Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurant, Hyderabad - Banjara Hills

Sahib Sindh Sultan LogoWe visited the Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurant, Hyderabad in Banjara Hills for a Friendship Day party. The Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurant, Hyderabad is another offering from the prestigious BJN group. India's first passenger train between Boribunder and Thane was pulled by three locomotives - Sahib, Sindh and Sultan. This is how the restaurant gets it name. Sahib Sindh Sultan, Hyderabad - the restaurant has interiors that are created to give a feel of India when the first railway line was installed between Boribunder and Thane. The railway theme is present throughout the restaurant with a Pullman-style carriageway which makes one feel as if you are sitting in an actual train.

The comprehensive menu starts with its choice of food from the North West Frontier Province, which is named as Fish Tikka a la Lord Rippon, Lady Canning’s Reshmi Paneer Tikka, Kanpur Tomato Shorba, Sir Francis Drake’s Lobster, Jhansi Rani ki Farmaish, Vulcan Foundry Murg Badam, Roti ki Boti, Karara Palak Chaat and many other dishes like these. The food at Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurant comes in many different cuisines with Gujarati, Rajasthani and Punjabi food available. They also stock hard drinks and some exquisite desserts.
The train like Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurant's exterior
The food is served on huge silver plates and it is usually in a large quantity and we loved it as it was fit for our group of fifteen. We started off with some luscious starters. I don't know why, but I love starters the most amongst North Indian food. The tables are usually served with four different chutneys and bread sticks. The service was excellent as in all BJN group outlets, the food was the usual North Indian fare but the decor and the ambiance were clearly the highlights of Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurant, Hyderabad. All the while that you are eating, you can hear the sounds of train arrivals and departures, besides the ringing of the station master's bell.
Inside the Sahib Sindh Sultan restaurantFinally, you get to the Benarasi paanwala who just like Angeethi, serves some highly prices strictly average paans. There are some shops which are highly recommended for the paans, but most of the times, the paan in Hyderabad are strictly average.

The visit to Sahib Sindh Sultan was a wonderful affair for us as we loved having our fill in its wonderful ambience. Getting out and reaching home in the rain was a different matter altogether as the rickshaw wallahs standing outside City Center demanded exorbitant rates - especially in the rains. So, we hired a taxi and all of us scrambled inside one Tavera and reached straight home - hale and healthy. :-) Late night transport to and fro from Banjara Hills is always a costly affair - in ways more than one and I would recommend avoiding it.

Sahib Sindh Sultan was also a costly affair, but worth every penny. :-)

Loony ratings:
Ambience : 9/10
Food : 8/10
Price : 7/10
Quantity : 8/10
Service : 8/10

Address : City Center Mall, Road No 1, Banjara Hills.
Phone No: 66570000, 66683337

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prasad's IMAX, Hyderabad

One of the best places to hangout in Hyderabad is the Prasad's IMAX theater. Some facts about Prasad's IMAX.

Prasad's IMAX is South India's first, India's 3rd and the world's largest 3 D Imax theater. Located on the banks of the Hussainsagar Lake, it was a part of the Buddha Purnima project which was the project that installed the huge Buddha statue in the middle of the Hussainsagar Lake.

What is IMAX technology?
IMAX is an entertainment company headquartered in New York and Toronto. This company has also produced some wonderful movies like T Rex, Island of Sharks etc. The acronym IMAX was created from the words Maximum Image. This format is the largest and the most exciting film format in the world with a screen size which is 10 times larger than the 35mm format and thrice as large as the 70 mm project.

Prasad's IMAX Theater Facade
Prasad's IMAX provides a wonderful experience as it is a huge complex with a lot of shops and outlets inside for you to be able to roam and enjoy at. There are ice cream and food counters, a lot of game counters, shops for the shopaholics and nearly 5 to 6 screens that screen non 3 D movies too.

Prasad's IMAX Interior
One of Hyderabad's favourite hangout, IMAX is usually very crowded. Also it is virtually impossible to get a ticket at IMAX on public holidays. And a final warning. The streets outside IMAX are not a very safe place for women late in the nights after a matinee show. Avoid rickshaws and better have your own vehicle for a late night visit.

