Thursday, March 10, 2005

Doing Pondicherry over the Weekend... (From Hyderabad)

vandana gombar a fellow ryzer, writes.....

I wasn't sure how about its doability until I actually did it...

For those who want the sun, the sand and some spiritualism in the air...head to Pondi for the weekend...a backpackers guide...

1600 hrs: I leave HYd in the Chennai Express...some reading...some food and sleep...

0600 Hrs: At Chennai Railway station
0700 Hrs: After taking a lift to the bus-stand, I hopped onto a 3-hour ride through the scenic ECR (East Coast Road) Pondi
1000 Hrs:At Pondi...

I managed to get a room at the Ashram Guest house...amazingly scenic (its right on the beach)...quiet..economical (RS 300/single) can rent bicycles at the guest get food...BUT drugs, alcohol, smoking strictly forbidden...For those who enjoy these indulgences...there are other options to stay...cottages...guest houses..

After some refreshments, I booked myslf into the Pondi Tourism Devt Corp. half day tour of the city...they took me to a museum (very boring...cannot get excited by looking at the primitive elements man used thousands of years do I care...)...and some temples...the most intersting thing was AUROVILLE...and the famous shrine where soil from 120 countries was mixed to emphasize the universal unity of will see people from many many countries there... can walk on the beach road till late at night...very amiable...lots of in the hair...and sleep with the lulling sound of waves loud in your ear...

0530 hrs :up to see the sunrise (it is the east coast remember...)
Leisurely breakfast at the guest house...few hours in the garden overlooking the sea...some buys of incense sticks...

1300 hrs: Bus to Chennai...
1800 hrs: Charminar Express starts for Hyd...

0830 hrs: In HYD
1000 at work.

If anyone wants to prebook...I could help with the phone numbers...Vandana

Visit Vandana's Ryze page

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Desserts @ Painted Platters

Painted Platters
85, 8 avenue
Road No. 3
Banjara Hills,
5568 6444, 5568 6555

Painted platters in the outdoor seating part of where "Galloping Gooseberry" used to be. ("Galloping Gooseberry" re-opened last week as "grandma's" - quite apt given the time taken for service.....)

Don't let the terrible service of Galloping Gooseberry/Grandma's deter you from visitng Painted Platters. The service outide is seperately managed and quite well run. Given the effort put into decorating each plate, you don’t mind the slight delay, esp given the surroundings.

The menu is innovative to say the least. When you sit down, you are handed a literary masterpiece. And before you wonder if you have reached a library by mistake, you realise that the menu is integrated into the book.

The number of items on the menu is around 20 but each one of them is worth tasting at least once. The first 2/3's of the menu is constant, but the Viennese section is changed every quarter.

The presentation of each dessert is amazing. (before I forget, thet only serve desserts) If you have ever looked longingly/hungrily at the pictures of food in imported cookbooks, then this is where you get to see these dreamy concoctions come alive.

A lot of the desserts, have fruit bases or components. But there are more than enough varieties for chocoholics, like me. The Missisipi mud Pie @ 130 is a all time favorite at Painted Platters. The Viennese Alhambra at 95/- was also good with its sponge cake layers et al. Finished it off with a Malakov torte (105/-) which was absolute sin, loaded with alcohol.

So, forget all your diets & calorie counting, if you truly want to freak out at Painted Platters. There's free home delivery, in a 5km radius, if you order for 3 or more desserts. You can even pick up parcels from the place itself.

Eating @ Eat Street

Eat Street
Necklace Road

Eat Street is a lovely place opened on the lake on Necklace Road. Theres a play area for children with lovely multi hued flowers growing abundantly. There's a permanent merry-go-round & baby cars & things like that. They also have boating on the lake originating from the premises.

The seating is partly open air and partly under a cover which is still open to the lake on the side. But if all you want is a place to sip a coffee & relax with your book or friends, then take your coffee & head upstairs, the feeling there is even more relaxed.

Eat Street is a Food court. So you have Pizza Hut, Minerva Coffee Shop, Baskin robbins & others. Rest assured there are enough choices whether you are looking for a coffe, ice-cream, snacks, chaat or a proper meal.

The Chinese served at "Wok of the Town" was quite good. The combos for 95/- include some noodles/rice, a main dish & a starter. Really worth it & quite filling. Their chicken pepper salt was also quite interesting for 65/-

The "Chat Room" serves an array of chaat items. Tried the Dahi Poori (25) & Pani Puri (20). Tasty & clean with the joy of eating it on the lake side. Definitley round up your chaat with the jelebis (20). They are absolutely amazing & a must try. If you are thirsty with all the chaat, have the Badam Milk (25). There are a lot of pakodas & other fried stuff too thats available. I'd rank this second on the chaat available in Hyderabad. Ohris Banjara being the best. And oh yeah, the Pani Puri @ Gangotris near 36, Jubilee hills is very good, though the rest of their chaat isnt.

At the Indian counter "Wah Hyderabad", you can get an assortment of Mughlai & Hyderabadi dishes. The combo at 95 includes rice, roti, dry & wet sabji in veg & non veg options. Very filling, so quite a VFM. If you want to add on something, try the chicken 65 for 60/- and complete your meal.

Then take a walk around the palce to digest all that you have just eaten & enjoy the view some more. Quite a romantic place too. If you want to take your date out to a place, which wont burn a hole in your wallet, then eat Street is the place to go.

Eating @ Rayalseema Ruchulu

Rayalseema Ruchulu
Rayalseema Ruchulu
5510 0033, 5510 0044

Havent eaten at the restaurant itself, but have ordered food home, once in a way.

RR offers typical Andhra dishes, with the signature spiciness inherent in Andhra food.

They have some interesting innovations in rotis such as sajja roti (18) & Jonna roti (11) I would be hard pressed to describe them or the uingredients that go into their making, but let me assure you that they are quite tasty.

The chicken pulao (59) is in the andhra (not hyderabadi) style. They have an excellent starter called the rayalseema special chicken (68) which are something like cutlets, but yet different. Very interesting & a really good snack with whatever drinks you may be serving. Slighlty on the spicier side but then that’s what makes it interesting.

They serve a pretty mean brain fry (62) and mamasam kheema (82) too. Only thing being that though the rates look lower compared to other hotels, the quantitites on these main dishes are a little on the smaller side too. So you may need to order 1.5 times the amount you order from other places.

TO sum it up, I would say, food from Rayalseema Ruchulu is tasty & interesting.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Eating @ Abhiruchi

Near Paradise Circle
2789 6565

The absolute best Andhra Thali in town. Priced about 50/- its unlimited papads, fried chillies, rasam, sambhar, curd, 3 veg dishes, dhal palak, rice & roti are an absolute steal. The crowning glory, is their melted ghee which is the closest I have come to tasting ambrosia. Its supplied in unlimited quantities & enhances the flavor of everything.

