Saturday, March 21, 2009

Birla Temple

Birla Temple, HyderabadThe industrialists Birlas have built temples all around the country in most major cities. The Birla temple in Hyderabad is also one such temple established by the Birla Trust. The temple sits atop one of the highest hillocks in the city, adjoining the Hussainsagar Lake.

When you enter the lane near the Reserve Bank of India, you see stalls lining both sides of the lane in what can now be called as typical Indian Temple Gateway style. As you enter, there is a small book store, water facility and parking to the right and a place to remove your chappals, mobiles (which are not allowed) and any other electronic devices (Cameras etc.) on the left. Next, you are led up towards the top through a criss cross route that has a few idols of different gods on the way to the top. There is a place here which has inscribed teachings of various religions put up in the marble on the walls. No matter how crowded the place is, there are some places in the temple that are always empty and where you can sit serenely and enjoy the beautiful surrounds of this place. The timings for Darshan are limited and hence the temple is usually full of people. The views of the surrounds are also worth the upwards trek to the top of the hillock.
Birla Planetarium and Science Center, Hyderabad
A short walk ahead from the Birla Temple is the Birla Science Center and Birla Planetarium. This place is at quite some height and from the back of the Birla Planetarium, one can actually view the cricket stadium where ICL matches are being played in Hyderabad. The science center is a must go for kids and young adults. Whereas the planetarium is a must go for viewers of all ages. In the heat of Hyderabad, when I first visited the planetarium, I slept blissfully. It’s an AC planetarium with the whole show projected on the inside of a round dome. The visuals are beautiful, albeit a bit old. In order to view the show, the chairs are more like well constructed beds as the show is projected at the ceiling of the dome.

Both the science center and the planetarium are very picturesque places that are very quiet and serene. There are not too many people who visit these huge places and it’s a lot of fun to explore them precisely because of that.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hussainsagar Lake, Hyderabad

Hussainsagar Lake Panorama The Hussainsagar Lake lies in the heart of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. This sprawling lake was built in the 16th century by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali during the rule of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah on a tributary of the Musi river to suffice the irrigation needs of the city of Hyderabad. The photograph above shows a panoramic view of the city as seen from the lake. Courtesy : Wikipedia.
Hussainsagar LakeA huge monolith statue of Gautam Buddha sits in the middle of the lake which is amazingly well maintained. The water might stink at all times, but the surrounds of the lake are very well maintained. This photograph has been taken from the Lower Tank Bund side of the lake which has the famous Missamma temple, the sprawling Indira Park, Bharat Sevashram Sangha and Ramakrishna Mission.
Hussainsagar Lake The surrounds of this beautiful lake are replete with landmarks. As seen in the photograph above, the Prasads IMAX theatre, one of the largest IMAX theatres in Asia is in the background of the lake. The Andhra Pradesh Secreteriat Building, Birla Mandir aka Sri Venkateswara Temple, Lumbini Park - named so after the birthplace of Gautam Buddha etc. are on the Southern side of the lake. The Northern border consists of Secunderabad Sailing Club, Sanjeevaiah park, Hotel Marriott and Hazrat Saidani Ma Saheba tomb. Both these sides are connected with the Lower Tank Bund road on the Eastern bank of the lake and the Necklace Road on the Western bank.
Hussainsagar LakeThe recently built Necklace Road and the Tank Bund are beautiful at night and turn into perfect places for rendezvous for relaxation and romance. The Necklace Road is now much sought after by trade and industry for holding consumer melas and by the government to stage frequent cultural shows and programmes open to public.
Hussainsagar Lake The entire Hussain Sagar complex comprising parks, statuary, recreation spots etc. was the created by one of India’s most renowned architect Charles Correa who also visualized the Buddha Poornima project.
Hussainsagar Lake The 18-metre high and 350-tonne monolith of Gautam Buddha in the middle of the lake stands on what is called as the Rock of Gibralter. There are two floating decks which run regularly between Lumbini Park and the statue.
Loony Trivia:
The first time this huge monolith was ferried to the middle of the lake, it broke down and the statue sank to the bottom of the lake. Two years later, it was taken out and again installed at what is now referred to as the Rock of Gibralter.
The Hussainsagar Lake is wonderfully well created, well maintained and is the ideal spot for on the spur picnics, long drives, having food and snacks, for a romantic evening with your partner and also for enjoying the breeze late at night.
I used to live in Hyderabad in a flat that had a view of this beautiful lake and the breeze from it helped our sleep during the hot Hyderabadi summer nights.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rajdhani : Gujarati Restaurant in Hyderabad

