One the second night, I decided to check out the iconic Charminar area and the Eat Street, well known for its street foods. The staff at the hotel told me that it was not very safe for a lady to go there at night. But then, was I not there in Hyderabad to check out the bazaars and street foods the previous day? I figured out that the best way to go to such crowded places was to carry the least number of personal items. So I left without the backpack, but armed myself with a bit of cash and a water bottle.
The Charminar is open to the public during day time, but at night, it looks majestic with glowing, colourful lights. Charminar basically means four towers, one pointing in each direction. The pointed towers are the minaret which you see in almost every mosque. Apparently, this place was built in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth Sultan of the Qutub Shahi dynasty of India. It is a blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture, an example of communal harmony in India as there is a “Dargah” (a Muslim religious place) and a Hindu temple ( Bhagyalakshimi Devi ), located within the complex.
The surrounding areas of Laad Bazaar and Mecca Masjid were crowded with hundreds of locals and tourists. The whole place was bustling with activities – noises from the market, sounds of incessant traffic and blaring of the horns of vehicles, with occasional speeding cars. The streets were dirty with paan spits. Nonetheless, the people were walking elbow to elbow, with the whole place in a festive mood. It was like a shopping carnival! Everywhere there were vendors selling clothes, bangles, pearls, costume jewelry, footwear, fruits and even luggage!
I walked the stretch to Eat Street, famous for its street foods which included samosas, mirchi bhaji (stuffed green chillies dipped in gram batter and deep fried), haleem, chicken 65, chicken tikkas, tandoori fish, shermal, Grilled mutton kebabs, pan roasted spicy, crispy fish and prawns, nalli paya (slow cooked meat stew with lamb shanks and trotters) and more. The street was overwhelmed with the smell of street foods. I bought a couple of pan fried fish, which smelled fishy and uncooked. Instantly, it was thrown into a nearby bin. I remember being told that the best time to be in Hyderabad to taste street foods is during the month of Ramzan. (Muslim fasting season).