This place is normallty crowded every afternoon & evening, but believe me, its more than worth the wait.

If you would like to add some non-vegetarian dishes to your meal, just ask for the chicken roast. A very well sauteed chicken in an amazingly spicy, yet not too spicy masala for about 75/-. The chicken liver fry at 45/- is a must try, if you want to add iron to your meal :)

And for someone not interested in a thali, just order the chicken biryani for 60/-. Its the andhra pulao variety & I personally favor it over the Paradise variety.

Don't look for ambience & comfy seating. Its just manageable. The decor would rank about 2.5, but the food would rank a 4.8 on a 5 point scale. Service is 4.

They also deliver around the vicinity for orders above 300/-. Call 2789 6565 for placing an order.

best outdoor places in Hyderabad to take your woman on a date

If you are anyway hazarding it, you might as well do it in style. In the first of a series, TUSHAR DHARA presents the best outdoor places in town to take your woman on a date.

There are times in the life of every guy when he finds himself trying to impress a woman, despite all his good sense. And there are times in the life of every woman when she finds herself subjecting herself to that, despite all her good sense.

Good sense obviously doesn't always prevail, but you might as well try to get out unscathed. I mean, there are so many things that can go wrong when you take a woman out. For example, you are speaking passionately about how you think June is the best month of the year (or something equally inane), and a droplet from your mouth lands on her. Or you stretch trying to show off your biceps and belatedly remember the hole in your shirt at the armpit. Or the pizza crust you're trying to break using a knife and fork suddenly lands on the next table and the middle-aged man there passes a rather undignified remark like "Ammayi pakkanunte ollu teliyatledaa?"

These are the hazards of the endeavor - you gotta live in constant fear of 'em, telling yourself that no pain, no gain (and, once you're wiser, what gain - but let's not digress). But there are some that you can avoid. Mostly location-specific embarrassments, like being hounded by a new beggar every 2 minutes, having a 90% male crowd around you that is 100% sex-starved leer shamelessly at the lady and pass lewd comments from hear-shot range, smelling unfriendly odors in the air and having to interact with unfriendly watchmen.

And that's where we come in. presents a series of articles on the best places to go out on a date in town. Theaters, parks, restaurants, game centers… we'll have them all covered. And here is the first of them. The best outdoor locations in and around town to go to for a dignified ambience and a nice time (well, it's all perspective!).


Gandipet comprises the most happening amusement joints in the city. 20 km outside the city towards the west, it has, in its vicinity, one of the most scenic spots in Hyderabad, the Osmansagar lake. There are whole loads of picnic spots around the lake making it an ideal getaway for families during the weekends.

Osmansagar - lake of the setting sun

The 29 sq km reservoir was formed by damming the waters of the river Musi. There are steps on the landward side of the bund that lead down to a small park from where you can wander off into the scenic rock formations that abound in this area. There are several decent dhabas nearby to take care of the hunger-pangs.

The popular resort Treasure Island is three-quarters of a kilometer from the Osmansagar Lake. TI is the center stage for all the star-studded music concerts, and comes alive on weekends with some mind-blowing music played at a deafening wattage. There are plans to bring the top rock bands in the country - Agni, Moksha, Parikrama, Pentagram etc., to play in our own Hyderabadi version of Woodstock, with the bands playing continuously one after the other for thirty-six hours. Keep watching this space for the info.

Elless World - fun at the edge of town

Also situated in Gandipet is the first theme park of its kind in AP, Elless World. It is open from 12 noon to 8pm, though the park authorities claim that they let couples (only) in as early as 9:00am. There are different kinds of rides like the dragon-roller coaster, Dream Girl (a diagonal Ferris wheel) and striking cars. The entry fee is Rs. 65 per person and Rs. 50 for kids less than a height of four feet. The ambience is not that great, but it is worth a visit at least once. One other feature is that if your group has more than 50 people you can get a discount of 20% on each ticket.

But the resort that steals the thunder in the Gandipet vicinity is Ocean Park. It is located just beside Elless World. The park is open from 11am to 8pm. It has got some wonderful water slides going by names like body slide, crazy cruise and zip zap zoom. It is greatly recommended for people who revel in having a blast in water. And that forms quite a majority.

Ocean Park - for the ablutomaniacs!

Though the fare is a bit expensive - tickets for adults cost Rs. 150 and Rs. 90 for children, with the parking and food being additional expenses - it's worth all the fun guaranteed in the water. School students will be charged Rs. 60 per head plus Rs. 15 for lunch, while for college students it is Rs. 100 with an extra Rs. 15 thrown in for lunch. But there should be a minimum of 50 students to avail themselves of these packages.

You can also hold birthday celebrations, conferences (?) and parties here - you need to contact their main office at the Blue Chip Arcade in Himayatnagar. The telephone numbers are 322-3824 and 322-5660. You can also call the park directly at 08413-33335, 33336.

Ramoji Film City - tinsel town in town


Here's where the dreams of the most majestic kind are made and sold. It is the largest film studio in India (and it also claims to be larger than Universal Studios in Hollywood). Spread over 2000 acres, RFC has prime areas for shooting movies. There are more than forty gardens of all varieties, and elaborate sets that include jails, railway platforms, airports and the like.

RFC is open from 9am to 6pm, with the option of spending the night in one of the many graded star hotels. The cost of spending a day here is Rs. 150 per head. If you happen to be film buff, déjà vu is assured. And you might even catch a star delivering his dialogues or shaking a leg. There is also a special honeymoon package for newlyweds. For details please contact the film city at 925-46555 or call their city office at 323-5678.


Of the many scenic lakes in Hyderabad, Durgam Cheruvu, or the Secret Lake, near Jubilee Hills holds a place of prominence. The reason for this intriguing name is that it probably was a well-kept secret twenty or so years ago when there were no proper roads to get there. But that's not the case anymore.

Durgam Cheruvu - the hidden delight

The rock formations here are really breathtaking. Climbing one of the many hillocks that surround the lake would get you get a stupendous long range view of the area, with the Hi-Tech city just about visible.


The Shamirpet Park - a little bit of wilderness in your life

The lake here, situated 24km north of Secunderabad, is the most verdant of the lakes. Its isolation is an added advantage, offering you a serene ambience. There is also a deer park situated here. There are some cottages that can be rented through De Lara Resorts and Orchards Ltd. You can call them at 928-44510/928-44520.


