A night out in Charminar during the month of Ramadan is an adventure straight out of the Thousand and One Nights. Let me play Sheherazade as I get pushed, prodded, blinded and deafened - all for your benefit so that I might bring you another of my delightful comedic pieces.
This is a review, albeit a long meandering one in which I share my thoughts on the dosa scene in Hyderabad, of Maharaja Tiffins & Chat, which is at Haridas Market in Abids.
Brilliant food at an amazingly low cost. They do a few things well, and they stick to those few things. Highly recommended are the masala dosa and the pani puri at twenty and ten rupees respectively.
Avasa, located bang in the middle of HITEC city, has been beckoning us for a while. We hadn’t heard any reviews of the food there, and really hadn’t considered it before for dinner. On a Saturday evening, we were looking for a new place to eat at. After much debate, we decided to boldly go where we had never been before, and ended up at Avasa with no idea of what kind of dining options we had.
Vidya and I spent a delightful three days at the Jungle Lodges at Vilaspur. It was a wonderful experience, and we hope to do it again sometime.
We drove from Hyderabad to Vilaspur – a distance of about 135 kilometers. It took us a little over 3 hours – we stopped on the way for breakfast and pictures. The road was a National Highway all the way to Zaheerabad and except for a few patches around Zaheerabad, it was quite alright. After Zaheerabad, we turned into a state highway – this was bad in patches, but again, was not too painful. We continued driving past Bidar and past Naubad till we came to a sign for the Black Buck Resort. We turned off the state highway into a narrow road which soon petered out into bare rock. After about 3 kilometers of following signs on bare rock, we reached the resort.
Saturday found us on a birding photography trip after a longish break.
We set out early to catch the 6:17 AM sunrise at Narsapur, and managed to make the 50-odd kilometers in time to reach there at dawn. We stopped first on the trail leading to the ANGRAU research station. As we drove along the trail, we saw a sounder of boar slowly walking away from us into the undergrowth.
We parked off the trail and set off into the woods. While the others wandered off into the scrub, I walked along a trail that separated a patch of scrub jungle from a cleared area where some sort of farming activity had been attempted. The transitory zone between two habitats would make for some interesting birding, and I was not disappointed.
After a rather tiring day of household stuff and shopping, we wanted a relaxed dinner, and stepped into Via Milano in Jubilee Hills. I was thankful for the valet parking, and after a wee bit of trouble finding out how to get to the restaurant (it’s on the third floor, without any indication on the ground of how to get to it), we walked into a delightfully air-conditioned space. We were greeted warmly, seated comfortably and given warm towels to get into the dinner mood.
A long-time plan to visit Barkas was realized today. Khadeer was my guide for the day, and his brother Nazir accompanied us.
We met up early in the morning and drove to Barkas. First, some background. Barkas is part of the history of Hyderabad. The Arab soldiers who were part of the Nizam’s army lived in barracks, and their descendents continue to do so – except that the area where they live has come to be known as Barkas – a corruption of the word ‘barracks.’ Today, Barkas is an integral part of Hyderabad. Yet, it retains a stamp of Arabic influence that is distinct.
A few weeks ago, I was stocking up on victuals at our local green grocer’s, which goes by the grandiose name of Veerabhadra Vegetables. Veerabhadra Vegetables is by no means a mean place – on the main road from Kothaguda to Miyapur, its location opposite Shilpa Park gives it a strategic advantage that the grocer has turned into an excuse for the most alarming (to outsiders) Nawabi attitude. It is also this that endears him to all his customers, me included. Wasn’t this the guy