All in all, Prasad's IMAX is the perfect way to spend a hot Hyderabadi afternoon with your friends. You can also go out on a walk across the Hussainsagar lake in the afternoons once the weather cools down a bit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ananda Buddha Vihara, Buddha Temple at Hyderabad

Ananda Buddha Vihara Temple, Hyderabad
It was a boring Sunday. Jigar had scrambled over to my place in Begumpet and we were bored watching television and had nothing to do. We were also going through a serious abstinence phase and so Jigar wanted out and I wanted photography. I had read a small byline in my Lonely Planet about a quaint Buddhist temple on a hill in Hyderabad and off we went to the Ananda Buddha Vihara, Hyderabad.

The Lonely Planet guide provided accurate details to the destination. We went up to East Maredpally and from there took a rickshaw to Mahendra Hills. Not surprisingly, the rickshaw driver hadn't heard of the place either. We asked him to take us to Mata Amritanandmayi's Ashrama which is next to Ananda Buddha Vihara as he concentrated on coaxing the rickshaw above the steep streets of Mahendra Hills. The buddhist temple of Ananda Buddha Vihara is the last building at the edge of a hillock, just adjacent to Mata Amritanandmayi's ashrama.
View of Ananda Buddha Vihara from the entrance
The sight of the temple is guaranteed to take your breath away. And as you climb over its steps and watch the city, you will wonder why no one told you before about this place. The Ananda Buddha Vihara offers some beautiful views of the city. As you enter the huge hall of the temple, with lights flooding the hall through the huge French windows, you will be surprised by the calm serenity of the place. The temple has a huge golden Buddha statue in its center. You can undoubtedly forget yourself sitting in this magnificent hall.
Beautiful Cloud formations from the steps of the Ananda Buddha Vihara, Buddha Temple, Hyderabad
Outside the hall there is a small garden with a beautiful idol of Lord Buddha under a tree. It seems to be depicting the scene where Lord Buddha is supposed to have attained Nirvana. There is also a lotus pool and a waterfall in the garden. There is a wide variety of many beautiful flowers and plants in the garden too.
A beautiful Buddha Statue in the garden of the Ananda Buddha Vihara, Buddha Temple, Hyderabad
We went out of the temple and just down the road, I spent some time photographing Jigar with some kids on the streets. They were overjoyed when I showed them their pictures on the LCD.
Jigar with the street urchins at Buddha Temple, Hyderabad
A view of the road down towards the city.
A view of Hyderabad from the Buddha Temple
We were very tired by the time we reached Ananda Buddha Vihara. But the rest in the temple did us a world of good. I had a grand time photographing the many different cloud formations that adorned the beautiful blue skies of Hyderabad that day. The sky in Hyderabad - and I am saying this with the experience of watching it nearly everyday from my top floor balcony - springs up many different patterns of clouds and color. The skies in Ahmedabad and Mumbai in contrast look grey, bleak and gloomy. Here are some pics with some beautiful cloud formations.
Beautiful cloud formations in a beautiful sky in HyderabadThe clouds move across the skyline of Hyderabad like an armada of ships sailing across oceans.
Clouds moving on the Hyderabad skies like ships sailing to war
The Ananda Buddha Vihara trust, was first set up at Tukaramgate about 24 years ago. Now it functions from a sprawling 3-acre land in Mahendra Hills. It organises the annual Buddha Jayanti celebrations and organises lectures on full moon day (Poornima) every month. The trust has also been involved in printing Buddhist literature in English and Telugu languages and translated several Buddhist works into the regional language. The Mahendra Hills complex is being run by Ven Sangharakshita Mahathera from the erstwhile composite Bengal state. Mahathera settled in the city and looks after the affairs of the Trust. The monks at the temple are very approachable and will tell you all you need to know about Buddhism.

The Ananda Buddha Vihara is undoubtedly one of the best places in Hyderabad to spend some time in solitude, peace and quiet.


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