Hyderabad can also pride itself upon being the possessor of one of the very few go-karting tracks in India. Runway 9 is located near Kompally on the Medchal road, about 9km from Paradise circle. Though go-karting is the main attraction, there are also other sports like pool, archery, shooting and roller-skating on offer.

Runway 9 - the go-karters' paradise

There are also plans to open a cybercafé and a disco. But go-karting remains the most popular sport here, with the cost for four laps being Rs. 125. Runway 9 is open till 11:30 at night. You can book it for parties too. For details please call 928-32753.


The Necklace Road - when driving is not what you want to concentrate on

If driving outskirts is not your cup of tea, you still have the Necklace Road and the Hussain Sagar lake to fall back upon, right in the heart of the city. The Necklace Road is a long road encircling the lake. With lawns overlooking the waterfront, it looks especially beautiful at night, when it is lit up.

There is also the Lumbini Park at the beginning of the road (on NTR Marg), a family place that is pretty crowded on weekends. The Tank Bund and the Necklace Road are good for aimless drives, but stationing your vehicle there while sitting in it may invite unfriendly cops - especially on Necklace Road. A P Tourism also offers rides on motorboats in the Hussain Sagar. This is quite fun in the nights when the lake looks like that ->! Only, at Rs. 75 a person, it is expensive too!

Hussain Sagar - glitter around the icon of serenity

So there. These are the places that you can take the lady to, places with a respectable ambience.

This is not a comprehensive list of parks in town, and you'd doubtless see some notable absences. Well, we're telling you where to go to.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Eating @ Noodle Bar / Bombay Blues

Noodle Bar / Bombay Blues
Hyderabad central
Punjagutta cross road

Tried out Bombay Blues and the food there was quite lousy. The sizzler, the nachos although world famous where quite bad. Bombay Blues is a place, I would not ever go back & eat at esp given that my expereince at Bombay Blues in Bangalore too was quite bad. Although friends who have eaten at the original bombay blues in its city of origin - bombay- found the expereince there quite good.

So, was initially hesitant to even try out Noodle Bar given that its run by the same company & they all share the same kitchen along with Copper Chimmney or so I presume. But the chinese soup @ bombay blues had been the only good dish, so in the interests of culinary discovery, decided to risk it. And, I'm really glad I did. I now eat at Noodle Bar at least once in 15 days.

The seating is oriental minimalistic, so if you have a back problem, then wait for one of the side tables to get free. Otherwise just seat yourself at the first available table.

Start out with the chicken steamed wanton with mushroom (149/-) The flavor is light & delicate. If you like your meals heavily spiced, then avoid this item. The Thai minced chicken salad (95) is pure meat decorated with 12 slivers of capsicum, so if you are looking for a dose of veggies in your salad, this ones not for you. But if you are looking for a light single item, this can serve as main course.

If you are in the mood for only soup, as I normally am, in the middle of winter, head straight for the broths. The half portions are an entire meal for people with a slightly healthy appetite. I'd love to see someone who can complete the full broth. If you can finish a full broth at one setting, then I might sponsor your broth : ) Try from the tom yum (thai spicy) the Miso (Japanese with soya) or the black pepper one. Priced about 75 for the half & 150 for full. The half can actually be split into 2 and it would still be more than other chinese restaurants serve in a soup.

you can even try out your own special combination (225). They hand you a paper with varieties of noodles, herbs, sauces, vegetables & meat. You chose, what you would like in your dish & the chef will rustle it up for you. Gives an entirely new twist to normal requests (like hold the tomato, or extra spicy please)

The sizzling chicken chilly (149) is also an entire meal with rice served along side. This is the best of the sizzlers that they serve in my book. The thai red chicken curry (159) is wonderful & coming from the southern coast, its comfort food for me. I have this when I'm missing mom's & grandmoms cooking & am too lazy to rustle it up myself. The rice is a little less given the quantity of gravy. (unlike ohris on the 3rd floor which gives too little gravy for the amount of rice in the dish) But you can order extra rice (39) and split the dish between 2 people, if you have had heavy starters.

One of my favorite restaurants in Hyderabad. The waiters now give me great service, but it could be a perk of being one of the regulars. Because if I remember right, service in the beginning wasnt too great.

A word of caution, if you are looking for Indian chinese then this isnt the place for you, head to Nanking...... (another of my favorites + he's got the new brighter space just opposite the original nanking, now if only v can do something about the taxi guy in that lane who blocks all the parking spaces.....)

Eating @ Big Byte Bakery

Big Byte Bakery
Sri Nagar Colony
2374 2471, 2373 7209

Big Byte is one of the better bakeries in Hyderabad. Not as good as Bakers Inn, but somewhere close. What a neo-hyderabadi must realise is that, bakeries in Hyderabad also serve as coffee shops. They are a progression of the Irani chai centres. So theres normally a large seating area and a lot of animated conversations happenning simultaneously at varius tables.

Big Byte is normally filled with a lot of college students who keep the atmosphere bright & peppy. They serve the normal savouries & sweets & also things like pizzas & burgers that are served fresh & hot. Pizzas (veg & non veg) range from 45-65 with an extra 10 for extra cheese. Burgers are in the 20-35 range. Sandwiches & cutlets (very tasty) are really reasonable at less than 15. Rolls are about 20 each.

There are also special snacks like chicken 65 (20/cup) tandoori chicken (25/piece) chicken drumstick (18/piece) chicken pie (12/piece) Do try the Chicken spring roll(20/-) thats is more indianised than the ones you get a chinese restaurants. The portions are small, but what else can you expect for these unbeatable prices. You can have your puffs hot at 10-15 bucks each & the pastry is really crisp/soft in thin layers.

Theres also a wide variety of pastries available. You can even order cakes by weight, ranging from 120/kg for a plain sponge cake to a chocolate chips n nuts for 300/kg. You can even have customised birthday cakes.

The food is tasty & great for end of the month days when the budget is tight because it is filling. They also do home deliveries for orders above 150/- call the above numbers for details.

Eating @ Minerva Coffee Shop

Minerva Coffee Shop
Amrutha Mall
2341 5910, 2340 4635

A vegetarian restaurant thats open trhough the day for snacks & sundry items.

Seating is plush. The restaurant has a wide open feel to it, which tends to suprise given its location. The bathrooms are in the process of being done up, so hopefully, they will improve soon.

Their lunch thali, is supposed to be good, but havent tasted it yet. The dosas (around 30/-) are amazing. Definitely try the dynamite chilli ginger chutney that goes with the dosas. The idlis are soft & fluffy, the vadas (26/-) crisp & comforting in a way.