Rajdhani - Ek Khandani Parampara

Located at : Above Big Bazaar, Ameerpet

This chain restaurant is not just restricted to Hyderabad, but is spread out all over the major cities of India. Rajdhani restaurant serves only thalis - a full platter of Gujarati food that contains everything - from Farsan to Dal-Rice.

A typical thali will have atleast three different farsans served with one or two sweet dishes, 2-3 different subzis and a choice of Phulka Roti, Thepla, Bajra Roti in the first course. The variety of Farsans on offer is large and same goes for the sweets. You can also have the Sweet Roti - Puran Poli aka Vedmi that is one of Gujarat's specialty, if you are lucky. Later, you can have buttermilk or chhaas as we call it with Aamras if its summers. At times the management serves the Baflo too - that is a drink made out of unripe mangoes - kachi keri specially in Gujarat and is said to protect one against the heat.

The final course consists of Daal, Rice, Khichadi, Kadhi with Ghee to add. Though I am ready to bet that by the time it comes to it one is so full of food that you will be having the smallest morsels possible.

The other specialty of this restaurant is the method of processing Phulka rotis. In unlimited meals, usually items are mass produced. A Phulka Roti is very difficult to mass produce. The Rajdhani management have specifically gotten a system of stoves made up that will help them mass produce Phulka Rotis.

Remember to have the Smoked Chhaas if possible. It is a chhaas that will have the flavor of burnt coal as it will be processed using it. Don't worry, its perfectly hygienic though.

The waiters in Rajdhani serve a lot of different items and you will be surprised at their speed and promptness. All Rajdhani joints across the country have a staff that is trained to use hand movements to order food from their colleagues. If you observe them working, you will realise that they call and get the food to your plate without using a single word, just by waving their hands and doing different actions.

Finally, when it is time to leave after having your fill with Gujarati food, don't forget to tong the plate at Rajdhani- Pizza Hut style.

Gujarati Food in Hyderabad

Being a Gujarati has its benefits. Whether you are travelling in Mahabaleshwar, Matheran or Mount Abu, you will never be short of Gujarati Food. The dhoklas, theplas, khakhras and undhiyu are all famous and found, not just in Gujarat but just as much outside Gujarat. In India, most tourist places have hotels that serve Gujarati food. The reason being that most tourists are Gujarati.

Hyderabad too is not short of places offering Gujarati food, and here we will be listing some of those places. Though some of the places do not exactly serve Gujarati food, but they are definitely places worth going and eating at for any Gujarati and hence they are also recommended.

1. Rajdhani Restaurant

Located at : Above Big Bazaar, Ameerpet

This chain restaurant is not just restricted to Hyderabad, but is spread out all over the major cities of India. Rajdhani restaurant serves only thalis - a full platter of Gujarati food that contains everything - from Farsan to Dal-Rice.Check this post on Gujarati Food in Hyderabad for more.

Restaurant Report
Ambience : 6/10
Food: 10/10
Price: 6/10
Quantity: 8/10

2. Bombay Vihar

Located at: Lifestyle mall, Begumpet

This restaurant serves superb ethnic food. It serves pure vegetarian Gujarati food, Rajasthani food and even Marathi food. The Dal Baati is something that I had tried a few times at this hotel. It was just about alright. The quantity in the food that they serve is very less. Other than that the food is top class. The ambience is also very good.

