Hyderabad, which is known as they City of  Pearls” and the “City of Nizams” speaks volumes about the rich heritage that India is known for. The real essence of Hyderabad lies not in the multi-towered buildings and the broad roads which run through the new city, but in every gali and mohalla of the walled-city, better known as the old city, where there exists a perfect symphony between the Hindu and Islam architecture,  singing melodies of unity in diversity. No wonder then that the city is regarded as a perfect blend of traditionality with modernity.

The ruling Qutub Shahi dynasty wanted this city to be the replica of heaven, on earth. ‘Jannat‘ is what he wanted it to be! Unparalled in the world in terms of beauty and magnificence.

The Heritage Walk, an initiative of the state tourism department is a blessing for people who would want to walk down the pages of history, feel of the Nizam era and get to know about the rich culture the city boasts of and as they say, to be enthralled one step @ a time 🙂

U may choose to read the history of the city here.

Click on the pics to enlarge.

Let’s begin the journey. Here is ur ticket 😉

The walk begins @ one of the most prominent landmarks in the walled city, a magnificent structure which Hyderabad is known for .. The Charminar.

From the Charminar, the walk continues through the well-known Laad Bazaar [people also refer to it as the Choodi Bazaar]. I have heard a few people say that the Bazaar is called so because of the lacquer[laad] bangles sold here but acc. to the guide who took us along [and they are very very well trained], ‘Laad’ as we know means ‘Pyaar’ and the significance of the name is that anything that a man wants to gift his beloved with Pyaar is available here. Name it and u have it – bangles, mehandi, make-up, alta, jewellery, bridal wear! This bazaar probably has the best of the bangles available anywhere! Any colour, any size, any shape … there’s no way of not finding it!

As u pass thru the street, u can see that every shop carries a hint of the old times even though the sheet and other such things have taken their place.

Can u spot the arch below the sheet?

Look @ the diamond-cut rooftop here!

This structure is known as the Jilu Khana Gate, once the ceremonial entrance for the dignitaries to the Chowmohala palace. ‘Jilu Khana‘ means ‘Entrance Courtyard

Repainted; still, relics of the past!

Seeing the small sized entry points for most of the outlets, the historians have an idea that child-labour existed extensively during the period.

From Laad Bazaar, we proceed through Mehboob Chowk, which includes a Mosque, a clock tower and a market, where we saw crows being sold in addition to pigeons, rabbits and so on!!!!!!!

Clock Tower

This is a glimpse of the Mosque here.

Cn u see a pineapple like structure on that green part just above the inscription in Urdu? That is the mark, rather a stamp by the Qutb Shahi dynasty that these belonged to them.

U cn see a similar pineapple on the Charminar too! Here!

Do make it a point to observe this when u visit Charminar! It looks exactly like a pineapple!

While u r @ the chowk, what u should not miss is the traditional delicacies .. the naan, the biscuits, the kebabs, which form an integral part of the intangible heritage of Hyderabad.

Here u can see a small outlet making fresh naans. I am told this shop opens @ 6 in the morning and by 8, it is shut down as the daily quota is completely sold out by then!!!!

The walk also lets u take a peek into a number of Devdis, noble mansions where the Paigahs of Hyderabad lived. Dozens of them, with grand halls and serene courtyards, held the secrets of a distinct nobility. Paigahs were the most noteworthy noblemen , ranking next only to the ruling  Nizams.  They had control over the security and defense of the state and were permitted to keep their own private armies. They were given royal titles, grants of land, and even allowed to marry the Nizam’s family. Most of the Nizams gave their princesses in marriage to the Paigahs so that they stayed in the same territory and they could be well aware of how safe and comfortable their daughters are.

Its sad to see that most of them are in very bad condition though 😦 A few of them still provide shelter to the descendants who are more for getting them down and constructing ‘modern’ houses!!!

This is the entrance to one such Devdi in the Amir-e-Kabir street.

Look @ some of the intricate art work inside the Devdi.

This platform was used by the inmates to climb on to the elephant.

We found this house on the street … perfect example of unity in diversity which existed! Look @ the signs of Hinduism and Islam co-existing at the entrance!

Some nice work of art!

The huge Devdi that u see below has some very esteemed inhabitants .. only goats … they have made the entire place their loo 😦 The tourism department and the guides’ request to the government for stringent measures to revive the same has fallen on deaf ears. Can u even believe such hugeee space is left vacant?

Look @ the wonderful work here … isn’t it sad if we let them slip of our hands 😦

The Final Destination – the splendid, breath-taking Chowmahalla [meaning four palaces] The place is maintained very well, clean to the core and houses a museum with an enormous, mind-blowing collection of the remnants of the golden era that hs gone by. And photography is allowed or rather encouraged in every nook and corner of the museum 😛 Every person here, be it the attendant, the guard, the care-taker ask u to take pics and share it with people so that its name spreads far and wide 🙂 The architecture here is a mix of Qutub Shahi, British, Mughal and Rajasthani.

One of the four palaces:

The durbar hall:

Another view:

A room in the palace: The prince stays here whenever he comes down to India. He is settled in Australia.

A photograph of the palace in the museum:  I luvvvv the reflections 🙂

A peek into the museum:

Chariots all !

The Vintage Collection:

Nw, let me stick to my promise (pretty late though :|). Here are the pics of inimitable Pt.Jasraj – liveeee !!!

Okie ppl….  thatz the final note of this historical Hyderabad chapter. Over  to u nw .. tell me hw ws ur journey 😉

Have a gr8 weekend all of u! Today, off we go to attend a fusion concert by Ustad Zakir Hussain, Percussionist and younger brother of Ustadji Taufiq Qureshi, Sabir Khan – Sarangi and Niladri Kumar on Sitar 😀