If you go at lunch time, apart from south India snacks, you can also order from the Chinese section which includes items like Baby corn and black pepper (90/-)

They have a range of drinks including lassi (33) Ice cream sodas & milkshakes.

Nice place to catch up on evening tea, mid morning coffee or a late lunch.

Food 3.8, Service 3.8, Decor 3.5

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Drinking @ Coco's

Plot No 217
2nd Floor
Road No 2
Banjara Hills
Hyderabad 500 034
Ph : 2354 0600

Located opposite the KBR park, a lot has been written about the wonderful view from Coco's. Honestly, there's hardly anything that you can see once you reach there.

Its located on the terrace of the building which also houses, Shikaar, Tex Mex & Sundowner. The set up is neat. Its partly open air & the weather in Feb is ideal for this seating, late evenings. The seating is on bamboo based furniture & theres an artificial gravel kind of flooring in one section. The other section has more formalised tables which are more comfortable for eating. But if you want to relax & enjoy your drink, head to the bamboo section.

Music is played softly in the background. Theres an outstanding picture window behind th bar, which is lit from the outside, so you can see these tree branches, wherever you are seated.

This is the only open air, drinking hole, that I know of in Hyderabad. Crowd mix is between family types & friends catching up. Service is a little slow & you have to keep asking them for things like chutney, sauce & lime to go with the snacks you order. But the sheepish grin your request is accepted with, makes it kind of ok. Complimentary peanuts come with each round of drinks. BOB is around 120. Pint is 80. Cocktails in the 200 range. Mocktails a little lower. We stuck to beer.

Their kebabs are excellent. Definitely try the reshmi kebab. Or, if you are really hungry, order the kebab platter for 450/-. With 12 varieties of kebabs, 2 naans & dhal, its very worth it. They have a live grill section, on the rooftop itself, but we weren't in the mood. Anyone else try the grills @ Coco's ??? The Spinach stuffed mushrooms for 80/-, were a little bland & seemed like they had been defrosted just before frying. So, do stick to the kebabs. They do offer some items that are passable for dinner, but would advise dinner somewhere else.

All in all, it’s a nice place to catch a drink if you want a change from a noisy pub on a Sunday evening or if there's a little kid among the group that’s meeting up. But just stick to the kebabs.

Eating @ Tex Mex

Tex Mex
Plot No 217
2nd Floor
Road No 2
Banjara Hills
Hyderabad 500 034
Ph : 2354 0600

Located on the ground floor of coco's, the decor is still stuck on shikaar & so is the menu.

There are a couple of mexican items on the menu. Oops let me rephrase that. There are a couple of mexican names on the menu. If Ruby Tuesday ever saw what they serve here as Potato skins (110)..............

Tried the sopa de tortilla (60) which wasnt too bad & some chicken wings (100) that were only slightly better than what dominoes delivers & then we headed elsewhere to continue dinner.

It wasnt that the food was bad or not tasty. It just wasnt mexican. It was indian food with mexican names, not even a semblance of a cross cultural fusion. Plain & simple Indian, with a distinct leaning to punjabi cuisine. If you are looking for real tex mex food, take a trip to Bangalore & eat at the joint off commercial street. I cant remember the name right now, but the food there is fabulous, the one at forum mall in Bangalore cant compare to that mexican joint. can anyone help me with the name ?????

also heard theres a great mexican joint in chennai.....

When in delhi, head to ruby tuesday. Potato skins & a chocolate tall boy & you are ready to sleep like a baby.

OK im digressing all over the place, so will stop right here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Shilparamam: Festive Time

If its neighbour is distinguished as a centre of excellence in IT education, Shilparamam, a contrast in time and substance to the Cyber Towers, is memorable as a unique achievement in reviving and preserving centuries-old handicrafts and folk forms of theatre and dance. On display at the crafts village is the colourful and magnificent artistry of the countryside in all its splendour. The setting is exquisitely scenic and serene, encompassing 50 acres of greenery, millenia-old rock formations and undulating landscape. The vast expanse of land of this beautiful village is a gift of the Andhra Pradesh government to the South Zone Cultural Centre.

The entire project is conceived as an endless, year-round festival of arts and crafts showcasing the talents and the skills of the rural folk from all parts of the country. You enter the village through a majestic gateway flanked by two life-size terracotta horses. In sections specially provided for them, you can see craftsmen chiselling raw wood into objects of everlasting value, sculpting wonders from stone, harnessing metal into stunning images of gods and goddesses and weaving magic in cotton, silk and gold thread. These live demonstrations of artisanship bring back to the visitor pictures of a bygone era of Dhaka muslin, Kondapalli toys, Bankura horses, gudda-guddis of Punjab, temple arts and a motley of Indian arts and crafts forms which have survived the assaults of both the industrial and cyber revolutions. In short, a visit to the village is an unforgettable spiritual experience for the visitor.

As one visitor remarked: "The village was conceived with an idea to create an environment for the preservation of traditional crafts. A festival celebrated at Shilparamam is a ‘reincarnation of arts and crafts’ when artifacts, related functional skills and supportive traditions are presented in a manner connecting the boundaries between theatre, crafts, music, dance and poetry, each complementing the other."

Apart from demonstrating their skills, the craftsmen have set up shops, more than 450 of them, decorated in simple and rustic styles to sell the goods they make from textiles to artifacts and knick-knacks. The shops and most of the structures here are representative of rural aesthetics manifesting in thatched roofs, rangoli-carpeted floors and folk frescos and murals. You can buy textiles ranging from Tangail, Sambhalpur, Paithni, Kashmiri to Kanjeevaram, Dharmavaram, Tanjavur, Madurai, Peddapuram, Bandar, Guntur and other sarees. For the younger set, a wide collection of salwar kameezes, ghagaras, kurta pyjamas and dupattahs is available in unending variety of designs and patterns. All this is in your reach in a setting of rustic architecture, a centre-stage of cultures and a melting pot of traditions.

Among the men and women dedicated to a resurrection of the country’s centuries-old arts heritage can be found distinguished artisans who have won state and national awards. In one of the stalls, you can see a state award winner for ceramic painting and elsewhere a national award winner for Kota sarees. The father and grandfather of the artisan you see selling Bidriware are recipients of awards from the Karnataka government.

There is a breath-taking range of village theatre covering Tholu Bommalata, Burra Katha, Butta Bommalu, Puli Vesham and puppetry. There is an auditorium enriching the happiness of the visitor by featuring classical and folk music concerts, plays and magic shows. Shantiniketan's Subroto Basu has fashioned a rock garden here by blending his own rock collections with the natural and picturesque rock formations found in the village. There are lakes and inland waterways in the village flanked by lush green lawns on the one side and coconut groves on the other.You can pedal or paddle a boat on the lake. There are also places where the gourmet can taste ethnic food in traditional milieu.

