min Ya Sami
(O God, fill my city with people, as you have the river with fish)

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