11th July is a day usually spent in Ahmedabad. It came during the spring break at Doon and four days before College opened while in St. Stephen's. It is also the birthday of my father. But, this time was different as I set off for Hyderabad that evening. The previous evening was spent aboard the Lok Shakti Express from Mumbai. I also got a glimpse of Bandra Terminus which is very different from Mumbai Central or CST. I set off for Hyderabad to see the Hester Biosciences deopt and explore a very interesting city.
I landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at around six in the evening. The airport is a wonderfully built building which is quick and contemporary. The baggage does not take time which is always the opposite while landing at Delhi. The Arrival Hall was good and transportation was never a problem from there. The airport is located at a distance from the city but is connected by the PV Narasimha Rao Expressway that connects Shamshabad to Hyderabad. It is good Andhra Pradesh still remembers the first Prime Minister hailing from south of the Vindhyas though he could be remembered more prominently considering the work he did for India.
The hotel I was staying in was on Raj Bhavan road very close to the Raj Bhavan, whose notable occupants include Krishan Kant and ND Tiwari. The evening was spent at Paradise for Biryani which was delicious. I also had a view of the Hussain Sagar Lake and the Secretariat in that area. The park opposite the Secretariat on the lake is T Anajaiah Park named after the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. It is also where a bomb blast had happened. The lake and its surroundings were beautiful and so are the roads and general infrastructure in Hyderabad. The city now has many good flyovers that has made life easy for the people.
The next morning before going to the depot, I was taken to the High Tech City that was the brainchild of Chandrababu Naidu who was CM from 1995-2004 and began the process of modernizing Hyderabad. Infact, both Presidents Clinton and Bush visited Hyderabad during their India visits in 2000 and 2006 respectively. The complex is sprawling and well built. We also passed Jubilee Hills and Banjara Hills where the elite of the city live including Sania Mirza, Azharuddin, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chiranjeevi and Naidu to name a few. The area also houses the TRS Headquarters.
I had the chance to visit the Salar Jung museum. It has some great exhibits and things to display but there is something wrong in general in India as far as museum tourism is concerned. We have a great culture and heritage but cannt present it properly which makes our museums boring as compared to those in the west. Hope this is changed in the future. Later on, I saw the Charminar and the Mecca Masjid, once again a site ravaged by terror. The old city is very different from the new one and has its own charm. The later part of the evening was spent at the Birla Temple, which is on a hill. The place is very peaceful and offers a great view of the city. These were the landmarks I saw while in Hyderabad. It is a city that showcases the emerging India and marks changes that we have seen since 1991. What I loved about the city was its charm and a perfect combination of simplicity and modernity.