Besides these thrills, the village organises special annual events like the festivals of arts and crafts in March, cultural shows at the time of Ugadi, Dasara and Sankranti. This is the most glorious time weatherwise in Hyderabad to visit the village and buy what you can and fancy, attend a music concert, see a dance recital and take a tour of the village through performances of several folk dance forms like Dappulu Dhimsa, Koya and Veeranatyam.

How to reach :
10H, 47K, 47S

Timings :
11:00 - 20:00

Ticketing :
Rs.10/- for adults
Rs 5/- for children

Salar Jung Museum: One-man Wonder

Salar Jung museum is the fantasy of an art visionary come to life which waited for its consummation for another great lover of art Jawaharlal Nehru to visit the historic city of the Quli Qutab Shahs and inaugurate it on 16 December, 1951 when the collections were hurriedly assorted and housed in Diwan Devdi, residence of the Salar Jungs. Every year a million visitors pay homage to this great repository of art and history. The priceless collections were moved in 1968 to a new site from the 100-year-old palace Dewan Devdi of the prime ministers. Legend has that the museum houses art collections of three generations of the Salar Jung family, beginning with Salar Jung, who was prime minister under

The incomparable treasures of the museum, consisting only of a part of the original collection, are an amazing amalgam of antiquity and modernity, the three Salar Jungs scouring continents for objets d'art and returning home with shiploads of artefacts. It is believed that during the colonial period a lot of the art wealth of the country was shipped to the metropolitan countries and the Salar Jungs are credited with bringing back some of it to enrich the collection. The museum represents, in popular belief, the largest one-man collections of the world. They reflect the stunning range of time and place of these treasures, some of them belonging to different civilisations and dating back to the first century and retrieved from nearly every nook and corner of the world. However, the chief architect of this great and magnificent congeries of art is believed to be Salar Jung III, i.e. Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali khan.

The museum is home to 43,000 art exhibits and 50,000 books collected from all over the world. Old timers believe that the present collection constitutes only half of the original art wealth amassed by Salar Jung III. His employees siphoned off part of it, since Salar Jung was a bachelor and depended upon his staff to keep a vigil. Some more art pieces were lost or stolen during the shifting of the museum from Dewan Devdi to the present site. The museum, declared an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1961, overlooks another landmark, the languid Musi, of the four hundred-year-old city founded by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah. This great treasure trove is a tribute to man's eternal quest for beauty and elegance, particularly India's remarkable cultural diversity and heritage.

The marvellous expose unveils the art heritage of India, Asia, Middle East and Europe and includes Persian carpets, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquer ware, sculpture, invaluable collections of jade, bronzes, enamelware, paintings, wood and inlay work from Tibet, Nepal and Thailand etc. There are Aurangzeb's sword, daggers belonging to empress Noor Jehan, emperors Jehangir and Shah Jehan, the turbans and chair of Tippu Sultan, furniture from Egypt, paintings etc. Among the sculptures stands out the world famous statue of Veiled Rebecca, her beautiful face hazily visible through; hold your breath, a marble but gossamer veil. The visitor may mistake it for a gorgeous woman draped in a wet garment. Equally captivating is a double-figure wood sculpture done by G.H. Benzoni, an Italian sculptor, in 1876. It stands before a mirror and shows the facade of a nonchalant Mephistopheles and the image of a demure Margaretta in the mirror.

A bewildering variety and array of clocks greets the visitor in the clock room. Seen are the ancient Sandiaers in the form of obelisks to huge and modern clocks of the twentieth century. Others in the range vary from miniature clocks which need a magnifying glass to imbibe their beauty and complexity to stately grandfather clocks from as far away as France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Britain. A visual delight is the musical clock Salar Jung bought from Cook and Kelvy of England, a virtual mechanical marvel. Every hour, a timekeeper emerges from the upper deck of the clock to strike a gong as many times as it is the hour of the day.

Other attractions are a gallery exclusively devoted to the celebrated family of the Salar Jungs, a children's section, a reference library and a section devoted to rare and ancient Arabic Urdu and Persian manuscripts, including a handwritten miniature Qoran. On display are unique mementos like the panegyric in Urdu presented to Sir Salar Jung and Nizam VI in memory of their visit to Delhi to witness the Imperial Proclamation of Queen Victoria in 1877. The first room houses the personal items of the Salar Jung household such as various mementoes received by the Salar Jungs, embroidered sherwanis and a commodious and arresting masnad (ceremonial throne-like chair used by Salar Jung III). In the room, you can also see a large portrait of Mir Yousuf Khan, the clothes of the nobility, their books and furniture and bric-a-brac.

Walking through the museum is walking through the ages of several civilisations, Indus, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Roman to name a few and is bound to disengage the visitor from the present, the current and the immediate and transport him to a world he is familiar with only through reading. Throughout your trek through the endless halls, rooms, galleries and corridors of the museum, you are in a daze.

Stunning is the jade room or gallery hosting items articulating the delicateness and elegance of jade, which is not found in India and believed to have been introduced during the Mughal rule. Though the stone is imported, the articles of jade on display in the gallery were all the handiwork of Indian artists. Jade, soft and lucent, was carved into handles for small daggers studded with precious stones and inlay work. A jade wine bowl you can see here is a thing of beauty, dainty and transparent. Also striking are the wine cups made of jade with leaf and flower motifs. You can also see small and cute jade platters which at one time adorned the dining tables of the Salar Jungs.The jade collection also includes a jade stand of Altamash (1209-10 A.D); fruit knife of Mughal empress Noorjehan (17th century); hunting knife of emperor Jehangir; an inscribed archery ring of emperor Shah Jehan done in dark green jade (17th century).

The textile gallery is a depository of Indian textile art in cotton, silk and wool, dominated by a collection of brocades woven with silver and gold thread and the world-famous Kashmiri shawls. Gold and zari add to the value of the embroidery, which showcases also phulkari embroidery work from Punjab. An entire rich and brick-coloured cotton expanse disappears behind a fine façade of intricately woven silk thread in a burst of colours.

You can also see glassware from England, Austria, Ireland, France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and Turkey besides glassware belonging to Ming and Ching periods. Manuscripts on show include the great Arabic Al Quran in Nashq done by Yakut-al-Must’sami bearing the autographs of Moghul emperors, Jehangir, Shahjehan and Aurangzeb; Roudat-ul-Muhabbin by Amir Hussaini Saadat (1379 A.D.); Urdu poetic composition Diwan-e-Mohamed Quli Qutub Shah (1595 A.D.) done by Quli Qutub Shah himself acquired from the Golconda Royal Library.

