I recently visited Hyderabad, India, the largest city in the state of Andra Pradesh and India’s fourth largest city overall.
This was my first visit to India. My father was born and grew up near Hyderabad but immigrated to the United States when he was a graduate student.
We stayed in the nearby suburb of Secunderabad in an old British style club called the Secunderabad Club. This location was close enough for us to travel to Hyderabad for sightseeing.
Among some of the attractions I saw:
CHARMINAR MOSQUE – “Charminar” loosely translates to four towers. This holy place, which dates back to the late 1500’s, reminded me of a four sided Arc de Triomphe the way it towers above this crowded portion of the city which also contains the Ladd Bazaar a great place for shopping.
GOLCONDA FORT - 11 kilometres west of downtown Hyderabad is this former main line of defence from Moghul invaders. It sits on top of a steep hill and has evening light shows and daily tours.
BIRLA TEMPLE – Also on a hilltop vantage point is this historic temple, the largest in Hyderabad. An incredible nightime view of the city can be seen here. The Birla Science Museum (which contains a dinosaurium and planetarium) is nearby.
But for me the greatest part of this trip was meeting a number of my relatives whom I’ve not met before. Aside from two cousins who also immigrated to the USA, I had not met any of my father’s family prior to this trip. The get together lunch we had was one of the most unique experiences of my life.
I can’t speak about other areas of India but Hyderabad was a lot more modern than the perception of India I had from books and movies. This coupled with the introduction to my own family members made this a very special trip indeed.