High Flying Hyderabad
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Situated in the eastern part of the country, Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Also known as the cyber city, it has attracted multi-national corporations as no other city has done in the recent past, thanks to the lead taken by the Chief Minister Chandra Babu Naidu. He even introduced the concept of e-governance. The high degree of commitment in the methods of governance in Andhra Pradesh (AP) can best be illustrated by a recent news item in one of the local language dailies. The A.P. Government plies around 20,000 buses for commuting passengers and are able to show substantial profits. On the other hand, a neighboring state, which runs only 1100 buses has to survive on government subsidies. Whereas the AP buses earn Rs 25.00 per bus on an investment of one liter of diesel, its neighbor can earn only Rs 11.00. On an average, there are seven workers per AP bus whereas in the second case, there are as many as ten.
Despite such situations, the heated debate continues to rage unabated over which southern city offers more options to an investor. Whilst one city boasts of a temperate climate throughout the year, the other does not have to face disputes of sharing the river waters. Whilst one is proud of its idli and dosa, the other has its expertise in Moghlai cuisine like biryani.
I was fortunate to visit Hyderabad briefly in 1999 – out of my three day stay. I managed to squeeze in one day for a local sightseeing tour of the city conducted by the ITDC. The program started at 9 in the morning from the Hussein Sagar Lake, located in the heart of the city. Famous for an enormous statue of Lord Buddha located right in the centre of the Lake, the venue hosts different types of water sports. In the course of the day long tour, we managed to take in the Golconda Fort, Char Minar, Zoological gardens and Salar Jung Museum apart from some shopping outlets, especially of Hyderabadi pearls!
The Golconda Fort is a marvel of a monument – the remnants of the drainage and sanitation systems one sees on top of the mountain, are architectural wonders. They are similar to the acoustics and ventilation systems present even today throughout the dilapidated fort. One wonders at the engineering knowledge and expertise that were available to our ancestors. The Salar Jung Museum, like any other museum houses hundreds of exhibits, but the most outstanding of these is the full size statue of a girl draped in a wet costume revealing each and every curve of her body, carved out of a single piece of stone. The wrinkles and creases are so prominent and natural looking that you may, for a moment, take them for real. Hats off to the sculptor who had produced such a wonderful specimen of artistic work. The second out-of-the-world exhibit is the musical clock that chimes the hour. Seconds before the hour, a tiny mechanical doll comes into view carrying a hammer. Exactly at the hour, it lifts the hammer, strikes the hour and retreats into its den in the rear; A unique creation that has stood the test of time.
The latest addition to the must see spots of Hyderabad is the Ramoji Film City. Built on the lines of Disneyland, it is spread over a large expanse of land measuring approximately 2500 acres and offers facilities for the shooting of films and TV serials. It boasts of surroundings that bear striking resemblances to actual foreign locations! The setup also provides special package tours for honeymooners. A trip to Hyderabad would be incomplete without a trip to Ramoji Film City.
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