There is the Ivory Room resplendent with intricately carved items and articles among which worthy of mention are chess sets, statuettes, painted objects done by using the cutaway technique. About the technique an article appearing in the Hindustan Times says, “Here the ivory is first carved with a lacy surface design. The space behind it is cut away till the design shows up like a screen. And further carving continues at deeper levels of the ivory. The object then acquires a trellis-like case and the forms within forms are created out of a single piece of ivory.”

Every form of art in its ancient glory finds its representation in the museum. Statuary includes a standing Buddha image of limestone from Nelakondapalli (2nd or 3rd century A.D.); Mukhalinga from Kausambi (4th or 5th century A.D.); Ananthasayi Vishnu with his ten avatars carved on top (12th century A.D., Kakatiyaa, Warangal); Jain, Buddhist and Hindu bronzes dating back to later Pallava and Chola periods and the two most famous exhibits of the museum – the Veiled Rebecca and a sycamore wood carwing portraying a double statue of Mephistopheles and Margaretta. The mammoth collection includes paintings such as “Soap Bubbles” by Fransesco Hayez of Italy; “Piazzo of San Marco” by Antonio Canaletto (1697-1768) and “Venice” by Marc Aldine of Italy. Pottery items range from Dresden (Germany), Sevres (France), Capodimonte (Italy) to Wedgewood and English porcelain.

In short, the museum is a standing monument to the artistic genious of mankind throughout the space-time spectrum.

How to reach :
2, 8, 9, 72

Timings :
10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Closed on Friday.

Ticketing :
Rs. 10/- for Indians
Rs. 150/- for Foreigners

Qutub Shahi Tombs

A little away from Golconda fort are a cluster of tombs, the most authentic evidence of the Qutub Shahi architectural traditions. Ensconced amidst picturesque and landscaped gardens, known as Ibrahim bagh, is the grandeur of these tombs dedicated to the memory of the seven Qutub Shahi kings who ruled Golconda for nearly 170 years. These constitute the most eloquent specimens of Indo-Persian architecture influenced by Deccani structural perceptions. The total impact of this fusion is the emergence of a distinct Qutub Shahi school marked by ostentation of arches, domes, minarets and columns. These architectural tendencies began surfacing in the time of Ibrahim Qutub Shah and reached their climax in the reign of Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah. The tombs are also an unequivocal manifestation of the structural engineering talent of the Qutub Shahi period.

The tombs still retain their original glory despite the combined assault of time, weather and man. The mausoleums of the rulers of Golconda and the founder of Hyderabad city are a standing tribute to their artistic fervour and constitute a storehouse of history. In the complex known as the Qutub Shahi tombs are buried others too who were either the close relatives of the rulers or nobles who served them faithfully. Prominent among these other tombs is the one erected in the memory of Hayath Bakshi Begum, daughter of the illustrious Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah, founder of Hyderabad city and the man who built the masonry colossus Charminar.

Most of the larger tombs are double storeyed while the smaller ones have single storeys. This large and close group of royal sepulchres stands on a raised plateau, each one of them erected on a wide quadrangular terrace reached from all sides by flights of steps. From the plinth to the peak, the mausoleums are marked by symmetry in arches and arcades. At the centre of each tomb is a sarcophagus crowning the burial vault and the crypt below. Several of the green and blue tiles adorning the many domes are missing now, a sad commentary on our sense of history.

Almost all the tombs are quadrangular and rise from nine to 15 metres above the terrace, surrounded by balustrades with beautiful minarets at the corners. The complex has around 30 tombs while a few can be found outside its compound. Salar Jung I undertook restoration of these tombs, which were in a state of disrepair and ensured that a protective wall was built to ward off vandals. The tombs are in two large quadrangular enclosures, the first of which houses the mausoleums of Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah, Ibrahim Quli, Jamsheed Quli, Sultan Quli and Kulsoom begum, daughter of Muhammed Qutub Shah. In another quadrangle are the tombs of Muhammed Qutub Shah, Hayath Bakshi Begum, Taramathi and Premamathi, the last two being the favourite courtesans of Abdullah Qutub Shah whose tomb is outside of the quadrangles.

Though people try to grade the beauty of these tombs, each of them is a match to the other in architectural grandeur, though not in size. The modest among them are the tombs of Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk, founder of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and his son Jamsheed Quli Qutub Shah. The tomb of the founder, who built it himself during his lifetime, is marked by simplicity and symmetry in design and stands on a platform of 30 metres on each side. Its walls and dome measure 12 metres from the plinth while its ramparts have Bahmani style bouquets, four on each side of the tomb. Its inside is octagonal, each side as wide as 10 metres. An inscription outside the tomb says that people always referred to Sultan Quli Qutub Shah as Bada Saheb.

Although small in size, the tomb of Jamsheed is octagonal and extremely well proportioned and imposing, standing as it does on a high quadrangular platform. It is the only tomb where black basalt has not been used in its construction. It also does not have any inscription. Jamsheed’s son Subhan Quli ruled only for seven months and there is no separate tomb for him.

One of the biggest tombs belongs to Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, who started the tradition of erecting magnificent structures in the city. His tomb, like others in the complex, is quadrangular with two rows of five arches on each side crating the illusion of a double storeyed building. Above each arch is a balustrade of small arches at the four corners. One can find vestiges of the enamelled glory of these tombs on the upper arches of this tomb. Ibrahim’s tomb has two graves in the main chamber and 16 on the terrace. On all the sides of the sarcophagus are inscriptions in Tulth. It may be mentioned that the most celebrated calligraphers Isphalan, Ismail and Taqiuddin, whose contribution to the wealth of inscriptions on Qutubshahi edifices is legendary, were all contemporaries of Ibrahim Shah.

The tomb of founder of Hyderabad Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah is easily the most impressive, rising to a height of 42.5 meters with a large dome and 28 open arches on each side. The tomb is built on a two-tiered terrace designed to look like a captivating gallery with false openings and with two central pillars. One finds also a feature so conventional to Islamic sepulchural architecture, that is, rich ornamental parapets with minarets at the corners. The founder’s grave is in the vault in the middle of the plinth at the lower level of the terrace, reached by a flight of steps. Another impressive mausoleum is that of Mohammed Qutub Shah, son-in-law of Muhammed Quli. The last of the royal tombs belongs to Abdullah Qutub Shah.