Restaurant Report
Ambience : 8/10
Food: 8/10
Price: 6/10
Quantity: 6/10

3. Shriji Food - Ameerpet

This restaurant is located at some distance in the lane opposite to Lifestyle, which goes into Ameerpet from under the fly over. this restaurant is located in an open space behind a multi storey building. Shriji, though attracts the most visitors, most of them youngsters living away from home. This restaurant serves food that is not necessarily gujarati food, but has a home made flavour to it and most importantly, it serves Phulka rotis. The most important food items that you will have to eat at this hotel are Bhindi Subzi, Dal Tadka with Phulka Rotis. The Bhindi Subzi comes in two different varieties. You can try both, though I loved the fried Bhindi variety more. The Jeera Aloo that they serve is also truly sumptous. They also serve a huge quantity of yoghurt if you order and it is also very tasty indeed.

4. Kaka nu Tiffin

Finally, I will come to the Gujarati Food option that we resorted to in Hyderabad. we ordered a tiffin from a Gujarati uncle who brought us the sometimes sumptous, the sometimes shitty Gujarati food from his own home. His phone number is 9290750388. Basically from Rajkot, Kaka as we call him is a true Swaminarayan from Saurashtra and is always fun to talk to.

Restaurant Report
Ambience : 10/10 - At home :-)
Food: 7/10
Price: 7/10
Quantity: 7/10

5. Punju Kaka

When we were bored of the Gujju uncle's food, we used to head towards the Punjabi Uncle's Dhaba. This small joint is located in the Lane opposite to Pantaloons, Begumpet. Its near the Bangalore Iyengar Bakery in that lane. The uncle here serves sumptous stuffed parathas. They were the best stuffed parathas that I had eaten till I recently visited Chaitanya's in Pune. An Aloo paratha costs 12 bucks, Gobi paratha was 15 and so was the Paneer paratha. Other than these uncle served atleast 2 to 3 different subzis and daal as well as rice and biryani. A simple paratha and a simple roti was also available. The prices were fixed per item and you can have what you please.

The joint is a very small, cramped place with place for barely 7-8 people inside at a time. The food is best as a takeaway.

Restaurant Report
Ambience : 5/10
Food: 8/10
Price: 7/10
Quantity: 7/10

Any of you still searching for good eating joints, restaurants and hotels in Hyderabad, just ping me, I will try my best to help you out.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chutneys Restaurant Hyderabad

Chutneys Restaurant, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
Chutneys, Hyderabad is not just an ordinary restaurant. Its an institution that by far churns out the best South Indian cuisine in Hyderabad. The idlis are mouth watering, the dosas sumptous and the four chutneys they serve with these dishes are manna from heaven. For anyone visiting Hyderabad, Chutneys is another must visit hotel.

Located on the busy Road No 3, Banjara Hills, this hotel has an uninspiring facade, but the long wait for a meal will make you realise its true popularity. The ambience is definitely not worth taking your girl friend out, but the food at this restaurant more than makes up for it.

Restaurant Report
Ambience : 6/10
Food: 10/10
Price: 6/10
Quantity: 8/10

What it serves best?
Basically all South Indian dishes are sumptous. The South Indian menu is very short and simple at this restaurant and they also serve Chinese, Punjabi food here. But that is definitely not recommended. You can have the South Indian thali or go for my personal favourites. The "Steamed Dosa", said to be prepared specially for Tollywood star Chiranjeevi is a must have. Its a low calorie version of the dosa. The "Babai Idli" of Vijaywada is another specialty where the pour hot Ghee and Karam powder over the normal idlis. The "Four Uttapams" is also a personal favourite. An Uttapam is divided into four pieces like a pizza and all four pieces are stuffed and prepared differently, giving you four different Uttapam flavours in one.

All in all, this restaurant serves the best breakfast in town and the best South Indian cuisine in Hyderabad. For more reviews of this hotel you can visit MouthShut or Burrp.

P.S. - I hope I can get the photographs too soon.

Hyderabad MMTS Routes and Information

The MMTS or Multi Modal Transport System in Hyderabad is essentially the local train system of Hyderabad, started as a part of the South Central Railway. But for anyone who has lived in Mumbai and travelled in its chaotic trains, the Hyderabad MMTS will come as a fresh breath of air. The trains are efficient, well built, clean, roomier and much very less crowded too. And just like Mumbai does, they decrease the travel time in a big way at nominal fares. Just like Mumbai, a common pass for both the APSRTC and Hyderabad MMTS is issued by the authorities to facilitate the commuters.

