When the 2016 ICANN event was announced to be in Hyderabad, I was stoked. Hailing from Hyderabad but having lived the past 16 years in Mumbai brought fond memories of biryani, Charminar, summer holidays, my ‘Tata’ (grandad) and my ancestral home. While Hyderabad meant memories, as a teenager from Mumbai, having discovered a passion for traveling, places and food, the city became more than just home away from home. I began to see it from a new light. I take the liberty to share with you my experiences of the city … a mix of the Hyderabad I knew as a child and the Hyderabad I know as a traveler. Here’s what Hyderabad is to me & what you should catch if you make your way to the enchanted city:
Ramoji Film City: This is 1500 acres of film studio and entertainment. If you make your way to Hyderabad, this is a must visit. Hailed as the largest integrated film city in the world, Ramoji also hosts natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park. Make sure you set aside a whole day to explore this place. There’s tons you can do here!
Charminar: Think Hyderabad and Charminar is probably going to be the first image that pops in your mind (or on Google). Charminar is a gorgeous monument and mosque that’s iconic of Hyderabad. I have a fond (and slightly hazy) memory of a day out with my father and my sister in Charminar more than 16 years ago. Bangles, steep spiral stairs, wafer thin rotis and other street food is what I remember best about that place.
Above is a picture of my sister and I in 1998 – barefoot and barely smiling with my front teeth missing but having enjoyed our day at Charminar.
Hyderabadi Biryani: It’s reputation precedes itself. The Hyderabadi biryani lives up to expectations. Marinated in curd and a power of typical India spices, the flavours come together beautifully, like nothing you’ve tasted before. I’m fortunate enough to have my mother (and my father) prepare this a couple of times a year for special occasions and celebrations. You cannot leave Hyderabad without tasting the biryani… at Paradise, Bawarchi or anywhere else you can find it!
Gachibowli stadium: I was fortunate to attend the Afro Asian Games while I was over for the summer in 2003. Although far out of the city, the stadium is one to visit. It has a huge capacity of 4000 people with a field size of 60m radius. More recently, it has hosted the Pro Kabaddi Season 2 & 3 matches. It has amazing facilities for swimming, hockey, badminton, skating and running.
Hussain Sagar: Hyderabad’s heart shaped lake (which I’ve grown up calling ‘Tank Band’) spreads across 5.7sq kilometers, is fed by River Musi and divides Hyderabad from its twin city, Secunderabad. A monolithic statue of Gautama Buddha stands in the middle of the lake. This October, when I made my annual visit to the city, it was hard not to notice the Indian flag standing 291 feet tall on the banks of Hussain Sagar. Erected just this June and touted as the 2nd tallest flag in all of India (some say first), it’s a sight to behold! While at Tank Bund, make your way to Lumbini Park where you can take a speed boat on the lake, relax on a slow boat or just hang around the musical fountain but you cannot miss the Laser show which recreates cities in 3D.
Pack your bags as you make your way to the ICANN event, explore the Nizam land while you’re there and I promise, you won’t be disappointed 🙂