Rahul, Shakila and I went to the old city of Hyderabad today. Shakila grew up in the old city so we were thrilled that she would be our guide.
First stop was the Chowmahalla Palace which was the residence of the Nizam who ruled much of Southern India for centuries. It is complete with outrageous chandeliers, a marble throne and a huge fountain. Originally it was 45 acres, today it is 14 acres. There are Mughal domes and arches and there are many Persian influences as those are the roots of the tribe from which the Nizam originates. In one hall there were many photos and, lo and behold, in many of the photos there were pictured descendants of the Jung family, the name of the man that I’d met in the art gallery! In fact, it looks as though a relation of his had initiated construction of the Palace in 1750. An influential name in these parts, indeed!
We also viewed the famous Charminar, listed among the most recognized sculptures of India. It is widely accepted that Charminar was built to commemorate the eradication of plague.
Shakila showed us bangle shops and pearl shops in the tight, congested roads of the old city where the vendors will do anything to get your attention. It was exhausting just to ignore their efforts.
On the way home we picked up some Biryani (a rice dish, one of Rahul’s favorites!) that Shakila had recommended. Then the three of us headed to our cottage to dine. The Biryani was outstanding and the palak dish (spinach) was also very delicious. The perfect punctuation to a long day of sensational sensory stimulation.