Hyderabad & Challapalli

17th to 21st Feb 2017
Hyderabad & Challapalli, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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A 4 day trip purposed by a friend’s wedding and meeting a relative. So this travel was a mix of wedding invitee, catching up with a relative, new city travel & a make shift vacation. Anyway here’s what went down and how;

I journeyed by bus from Pune on 16th night, reached the city of Nizam’s on 17th morning, halting at Lakdi Ka Pul.

Day 1

One of the oldest suburbs in Hyd, deriving its name from a bridge made of wood. Caught a local rickshaw and headed towards Secunderabad. On the way I see Hussain Sagar which is a heart-shaped lake in Hyderabad built by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah in 1563. The lake is fed by river Musi, and a large statue of Gautama Buddha stands in the middle at 58 feet, making it the world’s tallest monolithic statue of the Buddha.

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Hussain Sagar Captured during the rickshaw ride

“This pretty site already set the mood right”

Next I reach Secunderabad club, the wedding reception venue and my stay for the night. Entering the huge & beautiful property, first thing to come to my mind was “I should have carried my skateboard, the terrain was so marvelous” (it was a long debate with myself before I left without it). Next was all the serenity & greenery surrounding every structure. I finally reached my room and went to the backyard, where all I found was more serenity.

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An old tree sitting wise behind the cottage.

Anywho, the morning passed with the basics. The ceremonies were scheduled in the evening and I decided to make the most of the day with my cousin brother, who at the time was stationed in the city. I met him at noon near the Secunderabad post office and started off towards the Char Minar, which is a 15th century mosque located on the east of the Musi river.

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The Char Minar has an interesting epic about it, but maybe we save it for another time. We couldn’t enter the magnificent structure since it was a Friday afternoon and it was prayer time for the Islamic community. So we decided instead of waiting around for hours, lets move on to the next place, which was interestingly the Birla Science Museum. Besides a full floor dedicated to the working of physics, and another floor to the ancient civilizations, the floor that stood out the most to me was the Dinosaurium. The space had showcased fossils found in our own country. Right from clusters of dinosaur eggs to gigantic snail shells. The biggest attraction was the rare and magnificent fossil of the Dinosaur, Kotasaurus, belonging to the Lower Jurassic age, going back to about 160 million years. The fossils were collected from Yamanpalli in the Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

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Image from google, since I wasn’t allowed to carry my phone.

After which we visited the Birla Temple that’s a 5 min uphill walk from the science center. This (1976) temple is built on a 280 feet high hillock in the center of the city, constructed with mighty quantity of white marble, popularly known for the picturesque view.

For lunch we stopped at the Paradise resturant, most known for the heritage it carries from the past few decades and of course for the famous Hyderabdi biryani. Then I started back towards the club for the wedding reception and made it a night with a bunch of (well-informed) friends. Actually going into the morning with some good conversations & excitement for what was in store the next day.

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Ruchika (the bride) & me, after a long day of lights for her.

Day 2

The next day, past sunrise we left for Challapalli, a small village near Vijayawada & Machlipqatnam. A seven hour drive & informative conversations, we finally reached the heart of the village, to the grand house of the groom’s family. Spent the rest of the evening settling down in the quite town. Ofcourse the village sleeps at sundown.

However the few of us star-eyed peeps, we needed some more adventure to close on the celebrations of our friends union in love, post midnight, when all the guests were gone, four of us including the bride & groom set out in a oldschool type jeep, off roading through the dark terrains of farm lands & hills. Spent sometime under the bright stars, that being the best thrill I took back from this travel.

Day 3

The next day again was an early one for a traditional pooja, a tasty heavy banana leaf lunch and some packing. We had a lift from the village to Vijayawada. Caught a state bus, which was surprisingly super clean and luxury filled, headed straight to Hyderabad. Reached our room at 2am, ate some more and called it a night. Two friends travelling back to the city with me had a flight to catch 4am in the morning and found their way out.

Day 4

I started my day a little after sunrise, first to the Qutub Shahi Tombs/ 7 Tombs, what a marvelous place!

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One of the seven royal tombs.

Neighbouring the 7 tombs is the Golkonda fort, which was a citadel and fort in Southern India and was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. The 12th century city and the fortress built on a 480 ft high granite hill is spread across approximately 11kms. Magnificent diamonds are believed to have been excavated from the mines of Golkonda, including the Koh-i-Noor, the Hope Diamond, the Nassak Diamond & Daria-i-Noor or “Sea of Light”.

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The view from a lost corner in the scapes of Golkonda Fort.

After a long uphill climb in the middle of the afternoon heat, we descended down and hopped to the next spot, Chowmahalla Palace. The name literally translates to four palaces. It was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad and remains the property of their heirs. This 18th century cluster of structures originally covered 45 acres, but only 12 acres remain today.  An interesting find was the clock tower that has been ticking away for the past 250+ years.

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At the Durbar Hall, Chowmahalla Palace.

The palace also hosts the extremely famous collection of vintage and some rare cars. Including the 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost custom-built by Barker for the Nizam as a ceremonial coach, a Fiat limousine, a Napier, a Wolseley Ford Tourer, a 1952 Packard 200 deluxe touring sedan, a convertible 1947 Buick among a many more motor gems.

After a well filled handful of days I had a bus booked for my return home. Caught a late bus back, reminisced and of course slept like a log most of the way 🙂 All in all the 4 days since I left home, felt like more than a week. Filling all those days with activity was one of the best things I could have had planned.

Until the next step, keep the knees in motion!

Photo images were caught on a basic phone camera & owned.


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