Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Most important things first - food. had an andrha tali (spelling?) last night, idly, coccunut based curry, a couple other spicy dishes I can not remember the name of this dessert that was delicious, small beads (remind me of tapioca beads from 'bubble tea' - I love the texture) the cardamon, cinamon, cream (I have had a similar dish with vermicilli noodles).
Breakfast buffet this AM had idly, korma, roti, somosas, western items too - yum!
On the tour *state tour - Rs 125 - that is $3* I was the only english speaker - so difficult to conversate with anyone else, but the guide would drescribe sites/city in both Hindi and English. Saw Charminar - oldest landmark of the city, the bazars and archeticture around the monument are very old too - 400 years.
Drove by many parks and new development on Necklace Road along Hussainsagar Lake - they have very nice sidewalks, putt putt golf, food stalls, amusement parks, and gardens.
The biggie was Salar Jung Museum - this is a collection from the Salar Jung family, nobles in the court of the Nizams - Muslim leaders of Hyderbaud. Salar Jung III was responsible for acquiring most of the works. He traveled the world, this collection opened to the public in 1961., the current structure was built in the 70s to house all of his collection and is huge [that is vague I know but I am horrible at estimating sq. footage] and the statues (bronze, wood, jade) furniture, paintings, silkwork - it all covers EAST china, japan, India - WEST - England, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Bohemia - from antiques to pieces from his era.
This was Salar Jung III who lived until from 1858 to 1942 (I am pretty sure of the dates?) - the highlighted masterpiece and well worth it - was the Veiled Rebecca - marble statue by an Italian sculptor. Amazing intricate sculpting to truly resemble a veil, with the curves and creases of her body (lips, breasts) showing thru slightly.
Guide to group (really me, b/c I was the sole native english speaker) : "A humble, shy women shows her beauty...." hmmm, male dominated society - likes a woman to keep her trap shut - am I too harsh with this interpertation?
This is a national museum one of four in the country - the only one in the South of India. Link to more info: http://7wondersofhyderabad.com/salarjung-museum/salar-jung-museum.html Drove past several other sites (in our airconditioned state tour bus - very nice I must say), High Court (already been to the one in Mumbai, thanks rohini), Legistlative Assembly with large statue of Ghandi out front. Both structures are a synthesis of Rajasthani (northern India) and Persian style archeticture.
From the top of Charminar (which reminds me of Arch de Triomphe in Paris) we could see Mecca Masijd. Named so because there are actually bricks from Mecca used in a central arch of the structure.
Hyderbaud has around 5 million people in residence, 2 million are Muslim (other three mil are a mix of religons - predominant Hindu). The guide said the city likes to boast of the harmony Hindus and Muslims can live together. Ten thousand worshippers can be accomadated at one time in this building.
Drove past a more modern site - IMAX theatre -in one book claimed to be the only one like it in the WORLD with these such 3D effects. We will see?! shopping too, Parsads, it is a mall. Still many more temples, tombs, Botanical Gardens, hi -tec City, Ramoji Film City - to see over the next three days I am here.
Time to eat again - ciao!