There are several other tombs which belong to non-ruling members of the royal families. At the entrance of the first enclosure is that of Fatima Sultan, sister of Muhammed Qutub Shah. Between Muhammed Quli’s and Jamsheed’s tomb in the second enclosure is the mausoleum of Kulsoom Begum, Mohammed Qutub’s grand daughter. Other tombs belong to Taramathi and Premamathi, Muhammed Neknam Khan, who served Abdullah’s army, Fatima Khanum, one of Abdullah’s daughters. The latter’s tomb like that of her father is outside the two enclosures and the only one which has no dome. There is also the tomb of the great sufi saint Husain Wali, the man who built Husain Sagar, bridging Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Hayat Bakshi’s beautiful tomb is heralded by a stone tank with a fountain in the middle. The mausoleum befits the status she had enjoyed in statecraft. The mausoleum stands on a terrace, two metres above the ground and is reached by a flight of steps. On its four sides are corridors made up of arcades of seven pointed arches each. Between the dome and the first terrace is a smaller structure with five closed arches on each of the four sides. The parapets on the entabulature of this mausoleum resemble those of the Toli masjid.

The neighbourhood of the tombs has many vestiges of history, the chief among them being Toli masjid. Built by Musa Khan, a chamberlain of Abdullah Quli Qutub Shah in 1671, the masjid is a marvel in stone replicating the Qutub Shahi architectural tradition of blending arches, domes and columns to spectacular effect. Arches, and minarets are conspicuous features of the construction of this great mosque, while a series of consoles supports the entabulature.

The parapets on the roof comprise of a row of miniature arches with perforated screens of different designs. There are ramparts above the roof separated by six small minarets. The interior of the mosque is reached through a great foyer with five impressive arches resting on squat columns. The inner space consists of two small halls between which is positioned a bigger hall providing for mehrab highlighted by floral and stucco decorations. On both sides of the mehrab are arches with inscriptions on them.

In the middle of the ceiling of the inner central hall is a huge stucco lotus with eight petals. Two minarets, each 20 feet tall, stand like faithful sentinels of the mosque. They are an excellent example of the synthesis of Hindu and Muslim architectural usages. From the roof to their peak, the minarets reveal heavy ornamentation and four graceful balconies. There is an inscription showing that Musa Khan had built it.

How to reach :
65S, 80S, 80P, 142S

Timings :
A Museum on site exhibits weapons, armour, and utensils of the Qutub Shahi period. (11:00 -17:00).
Schedule: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Closed on Fridays

Ticketing :
Rs 2/-

Paigah Tombs: Marvel in Marble

The Paigah tombs, though a recent discovery, date back to the late eighteenth century and embody unparalleled grace and elegance in marble. Though these stunning tombs are strewn over 30-40 acres, tombs of the Paigahas who had married daughters of the Nizams and their spouses are confined to a two-acre site. It is this enclosure which is now known as Paigah tombs. The Paigah nobles were very close to the Nizams and very powerful and influential, taking care of the security and defence of the state.

The bonds between the Nizams and the Paigah nobility strengthened with the marriage of Fakhr-ud- din Khan with the daughter of the second Nizam. Fakr-ud-din’s descendants married daughters of other Nizams and consequently, in protocol, the Paigahs were considered next only to the Nizams. The tombs are a series of mausoleums built for these Paigahs and immediate members of their families. These structures are specimens of remarkable artistry showing itself off in exquisite inlaid msaic work. Local people claim that the geometrical patterns of the sculptural features of these tombs are unique and not found anywhere in the world.

Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung founded the Paigah nobility and was rendering service to the second Nizam, who ruled between 1760 and 1803. The Nizam conferred on him the title of Shams-ul-umra, meaning the sun among the masses. Tegh Jung was buried in 1786 at the entrance of the complex, now known as Paiga tombs. An iron plaque at the entrance of the complex traces the Paigah lineage and eulogises the marble magnificence of the mausoleums. The Paigahs were also great patrons of arts, literature and sports and commanded the respect of the rulers and the people.

The delicately carved mausoleums, enclosed in pierced marble facades, commemorate generations of Paigah nobles and are regarded as the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture, imbibimg at the same time features of the Asaf Jah and Rajputani styles. A majestic and stately gateway, a double storeyed structure, heralds the tourist’s journey of the mausoleum complex. Above the cornices of the building rise imposingly bulbous turrets embodying sculptural grace and gaiety.

Only classical poetry can do justice to the breathtakingly beautiful structures of the Paigah mausoleums, some of which have elaborate canopies which again rivet the tourist’s attention to the dazzling craftsmanship they embody. Outstanding among them is the canopy of the tomb of the Amir-e-Kabir. Some of the tombs have a rectangular marble fence done in trellis-work made up of a variety of geometrical and floral designs. Each of the four flanks forming the rectangular fence has different motifs. The canopy is supported by pillars which recall images of Hindu temple pillars.

Between the entabulature supporting the canopy and the pillars are several arches fringed again by smaller semicircular arches, a feature unique to Indian arches. The tourist can also find an ostrich egg suspended over Amir-e-Kabir’s tomb, a sign believed to be associated with royalty. On the sides of the tombs are inscriptions in Arabic, likely to be excerpts from Islamic scriptures. The architecture of all the tombs is rich in flowerage and foliage motifs, characteristic of Mughal architecture.

Another tomb which has a magnetic impact on the tourist is that of Sir Asman Jah, on which the sculptor has mounted intricately etched semi-precious stone imported from Italy. The stone is presumed to change colours according to the vagaries of seasons, green when it rains, white in winter and yellow in the sun. Its green resembles jade. The tombs manifest a stunning fusion of Turkish, Greek, Islamic and Rajaputana schools of architecture. The primacy given to detail and embellishment is striking to the extreme.

A series of courtyards houses these tombs enclosed by walls sporting a wealth of lattice work and exotic designs, floral and geometric. Competing with each other to catch the eye of the tourist are geometrical designs done in stucco work on the entrances, the great rosewood doors enriched by intricate lattice work and the details on the tombs. Each wall has different designs in carved marble, some resembling pineapples, drums and serpents, not to mention arched alcoves. Several of the walls flaunt designs of flower vases out of which emerge a variety of flowers.

Another feast for the tourists’ eyes is Begum Khurshid Jah’s tomb, done in marble and inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones, several of them gouged by vandals. Set against the milk-white of the marble, the stones shine in blue, green, yellow and orange. Knowledgeable people compare this tom to the tomb of Shah Jehan in Taj Mahal. It is surprising how these superb treasures remained undiscovered till recently.

How to reach :

Timings :
Information is not available.

Ticketing :
Information is not available.

