Whoops, realize we forgot to post about Hyderabad! Here it is, a little out of order. We have just arrived in Tasmania, staying with Cassie and Guy, friends who moved here just a month ago. It is very relaxed here and the island is gorgeous. We plan to use the next 7-10 days here to catch up on the blog and get in a lot of walks (this is what Aussie’s call hikes).
We spent just a few days in Hyderabad, arriving via overnight train from Delhi. This train was more enjoyable than our overnight train from Delhi to Jodhpur for a few reasons.
1. We travelled with my parents and aunt and spent quality time together.
2. The journey started in the afternoon so we could enjoy the scenery, whereas most of our Rajasthan train trip was at night.
3. We were in a first class sleeper as opposed to third class sleeper. First class is a huge step up, with only two bunks to a wall (more headroom), doors you can shut for quiet and private cabin space and all meals included with the ticket. Alison and I had our own private cabin which was nice. The food was also surprisingly good.
In Hyderabad we mostly relaxed and spent time with family. I spent the mornings reading the ridiculous amount of chatter in the newspapers about Satya Nadella (a Hyderabad native) being named CEO of Microsoft. It seemed like anyone who knew him, however remotely, was interviewed!
In my opinion, there is not as much to see in Hyderabad as a tourist compared to many other cities in the north (like Jaipur or Delhi) or the temple towns of south India. Much of the new growth in the city is due to the tech boom, and of course there are some nice temples, but it is less of a tourist hub in my opinion. The traffic is also insanely bad (even by Indian standards).
Our sightseeing comprised of taking autos around the city to the Char Minar (four gates) in the Muslim section of town and a visit to the gleaming white Birla Mandir temple perched on a hilltop for great views of the city. We didn’t take our camera into the temple area, so check out pictures of the temple here. It is very impressive architecturally speaking, spotlessly clean and has some of the best views of the city.
We also spent several hours in the Salarjung Museum. This museum houses relics from the former rulers (Prime Minister) of Hyderabad prior to and during British rule. It is worth visiting and you could spend an entire day here, though we moved on after two hours.
Alison and I also took advantage of the large park a few blocks away from my aunt’s house to get in a few morning runs. Unlike in the USA, running on city streets is impossible in most Indian cities (unless you are doing so before 6am).
After a few days we headed to the airport, opting to change our original flight plans to go to Bangkok due to the civil unrest there. We would instead go to Singapore, then Kuala Lumpur and onward to southern Thailand and beyond, skirting the Bangkok area completely.
Things rarely go exactly as planned, and our connecting flight in Chennai was cancelled after many hours of waiting at the airport. After general pandemonium and confusion at the airport as people tried to figure out what was going on (we flew Air India after all) the Air India staff communicated the cancellation and rebooked us. They put us up in a nice hotel in Chennai for the night, and the next day we continued on our way to Singapore.
In general, we have been traveling with very loose plans and only booking flights a week ahead of time and hostels a few days ahead of time. So far this has worked in our favor, with the opportunity to reroute our trip as we hear about cool things to do and not sweat delays and cancellations when they occur, and they do occur periodically.