Hyderabad. Hmm. What can I say about Hyderabad that doesn’t make it sounds like I utterly hated it. I ended up spending 4 nights here and by the end I was sulking and desperate to leave. That was potentially because I was resenting the fact that I had to spend longer than I wanted there because my choice of train was fully booked, but even without that I wasn’t enjoying the fact that I had people – mostly groups of young men – staring at me constantly and taking photos without permission (I think several people now have photos of me giving them the finger) or that it’s really not a pedestrian friendly city, which I was hoping for as the rickshaw drivers are all crooks here. Several times I have agreed a price with a driver only to have him raise it when we arrive at my destination – sometimes because he couldn’t find it (um, not my problem mate, you should know your own city), but more often because they are just cheeky……wotsits. And no, I didn’t once actually give them the inflated rate they asked for. But hey, it wasn’t all bad. I can’t really recommend it as a solo backpacker destination, but maybe a place to come with a friend and a budget for a driver.
This is the 17.5m Buddha statue in the middle of Hussain Sagar lake. And me wearing a different shirt! Hurrah! It’s one of the biggest free standing buddhas in the world, but what they don’t tell you on the sign next to it (maybe they’re trying to hush it up) is that they managed to sink it in the stinky lake when it was being put in place and they only rescued it from the watery depths 2 years later. It’s not blue by the way. It has different coloured lights on it so of course I have about 10 photos which are identical except for the color because I couldn’t decide which was prettier. I met an American girl on the boat that night who had travelled to Hyderabad for work. Oh to have a job which would send me to exciting and exotic places. I don’t think the journey from Bournemouth to Andover really counts as exotic.
Golconda fort. I visited another fort! Surprise surprise! I should probably mention that I don’t dislike forts/palaces/temples etc (provided I don’t have to go to them every day), but I do struggle to find stuff to write about. At least I did until I got to this path:
God knows why this was constructed as a path rather than steps, there’s certainly no way you could take a pushchair or wheelchair on it. In fact it’s so steep and the paving is so smooth that it’s impossible to take a step on it without your feet skidding out from under you. The only safe way to come down is on your bum. They could make a killing if they hired tea trays at the top.
I spent day 3 next to the Birla Mandir temple – didn’t feel like another temple, but the complex has an art gallery, science museum, ceramics museum (lots of Royal Doulton for some reason), archaeological museum, dinosarium (great word) and planetarium all for the bargain price of £1.30. Nice one. No proper food there though so my diet for most of the day consisted of ice cream. I may have been a bit delirious by the time I got to the planetarium film because I swear my chair kept moving.
So, statues, forts and museums. All standard fare so far. How about the Indian equivalent of Universal Studios? According to the sign Ramoji Film City houses the largest film studies in the world, built by a man who apparently wanted to be an actor but couldn’t act to save his life so became a producer instead. And probably made a lot more money that way.
There’s a bus tour round all the sets and gardens (which probably means more to people who’ve actually seen the films, but the gardens were still very attractive), a few small rides, an unbelievably bad Wild West stunt show and a rather good circus act/traditional dance show.
Oh, and if Rollercoaster Tycoon has taught me anything, you know it’s a proper theme park because the shops and bins are themed too.