Hyderabad Top 10
Lavish Nawabi spreads and an air of genteel charm still pervade Hyderabad city, and that’s what I love most about it. Here is my top 10 to-do list in the land of the Nizams
1. Anand Kabra’s eclectic atelier in the Panjagutta district is my first stop on every visit. His mixes of traditional Hyderabadi embroideries, earthy and monochromatic tones with more contemporary, stylised silhouettes have made me a customer for life.
2. Suhani Pittie’s copper, silver and metal jewels have taken up many bauble boxes in my closet but I can’t seem to get enough and she knows it! There are always some goodies waiting to entice me when I stop by her Banjara Hills store.
3. Laad Bazaar takes an entire morning but hunting for cutwork gota borders and old-style jhoomars and maang tikkas make the endless manoeuvring around this buzzing market place totally worth it. There’s a whole separate section for those famous Hyderabadi pearls around the Charminaar and every store is happy to customise a design for you in a couple of hours.
4. Food, flavour and Hyderabad are synonyms in my dictionary. I won’t leave the city without my idli-vada fix from Chutney’s, pathar-ka-ghosht from Bade Miya’s, hand churned ice-cream from Famous and a full Andhra thali spread with my favourite Mutton Iguru from Spicy Venue.
5. But when I want an experience fit for royalty, The Falaknuma Palace hotel is the place where I expect all the stops to be pulled out for me. Chilled cocktails start the evening off even as a live Qawwali performance transports me back in time with the old city providing a fitting backdrop to this music for the soul. The seven-course dinner that follows is indescribably sumptuous; melt-in-the-mouth dahi and shammi kebabs, a selection of biryanis, haleem and more. Burp.
6. The Falaknuma also features highly as a tour expedition. I’ve gone twice and the history and detail of this palace still manages to pull me back. Chowmahalla Palace is another vision in elegant grandeur, especially the chandelier room and the old sepia photographs showcasing young princes and princesses in their decadent finery. The Golconda Fort is another favoured destination for its spectacular sound and light shows.
7. For old, authentic, mind-bogglingly stunning jewellery, I window shop (I’m saving up for a one-of-a-kind-buy) at Kishan Das and Vittal Das jewellers. They take some convincing to pull out their special pieces but all the cajoling pays off when you get to ogle a vintage hair ornament in gold and emerald.
8. Take aways from the city usually include Osmania and mixed-fruit biscuits from Karachi bakery, coupled with tetra-packed biryanis from Hyderabad House or Paradise.
9. All the above cultural and gourmet tips do not only a city make. There’s a vibrant sort of nightlife here and my weekends are filled with evenings at N Bar & Grill, Over the Moon and Sky.
10. Since I usually catch a flight back on Sunday evenings, a long brunch is du jour at Olive, a sprawling three-level Mediterranean oasis in Hyderabad, serving the very best Bloody Mary.