Unlike Mumbai though, the city of Hyderabad has train lines running all around its circular spread. This makes it important to board the right train at the right time. The map of the tarin routes is present on the MMTS website itself and so is the timetable.

Hyderabad MMTS is a boon for people travelling to distant areas like Madhapur, Gachibowli, Hi Tec City etc.

For all enquires about Hyderabad MMTS, call 139.

Hyderabad Bus Routes

Bus Routes of some of the major buses in and around the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are copied here. The Andhra Pradesh government has most of its information on websites and I found this out from one such site only. I will also be posting the Hyderabad MMTS timetable here for reference later.

This timetable is for buses that ply in and around the city of Hyderabad. If you want to go to some other city by the state transport A.C. Luxury buses - A.P.S.R.T.C. buses, you can go here for the timetable and routes.

A few other site links where similar information about Hyderabad's local buses is posted :

A Blog on Hyderabad

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Website

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hyderabadi Biryani at Paradise

Hyderabadi Biryani The Hyderabadi Biryani is the epitome of Hyderabadi cuisine. Anyone visiting Hyderabad, no matter for how long, must savour this dish at its famed restaurant. The cooking of a biryani is a complex procedure better explained here in this cooking blog.

Paradise Restaurant
The Paradise restaurant in Secunderabad is one of the best places to have your Biryani in Hyderabad. This restaurant started from a small shop and currently has three stories of the same building to itself, most of which are full throughout the year. The food at Paradise, inspite of all the fame it has, is fair priced and big on quantity. Personally, I believe that the price is one of the basic reasons for its enduring popularity.

Restaurant Report
Ambience : 6/10
Food: 8/10
Price: 7/10
Quantity: 8/10

What it serves best?

A Chicken Tikka Kebab starter followed by a Hyderabadi Biryani ending with a typical hyderabadi dessert, which is made up of Vanilla ice cream topped with apricot puree makes up the best food at Paradise.

For vegetarians, a Paneer Tikka starter followed by a Vegetarian Biryani will do good. The other Punjabi dishes on offer are also decent but this is the recommended fare.

Loony Trivia:
It is said that cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar orders Hyderabadi Biryani from here and receives it at his place in an hour.

Shadaab Restaurant and Hyderabad House
Residents and biryani lovers in Secunderabad though love the Shadaab restaurant near the Charminar for its sumptous Biryani and in Hyderabad, it is the biryani from Hyderabad House that is highly revered. Hyderabad House is a takeaway joint like Dominoes with a distinctive logo, located all around Hyderabad.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hyderabad Blues

I stayed in Hyderabad for close to a year. I loved the city from the time we landed at the Begumpet station to the day I left for Pune. It was a wonderful topsy turvy ride which I enjoyed to the fullest.

I was in this beautiful city for my first job at Satyam - then a well reputed IT giant. Apart from visiting, wide eyed, this beautiful city, I also had ample opportunities to interact with the locals and I also savoured the varied gastronomic delights that it had to offer to the fullest.

Hyderabad is the city of Nizams and is famous for its food that has a Nizami touch added to it. The Hyderabadi Biryani is undoubtedly the most famous of all Hyderabadi dishes. The famous Nizami food on offer throughout Hyderabad is usually non vegetarian fare and for a vegetarian, that too for a vegetarian who doesn't eat a lot of rice, it was very tough for me to find food to tingle my taste buds in the right spots.

This led to an exploration of Hyderabad all over the city and this blog is a consequence of that. I have eaten in almost every good restaurant of Hyderabad and I will lovingly describe in my coming posts where one can find the best food for the price.

My journey around Hyderabad started with Uttarayan and ended with Diwali. The Hyderabad Blues are chronicled henceforth.


Increase your PageRankPromote Your Blog
we are in

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community Visit to discover Indian blogs The Roadie and Foodie Blog - Blogged Add to favourite links Free Website Traffic Technorati Fav Tourtoo Travel Site