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For a long time we wanted to discover Hyderabad. 500 kms away from Bangalore in the North, this city is a bit unknown from Europe but it’s a direct competitor to our beloved “IT capital of India”: equivalent as per the size, Hyderabad has adopted the same development strategy based on IT technologies. Several big companies such as Google and Facebook have set-up their regional headquarters there.
But, on the contrary to Bangalore, Hyderabad has a really vibrant history so you can admire some magnificent vestiges from the past throughout the city. For a long time under Muslim domination (under the Qutb Shahi dynasty, the Moghul Empire and the Nizams), it still remains some impressive monuments. The Charminar, which is a kind of Mosque-Gate, is the most emblematic monument of the city, erected at the middle of a big living street lined and bazaars of the Muslim neighbourhood. But we’ve appreciated maybe even more the peaceful gardens of the nearby magnificient Chowmahal Palace, a kind of heaven in the middle of the chaos.
A huge artificial lake spreads also at the center of the city and in the middle of it stands an enormous Buddha statue (the city was once Buddhist before in the past). Set up in the 90’s, the Buddha statue first went for a swim in the lake when it was set-up (the boat which carried it sunk!) but it’ now a very popular attraction. It’s possible to go for a quick cruise on this island but it’s not that interesting. An other option that we almost regretted not to take is to board a boat that only comes near the island because it offers at the same time a Bollywood show during the cruise (it’s even possible to participate!).
But the main asset from Hyderabad is the famous Golconda Fort. 10 kms away from the city, the ruins of this very imposing fortress rise on the hills to dominate all the valley. Destroyed by the Moghols cause they were jealous of the power of the Qutb Shahi, ruins are still very impressive even if it’s quite difficult to grasp all. The visit offers also a nice point of view about the surroundings. At a quick walk from the fortress lies the Qutb Shahi Tumbs, majestic domes of granit, arisen at the golden age of the dynasty. They are now part of a public parc where inhabitants meet on week-ends for a picnic (as in the Lodi Park in Delhi).
Of course, we also didn’t miss the local food speciality, the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, in the equally famous restaurants Paradise and Shadaab.