The major focus of my Hyderabad trip was to visit India’s first Solar Roof Cycle Track which you must have read about in my earlier post. Aside from cycling, I was a tourist in my own country and visited the following six places in two days.
Salar Jung Museum:
The museum has a wide variety of collections right from pottery, paintings, arms and weapons, statues, textiles, wooden ware, glassware, manuscripts, clocks, and several artefacts of yesteryear era. The exhibits are displayed in over 39 galleries that house artefacts from India, China, Persia, Japan, France, Italy, Germany and many more.
The museum is famous for its Musical Clock installed at the central hall which has a seating area for visitors to see the clock ringing.
The plaque next to the clock reads “This English bracket clock, which is said to have manufactured in England and assembled in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the late 19th century A.D. It has been acquired by the Salar Jung III, Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan (AD. 1889-1949) from the Cooke and Kelvey Co., probably in the early 20th century AD. It has more than 350 parts. The clock contains a mechanism by which a small toy figure of a bearded man comes out from the enclosure three minutes early to every hour and strikes the corresponding hour(s) on the gong of every 60th minute and goes back inside. Another toy man who is a blacksmith visible, is seen holding a hammer and striking the seconds without any break. Enriched with nicely wrought metallic mounts, the huge mechanical clock has three dials for day, date, and month in addition to chiming every 15 minutes. The musical clock is one of the most attractive objects in the Museum.”
Another fascinating object I discovered at the museum is a Wooden Double Statue. The front face of the statue is Mephistopheles (male) and Margaretta (female) at the back. Although the sculpture artist is unknown as per the Museum records, it originates from France dated 19th century.
It takes about 3 hours to explore the museum at an easy pace.
Visit the website for more details: www.salarjungmuseum.in
Sudha Cars Museum:
This museum was inaugurated in 2010 and founded by Kanyaboyina Sudhakar. Apart from the vintage cars, the museum also has a variety of some vintage and more of modified bicycles, tri cycles and quadricycles which is what attracted me to visit the place. You will also be surprised to know that the owner Sudhakar holds the Guinness World Record for largest tricycle- which is 41 feet tall and built in 2005.
Sudha cars museum is a fun place to be and has cars designed in the shape of everyday objects like a computer, camera, shoes, handbag, a book, sofa, lipstick, cricket bat, helmet, burger, toilet seat and even a condom bike. The displays are colorful, attractive, and unimaginable.
It’s a small museum and can be covered in 30-45 minutes.
Qutub Shahi Tombs:
The Qutub Shahi Tombs belong to the seven rulers and stand with a marvelous view in a huge landscape which can be explored on foot. The architecture is captivating and takes you back to the history of Hyderabad. There are guides at the entrance which you may or may not appoint for the walking tour which can be self-explored in a hours’ time just the way I did.
This place has a historic significance related to the Nizam’s of Hyderabad. There are four palaces built on the courtyards, all of which tell a striking story of the gone by era. A walk inside the palace will transport you to a different world filled with chronicles of the past. The palace also boasts of a significant collection of vintage cars and motorcycles used by the dynasty.
You can invest about a couple of hours for an immersive experience.
Charminar and Mecca Masjid:
Charminar (four minarets) was the most sought-after site in my travel itinerary. But in no time my excitement faded after reaching the spot. The facade was surrounded with pop-up shops and local markets with literally no place to walk. The entrance area was noisy with bustling market. Probably, I choose a wrong day to visit. After entering inside there is a narrow staircase with high steps to climb to reach the top. I followed the signboards and upon entering the staircase felt suffocated. My suggestion, you can skip the climb and admire its beauty from the ground. The mecca masjid is located 5 minutes away from Charminar and accessible on foot.
Relatively a new Hindu temple and built in 1970’s, the Birla Mandir is situated on a hill and involves around 10 minutes of walk up to the main entrance. It’s made of white marble and has a glorious view of the surrounding area once you reach at the top. There is a dress code for entering the temple which restricts devotees from wearing short skirts etc. and needs to be followed. One cannot enter the temple with footwear, and it needs to be dropped at a designated shoe stand. Depending on the queues, it may take 1-2 hours to enter the main temple. Overall, the temple gives positive vibes and is a must visit while you are in Hyderabad.
I used a combination of app-based Ola Bike Taxi (motorcycle) services to travel with the city. For a few journeys where the Taxi Services weren’t available, I used rickshaws to get around. But be mindful of hiring a rickshaw as they quote a random amount and don’t operate using meters.
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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai.