Hyderabad is a cosmopolitan city known for its diverse culture. It is located in the northern region of south India due to which we are influenced with both North Indian and South Indian traditions and customs. We celebrate Holi, Raksha bandhan, Bhai Dhuj of North India and also celebrate Pongal, Ugadi from South India. People from other parts of India can easily manage due to no language barrier. An average Hyderabadi can speak Hindi/Urdu, Telugu and English. You will find it difficult in communicating with people of some places in Hindi/ Urdu such as Kukatpally where there is large number of migrants from south India especially from Andhra Pradesh. So here are some of the interesting and lesser known facts about Hyderabad.
Awarded as the second best place to live in has all the facilities such as low rents, less cost of living, availability of almost all variety of cuisines. The western part of the city is quite a happening place with a lot of sky scrappers and you will definitely find a large number of Pubs with nocturnal life.
Culture of Hyderabad
Bathukamma translated as comeback to life mother or mother live forever or longlive mother represents the culture of Hyderabad. Celebrated on the joyous moment of Godess Sati returning back as Goddess Parvati. Sati Devi self immolates after her husband Lord Shiva was ill treated by not being invited for Daksha yagna conducted by her father. Later she returns as goddess Parvati or Girija or Shailaja (all meaning daughter of the king of the hill). This is one of the mythological story associated with Bathukamma festival predominantly celebrated in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana on all the nine days of Navrathri. Dussera or Navrathri is one of the most celebrated festival across India. A festival that is only celebrated by women where older women dress up in saree with ornaments where as the girls dress up in half saree (Lehenga Choli). On these auspicious days, the women clean up the front yard of their respective houses with water mixed with cow dung, draw the rangoli (traditional design drawn by women with rice flour as it is thought to be auspicious). Men on the other hand, collects various flowers of different colours and the women start decorating them in the shape of a pyramid which is later carried to an open space near their houses or any other prominent places. Tankbund, Necklace road etc welcomes the devotees to participate in the colourful event. Each day naivedyam (food) is offered to the Goddess and it is purely based on the type of the day. Bathukamma, a nine day event is classified into nine types.
First day is termed as Engili Pula Bathukamma and naivedyam comprises of sesame seeds and rice flour. Second day is known as Atukula Bathukamma and naivedyam comprises atukulu (flattened rice). Muddapppu Bathukamma falls on the third day which includes the naivedyam of sappidi paapu (plain dal), milk and jaggery. Followed by Nanabiyyam Bathukamma, on fouth day with nanabosina biyyam (wet rice) . Uppidi pindi (a unique dish prepared from wheatlets) and variety of Dosas are offered on the fifth day i.e. Atla Bathukamma. No food or naivedyam is offered on sixth day which is known as Aligina Bathukamma (meaning offended, angered or upset Goddess). Seventh day is called as Vepakayala Bathukamma where rice flour is offered. Venna Muddala Bathukamma is celebrated on the eighth day where sesame seeds with butter and jaggerry is offered as naivedyam. The well known Saddula Bathukamma celebrated on the ninth day is considered as auspicius and celebrated with great devotion. Curd rice, Pulihora (Tamarind rice), Lemon rice, Sesame rice and Coconut rice are offered as naivedyam.
The unique tradition is followed by the women where they sing the traditional folk songs and dances to their back and forth by clapping their hands by moving around the Bathukamma flower decorations. It reciprocates the feel of Dandiya celebrated in the north India.
One of the legends of Bathukamma suggests that a baby named Lakshmi was born to a king of renowned dynasty but was always suffered from ill health and accidents. They prayed to Goddess to for their daughter’s health and thereafter they named their daughter as Bathukamma (long live mother goddess). Particularly celebrated by the teenage girls and they are made to do so in order to teach them to respect elders, spread love and smile, take good care of their husbands and in laws.