Osmania University: Epic in Granite

Being one of the earliest centres of learning in the South is not the sole distinction of Osmania University. Its eminence is unparalleled in educational architecture in the country and that attracts as many tourists as its academic facilities attract students. Five kilometres of drive from the centre of Hyderabad City brings you through a tree-flanked avenue to a vast pastoral plaza paying tribute to the 2.5 lakh square foot imposing Arts College building, nucleus of Osmania University's 1,500-acre campus, housing a cluster of equally beautiful and impressive buildings of other faculties.

The Arts College edifice is a synonym for architectural uniqueness unspoilt by the arrival of new fangled architectonics. Overlooking the landscape gardens is this majestic structure reached by two flights of wide granite stairs converging and stopping before its awe-inspiring portal that at once is a more eloquent statement on secularism than any other political manifesto. This stately granite giant, an articulate specimen of later Osman Shahi architecture, combines the archetypal characteristics of the Hindu temple styles with those of the Saracenic. Inlaid into this unique form are motifs of medieval Moslem, Arabic, Moorish and even Gothic schools of architecture.

The Arts College was originally Osmania University itself and from here starts a bio-spiritual journey into the world of art and aesthetics revealing itself in sculptured granite. The visitor is mesmerised by the innards of the great welcome arch built in dressed granite, seemingly supported by two soaring, round and polished granite columns. This vertical oblong stands out from the facade and rises higher than the sidewalls and wings of the structure. It is crowned by a trefoil arch, which peaks higher than the walls of the edifice to either side of the portal. The arch houses a semicircular vault with stalactites, resulting in a synthesis of several major architectural themes of iwan, arch and monumental portal.

According to Dr M. Radhakrishna Sarma, a former professor at Osmania's Department of Ancient Indian History and Archaeology, “Modelled after the Persian Pishtaq or the portal found in madarasas and mosques of medieval period, the huge portal is a triumphal arch that extends a splendid and pressing welcome into a sacred interior." To the right and left of the great arch are two double-storeyed colonnaded galleries, each a mirror replica of the other. The entablatures of the first floor are supported on octagonal pillars typical of columnar architecture found in Ellora and Ajanta caves. The second floor balconies are arcaded and flaunt trellised balustrades in a manner similar to the first floor balconies.

Once you leave the frontal arched portal, you step into a magnificent foyer, which unveils the real wealth of architectural diversity of the Arts College building. In front of you and beyond the shining, sprawling floor in pink terrazzo is again another two-pronged stairway presided over by a great window that at one time was the biggest stained glass window next in size only to the window at Medak church. The foyer has four internal balconies on its four sides, forming a kind of squarish halo above the ground floor. These galleries are supported by 24 ornamental pillars, representative of the best Hindu architectural styles, fluted in parts and crowned by amalaka capitals.

If you stand in the centre of the foyer and look up, a strikingly grandiose dome greets you. Islamic in conception and double-decked in structure, the dome’s first deck looks circular to view but has sixteen sides and the second deck, a downward extension of the first, has sixteen niched windows corresponding to each of the sides of the first deck. Three flights of banistered stairs, one to the left of the foyer, another to the right and a third overlooking the foyer lead to the first floor which is a replica of the ground floor plan with minor departures.

This floor has four balconies, all with parapets forming a huge square making the foyer look like a well. “The arcades around the open courtyard, the ornate parapets of the first floor, all of the same dimensions and of Moorish variety give a mirror like effect, again a characteristic of medieval Islamic architecture,” says Sharma who has made a deep study of the Arts College architecture.

Another distinction of the architects and planners of the Arts College building is that all the pink shade granite stone used to build the great building came from quarries within the campus area. Equally beautiful are the Library and Engineering College buildings, less ornate, less baroque and less complex and yet imposing and striking. The Library building is built on what is known as Senate Hall hill because originally the architects planned to build the Senate Hall here. Visitors can take time off from their tour of granite structures and relax in the aesthetically laid out Landscape Gardens, which often is rendezvous for adolescent romance.

Next to the three presidency universities and Delhi University, Osmania is the largest university in the country with ten faculties, 52 departments, 500 plus campus constituent or affiliated colleges offering courses at all levels ranging from the diploma, degree to the doctoral and the post-doctoral. It has 1,500 teachers on its rolls and around three lakh students, 300 among them being foreigners. Osmania started off as the first university in the country where the teaching medium is not English, but an Indian language (Urdu). Another distinction of Osmania is its Astronomy department and more especially of its observatory of international standards which again is the second largest observatory in the country.

Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last of the Nizams, after whom the university was named, said at the opening of the Arts College building “God be praised that this gorgeous edifice is now ready. This structure has no parallel in the world or in India for beauty, grandeur and nobility. The architectural style of the Arts College is like the Urdu language, the manifestation of the Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture and its façade, its pillars and its portals portray the culture an arts of the two people.” To describe the magnificence of the Arts College is bound to end up as a treatise on architecture.

The great granite structure, which reveals such architectural extravaganza, conceals a lot of history of the romance of conceiving, planning and building this elegance in stone. It was the work of Ali Raza and Zain Yar Jung. Sir Patrick Geddes selected the present site of the university and soon the two eminent architects of the State Ali Raza and Zain Yar Jung took off in 1930 on an extensive tour of nearly the entire world to study the various schools of educational architecture. The tour began at Madras from where the duo went to Colombo and then to Japan where they visited University of Osaka and from there sailed to the west of the United states.

For three months, they toured the States studying the architectural styles of older universities like Princeton, Harvard and Yale and the more recent campuses of California, Stanford and New York. From America, they journeyed to England where they studied the architectural niceties of older universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburough and Manchester and also visited buildings under construction of the universities of Kingston, Birmingham and Leeds. Their itinerary took them to Europe where they visited the campuses of Sorbonne, Heidelberg, Munich and Berlin and Austria. They rounded up their tour with visits to Egypt and Turkey to observe Islamic architectural styles.

To sum up in Ali Raza’s words: “In the construction of all Osmania buildings, motifs from different historical periods were borrowed and were made into a harmonious blending. The pillars were modelled on pillars from Ajanta and Ellora caves. The arches were modelled on the arches from the monuments at Delhi, Agra and Charminar and the Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad. In some places, arches and pillars in the styles of Arabia have been constructed. In this way, we have purposely ignored the modern architecture of (Lutyen’s) Delhi.”

In short, the Arts College building is a torrent of architectural glory unleashed on the spectator, a freeze on history, an epic in granite, and a marvel of a visual difficult to denote.

How to reach :
3, 6, 136, 252

Timings :
Any Time

Ticketing :
No Tickets required