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This week, The Musafir Stories speaks with Yunus Lasania - a journalist, heritage expert, curator of Hyderabad History Project on Instagram and Beyond Charminar Podcast
Today's destination: Heritage walk in the Old City of Hyderabad, Telangana
Nearest Airport: Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, HYD
Nearest Railway Station: Hyderabad Deccan Railway Station, HYB
Prerequisites - Walking shoes!
Packing - As needed
Time of the year - Year-round!
Length of the itinerary: 2-3 hours
Yunus starts the conversation by explaining the foundations of Hyderabad, the Qutub Shahi dynasty’s origins, how the city was built as an extension to the Golconda fort’s walled city by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, and how it was eventually destroyed by Aurangazeb in 1687.
After the defeat of the Qutub Shahis, the Golconda kingdom was ruled by the Asaf Jahis or Nizams, who were generals in Aurangazeb’s army, however they didn’t become independent till 1765 after which the city was developed further.
Charminar was the first structure to be built as a part of Hyderabad, named after the wife of the founder, Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah. We also discuss other legends and stories about the wife of the ruler - Bagmati, and the other names associated with Hyderabad.
The walk begins at the Badshahi Ashurkhana - a place of mourning for the Shia muslims who mourn the death of the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Husain in the battle of Karbala where he was killed with his followers. The Ashurkhana was built in 1593, 2 years after the construction of Charminar and is inspired by the Persian style of architecture with colourful walls and tiles.
The other monuments enroute to Charminar - the most iconic structure of Hyderabad, include, the Chaar Kamaan, the 4 gates which mark entrance/exit points to the old city, Gulzar Houz - the erstwhile drinking water fountain of Hyderabad, Madina masjid - the biggest mosque of the old city and markets around Charminar including Pathar gatti market and Laad Bazaar. The group also makes a quick stop for breakfast at Govind’s Dosa Bundi to feast on some cheese dosas early in the morning.
The final stop of the walk is of course, the magnificent Charminar - built in 1591, it is the most iconic structure of Hyderabad and is reflective of its rich culture and architecture. The building has several Persian and Indian influences including intricate artwork, 4 minars at almost 56m high built with yellow limestone.
We also discuss some of the other walks done by Yunus including one that covers the Nizam part of the city, including Chowmahalla palace, Nizam’s museum as well as alternate walks that takes one through the lesser-known buildings of the city.
We discuss the eateries of Hyderabad in general and the old city in particular, ranging from biryani to Irani chai. Yunus’ recommendations for Biryani include Grand Hotel, Shadaab, Nayaab, Biryani house, Bawarchi, Fanooz, Khan Miyan, Paradise, Alpha hotel.
Alpha hotel, Grand, Paradise, Cafe Bahaar, Nimra Cafe and Garden Cafe are popular options for Irani Chai!
We wrap up the episode by discussing the language of the region - Dakhani, its origins, influences and misconceptions. We also have some wonderful movie recommendations to get a taste of Hyderabad and Dakhani including Shyam Benegal’s Ankur, Mandi, Bolo Hau and The Angrez!
Link to Yunus’ blog: https://medium.com/@hyderabadhistoryproject
Link to Yunus’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/lasaniayunus
Link to Yunus’ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thathyderabadiboy/
Link to Hyderabad History project’s IG page: https://www.instagram.com/thehyderabadhistoryproject/
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