From the west Indian coast, I decided to forego Goa from my itinerary and head eastward. From readings, there’s much to look forward to: the Charminar, Birla Mandir, Chowmahalla Palace and, to my mind, the city’s premiere destination - the Golconda Fort.
Such protracted rides have also inculcated a sense of subtle repulsion on my part. After all, life is too short to be partaking repeated claustrophobic rides. One doesn't exactly get good views from inside your bunk so travelers miss much of the landscape as you glide through places. But I digress. To be fair, this ride was a pleasant one: the cost was acceptable, having paid just 837 rupees; the seats-that-turn-to-bed were comfortable to sleep on. I slept most of the ride since my train pulled out of the Mumbai station at 9:50 PM, arriving in Secunderabad at past 1 PM the next day.
|Mumbai Railway Station|
This experience was relatively painless. Gone were the crass touts and the hundred taxis. In fact, there was almost none. As instructed, I walked out of the station and hailed an autorickshaw (150 rupees) to take me to Hotel Brindavan along Nampaly Station Road in Hyderabad. I was out of luck. They were full. So I allowed a wallah to take me to another hotel which was a mere walking distance from Brindavan.
All this time, I knew this tout would get a commission for taking me to this hotel, as is customary in India. I didn't mind much as long as I get to my hotel soon. I was desperate for that refreshing shower.
|The crowd in Mumbai's busy train station|
|My Mumbai platform|
|Hussain Sagar Express was named after Hyderabad's scenic lake.|
|My 2AC two-tier train|
|A beautiful garden just outside the Begumpet Rail Station in Secunderabad. Begumpet also hosts the city's first mall, Begumpet City Center Mall located in Banjara Hills.|
|Atithi Residemcy Delux Hotel and Lodge (yes, "deluxe" is spelled that way)|
|Quli Qutub Shah|
|Kamat Pure Vegetarian Restaurant|
|My 44-rupee vegetarian Club Sandwich|
There was a mosque surrounded by small shops, many of which were selling ice cream. Hyderabad is known for their tasty bread (Karachi Bakery has been mentioned many times); now, ice creams? With nothing much to do, I decided to go for it. I bought myself a couple: Pista slice ice cream at 10 rupees and Kulfi stick at 7 rupees. I am not exactly sure what Pista and Kulfi are, but they looked delectable. I hoped they weren’t scorpions, worms or cockroaches. J
|Famous Ice Cream Restaurant|
|"Kulfi" stick or "ice cream" stick?|
|Pista slice. "Pista" seems to refer to a "pistachio-flavored" ice cream.|
|Ice cream menu: what the heck is a "thunder ball"? "Kharbooza" sounds like it explodes. :)|
|My train ride from Mumbai to Hyderabad took 15 hours which should only take 12 hours.|
|My train stop was at Begumpet Rail Station located in Secunderabad. I just took a short rickshaw ride to Hyderabad, my destination.|
Visiting the Charminar here - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2013/02/charminar-hyderabads-crown-jewel.html