In the month of Ashada (July- August), on every Sunday, Bonalu, a traditional festival of Telangana is celebrated in temples of Hyderabad with great devotion. Bonam or Bhojanam is an offering to the Goddess. Rice is cooked with jaggery and milk and the utensils covered with neem and decorated with turmeric are carried to the temple. Women carries the bonam on their heads and are dressed up in traditional sarees and ornaments. They dance to the drum beats balancing the bonam. The women here are considered as goddesses. Pothuraju, a well built man dressed up in dhoti, applying turmeric on his body, wearing the bells to his ankles, also dances to the beats leads the procession. According to mythology, pothuraju is the brother of the goddess.
The festival is celebrated in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana with devotion and spirituality. As per the tradition, it is celebrated every year on each Sunday of Ashada masam (July- August). On first Sunday, it is celebrated at Golkond, following Sunday at Secunderabad Mahankali temple followed by Katta maisamma temple at Tank bund. The prominent temples where the festival is celebrated besides Mahankali temple are Peddamma temple and Balkampet Yellamma temple. The tradition is being continued since 1908 after complete eradication of cholera epidemic where the disease caused many fatalities.
Though a typical south Indian’s staple food is Rice, the specialty about Hyderabad is it has its own unique cuisines. As the world knows about the famous Hyderabadi Biryani, there are other cuisines that are prepared and served in Hyderabad. The city is known as foodies’ paradise especially if you are a non vegetarian. The unique way of preparing Hyderabadi biryani makes it so special and delicious. The meat (either Chicken or Goat/ Lamb) is marinated in the yoghurt mixed with ginger garlic paste, chilli paste, deeply fried onions, papaya paste (helps in tenderising the meat), cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and garnished with mint and coriander leaves. This marinated meat is added to half cooked basmati rice and lets it cooked for a while before served hot. The dish is available in almost all the Hyderabadi restaurants with slightly varied tastes. It is served with raitha and Mirchi ka salan as accomplishments. Mirchi ka salan is another delicacy prepared in Hyderabad with long green chillies mixed with tamarind juice and other spices such as ground nut paste, sesame paste, ginger garlic paste and other ingredients. Biryani and mirchi ka salan are a must in any functions, parties and weddings held in Hyderabad. Vegans have to compromise with the limited options. Bagara baingan which can be served with rice, roti (Indian bread), Bagara rice (flavoured with spices) is the famous among them. Brinjal or egg plant is cooked in tamarind juice with spices such as ginger garlic paste, sesame paste etc. It is also well known dish served in many Hyderabadi functions.
Haleem, another famous dish is also considered as Hyderabadi delicacy though its roots are from Iran. It is widely served during the holy month of Ramadan. The healthy food is prepared with meat (goat/ Lamb) mixed with ground dry fruits, wheat, spices and masalas. The yummy dish is available in all the Hyderabadi restaurants during the Ramadan festive season. There are a few food courts that serve the dish through out the year. Besides, these Nihari, Mutton marag are also famous Hyderabadi dishes.
Desserts such as Qubani ka meetha and double ka meetha are prepared exclusively in Hyderabad. Either of the two is a must in many parties held in Hyderabad and goes well with Ice cream. Apricots are cooked with milk and cream to prepare Qubani ka meetha decorated with dry fruits. Double (bread) ka meetha is prepared with bread and milk also garnished with dry fruits. Irani chai is also worth a mention in this section as it is renowned and being prepared in Hyderabad since years. Osmania biscuit is a must when you try Irani chai.
Interesting facts about Hyderabad
P V Narasimha Rao Expressway (PVNR Expressway)
Longest fly over of 11.6 Kilometres exists here known as PV Narasimha Rao; shortly PVNR express way connects the south western part of the city to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. It was inaugurated in the year 2009 to ease the traffic congestion going to and coming from airport. The flyover starts from Mehdipatnam in the south west part of Hyderabad and ends at Aramgarh junction. Only four wheelers are allowed on the flyover. Generally it takes hours to reach the Airport from the other extreme corners of the city but the flyover makes your journey shorter. The longest flyover has considerable entry and exit ramps. Prior to the construction of the flyover the commuters used to take the route of Bahadurpura- Zoo park, Rethibowli- Rajendrangar or Pahad e sharif- Barkas routes to reach the Airport. The interesting fact about this signal free, controlled access flyover is being the longest flyover in India.
