On Saturday, a group of five of us rushed through breakfast to go see the city. First destination: Birla Mandir.
This Hindu temple is constructed of pure white marble and has individual shrines for various gods and goddesses. As it’s built on the mountains, the temple overlooks the city in all its glory. On one side was the Hussain Sagar Lake (which was our next stop). From a different side, I could barely make out the four minarets of the Charminar. It is said that as far as the naked eye could see, it would be part of Hyderabad. The place is truly a gem. My only regret was not being able to take pictures of the place. No electronics were allowed at all. I missed some fire Insta shots.
Our next stop for the day was Hussain Sagar, a small lake built by (guess who?) Quli Qutub Shah. The heart shaped lake separates Hyderabad from its twin city Secunderabad. In 2012, the lake was declared a heritage site of India for having the largest heart-shaped mark in the world. The second largest man-made lake in Asia, Hussain Sagar was built on the tributary of the Musi River. Until 1930, the lake was used as an important water and irrigation source. But with the advent of urbanization, the water quality and depth has markedly decreased. Despite conservation efforts, large amounts of untreated sewage continues to flow into the lake.
In the middle of the water stands the 16 meters tall Buddha Statue. In the 1980s, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh N.T. Rama Rao commissioned the construction of this statue after seeing the Statue of Liberty in New York. It is sculpted entirely out of white granite rock, weighing about 350 tons. It was difficult to keep the statue standing in the water. It fell into the water and remained there for two years before it was pulled out and installed successfully on its platform, where it now stands regally.
Around the perimeters of the lake is Necklace Road, which lights up wonderfully at night and illuminates the Buddha Statue with different colors. Right next to Hussain Sagar is Lumbini Park, a small urban park that offers various amusements. We went on one of the rides–the kind that goes up into the air by circling round and round around a big pole. We expected the platform to freefall once it reached the top but were heavily disappointed when it circled back down at the same slow pace. Even still I got some nice shots of the area from up above.
We had lunch at Barbecue Nation and I gorged on the meat. The buffet was nice, too, offering different biryanis, curries, noodles taken by the order, and even soup. For the first time, I saw American-style salads. But the grilled shrimp skewers had my heart.
Ok that was all the fun stuff for Saturday. Sunday we went to the Nehru Zoological Park, which I wasn’t too thrilled about. Not much of a zoo person. We went early to avoid larger crowds and the midday heat, but even then most of the animals were asleep. Those that were awake were mindlessly walking back and forth from an invisible point A to point B. It was almost like they were tranquilized. We rode a safari and was disappointed by that too. The bus itself was a cage, with metal bars all around it. But the animals too were in cages. So everyone was in a cage. We saw maybe three animals total. Smh.
The weekend may not have been as exciting as the previous one but at least I got to be a basic tourist and see more of what this city has to show. This upcoming weekend, we’ll be going to Mumbai on another class trip. Stay tuned, goons.