Outer Ring Road
Another interesting fact about Hyderabad is the Outer Ring Road or ORR which is a unique controlled access road which is first of its kind in India. It encircles the entire city of Hyderabad and its length is 154 Kilometres. Entry and exit ramps at important places makes the travel time shorter and reach your desired destination. The main motive of the construction was to make the journey from one corner of the city to another shorter. No cyclists, Bikes, three wheelers are allowed on the road. The road was named after the first Prime Minister of India, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. It starts from Gachibowli from the city and has entry and exit pints at major junctions such as Shamshabad- Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Adibhatla, Ramoji Film City, Ghatkesar, Keesaragutta, Shamirpet, Medchal, Patancheru, Narsingi, Appa Junction.
Coming to my favorite topic, Hyderabadi Hindi, the commonly spoke and understood in most of the parts of Hyderabad. The language is a mixture of Hindi/ Urdu, Telangana and a little Marathi. It is also known as Hyderabadi Urdu or Deccani .Like Bollywood for Hindi movies, there is a separate film industry in Hyderabad that is specially dedicated to Hyderabadi Hindi. Angrez and Hyderabad Nawabs are the all time blockbusters. Mast Ali, popularly known as Saleem Pheku (charecter played by Ali in Angrez), Aziz Nasser and Dheer Charan Srivastava are the prominent actors.
I am coming right away in regular Hindi ”thodi dher mei pahunch raha hu or thodi hi dher mei pahunchta hu” but in Hyderabadi Hindi it is shortened as “abbich atau or abbich aaraon”. Funny and interesting isn’t it?
Yaar or Dost is referred as Yaaro or maamu
Disgusting or any other relevant word is referred as ‘Baigan’
Udhaas, manhus, Khush, Gussa are all referred as ‘Kirrak’
Kyon is referred as ‘Kaiku’
It seems is referred as ‘kathey’ and many more as such.
World’s largest Monolith Buddha Statue
Buddha statue is the world’s largest monolithic statue. In 90s era, the then Cheif Minister Shri N T Rama Rao was once happened to New York where he saw the Statue of Liberty in the middle of the Hudson river. He thought of replicating the same in the middle of the Hussain Sagar with Lord Buddha Status. After initial hiccups and obstacles, here stands the World’s largest monolithic statue of Buddha standing on a huge pedestal.
The idol of Lord Ganesha was first installed in the year 1954 which was just one feet tall. The tradition continued till date with the height being increased by 1 feet every year. The Ganesh chaturthi is celebrated across India with devotion as the festival is thought to be celebrated to eradicate obstacles as Lord Ganesh or Vigneshwara is considered as Lord who destructs obstacles. Many pandals are installed during the 11 day celebration of the festival in major cities of India and Khairatabad in Hyderabad is being one among them. Before constructing the Ganesh idol with Plaster of Paris, the committee now headed by Shri Sudershan conducts rituals to the ‘Karra’ (the long piece of wood to protect the idol). The interesting fact about the idol is that it is the tallest idol in India installed during the seasonal festival. The record height of the idol was 65 foot till date which was installed in 2019. The large number of crowd gathers and offer prayers on each day of the 11 day festival. The idol was supposed to be 66 Foot in 2020 but the committee has decided not to install the tallest idol due to Covid- 19 pandemic.
Ramoji Film city is known to be the world’s largest studio and Prasad’s Imax screen is the India’s largest screen.
The world Famous kohinoor diamond has its sources from the city