Hyderabad ki Galiyan aur Mahilley


Just across the small bridge over the railway line at Lakdi ka pool, is Khairatabad. The roads here are narrow so only one way traffic is permitted, which is very inconvenient. Khairatabad derives its name from a princess of the Qutb shah times called Khairati Begum. Parts of the area date back at least to the 16th century. There are a couple of old mosques too.

AC Guards

A little way beyond the khairatabad crossroads with its crazy traffic are a series of modern buildings. The Press Trust of India and United News of India, very large wire services, have their local offices here. The Mahavir hospital specializes in eye diseases and is very well run. This area is called AC Guards, from the quarters of the African Cavalry Guards.

A semi independent Reddy nobleman of a small feudal estate called Gadwal imported a troop of Ethiopian and probably Zanzibarian people. They were NOT slaves. It has been a sort of tradition for suspicious kings in India to keep as their personal guards, soldiers from far away lands who did not know the local language and could be trusted not to dabble in local intrigues. ( As far back as the 3rd century AD, Italian ( i.e. Romans) were employed in South India for these purposes.) The hyderabadi Africans troop was later gifted to the Nizam of Hyderabad. They proved to be very good at horse riding so they were made into a cavalry troop –hence the name African Cavalry Guards. Locally they are called Sidi and Habshi ( abyssinians) but they say while some of their ancestors may have come from East Africa, many of them are actually of Omani ancestry. More on these interesting Indians later, but they are becoming brown day by day

Opposite is a large educational campus, a branch of the JNTU (Jawaharlal Technical University) and a post graduate school, where Fine Arts is taught. Behind is the sprawling Vijayanagar colony, a quiet residential area.

Then comes Masab Tank.

Actually there is no tank or lake now, but back in the 16th century the sultan’s mother got a small dam made here, and the resulting lake was called Ma Saheba tank ( sort of Queen mother’s lake). The lake dried up long ago and a park and residential areas like Humayunnagar cover the area. The road runs on top of the embankment. The twin towers at the entrance of the road were still standing until a few years ago. During heavy rains the lake reappears. Right now there is a flyover being built : it will ease the traffic somewhat, but at the moment it has narrowed the roads.

There are large government buildings and offices in this area like the various welfare departments, etc. Across the masab tank comes Mehdi patnam. There are some very good schools here. From here onwards towards Golkonda fort in the distance is the old Qutb Shahi town area of Hyderabad north of the river Musi.


Kachiguda is an old quarter of Hyderabad city which has a predominantly Marathi atmosphere, because most of the residents originally hailed from parts of the marathi speaking parts of Hyderabad state. It is well known because of Kachiguda railway station, which used to be the terminus for trains to the southern parts like Kurnool and Bangalore. The track gauge was smaller than the all India broad gauge so it made a quaint site with the little snorting steam locomotives, puffing out of a arched railway station. Right now the facade is painted a drab white, but sometimes it was multicoloured with the tower /domes being red. There’s a steam loco on display outside Kachiguda.

The landmark dominating the cross roads are movie theatres, Parameswari theatre and Maheswari theatre.  The theatre has a revolving neon disc/cylider.


The road continues to Ramkot (pronounced raahm-coat) cross roads and close by is the Hyderabad government music college. From parameswari the south road passes through Badi Chowdi and  reaches Sultan Bazaar.

Sultan Bazaar

Sultan Bazaar is a small, densely crowded shopping area similar to millions of bazaars all over India. There is nothing noteworthy really here. Although the name may sound legendary or glamourous like Alladin roamed here or Sindbad the sailor purchased his vegetables, it is a simple market place. Some women wear the burkha which is a dark robe from head to feet, but the number of women found wearing veils here has come down sharply.


Opposite is the Koti Women’s College which was the english Residency.  One of the residents married a local girl and “went native”. The last time the Residency saw action was in 1857 when it was attacked by Turrebaaz Khan as part of the 1st war of independence ( the english saw it differently and called it Sepoy mutiny). But the walls withstood the barrage.


Back to Parameswari theatre…the eastern road leads to kachiguda railway station, .. the northern road leads to Narayanguda cross roads via the blood bank, Girls School, and Hyderabad YMCA. The western road goes past Reddy Hostel, Maharashtra mandal, endowments dept all the way to Tilak Road and Abids. There is a parsi fire temple called Agiary at Tilak road.

The area is slowly getting crowded as more old buildings are demolished to make way for 10 storey buildings. The streets do not proportionately widen in size, so residents say it was much nicer some years ago or decades ago.

Hussain Sagar

425 years old Hussain Sagar is one of the most beautiful sights of Hyderabad. Its bund connects Hyderabad and Secunderabad cities. Especially in the evening it looks very beautiful at the time of sun set.

The historical background is that during the rule of Ibrahim Qutub Shah the locality of Khairatabad was developed after the name of his daughter Khairatunnisa Begam. One big mosque was constructed which also is a very beautiful model of Khutubshahi architecture, some palaces were constructed and Khairatunnisa Begam used to live in one of the palaces. Some times Ibrahim Qutub Shah used to go to visit his daughter. At that time Hussain Sagar was just a very little pond. On one of his visits Khairtunnisa Begam requested her father to expand this small pond and convert it into a lake which had springs in it so that its water can be used for drinking purposes for the people of that locality and it could also be used for agriculture and name it as Ibrahim Sagar. The king agreed and gave orders to consult it with Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali who was the minister of roads and buildings. He also liked this idea so the work for the construction was handed over to Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali who was also an engineer . Later on the king gave in marriage one of his daughter to Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali.

In the year 1562 the construction work started and was completed in 2 years at an amount of about 2.5 lakh rupees(two hundred and fifty thousand) were spent. The length of the Tank bund is about one mile and 2280 feet long.

Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali was also a very popular person and when the construction was in progress people used to talk about it referring to Hazrath Hussain Shan Wali and the people who were working there used to say that they were working on Hussain Sagar. In this way it became popular by the name Hussain Sagar although it was named as Ibrahim Sagar and later on the king gave permition to name it as Hussain Sagar. He later constructed another lake Ibrahim Sagar at Ibrahim Patan.

Mir Alam Mandi

There are some places which are in the begining given a name but they become popular by some other name. Mir Alam Mandi is also one of them.

Mir Alam was very popular minister among the ministers of the Asafiya dynasty. He has done lot of welfare work for the public one of them is Mir Alam Tank which was the main source of drinking water in that area in those days even today it is used for this purpose and the present government is now developing it into a very beautiful place of entertainment and tourist attraction.

MIr Alam Mandi ( Mandi is a place of business where all types of grocery is sold at a very low price that is whole sale rates) is situated near Pathar Gatti in the old city of Hyderabad. At this place Mir Alam used to keep his army and guards and on any inportant occasions his procession used to start from this place it was called “Julu Khana” In the year 1805 Mir Alam started this mandi in his julu khana for the welfare of people and named it Sikandar Ganj after the name of the the third king of the Asifjahi dynasty Sikandar Jah who was the king at that time but this name never became popular and was always known as Mir Alam Mandi . A mosque was also constructed.

This mandi has rows of shops on two sides and in between a wide road for the people the walk and buy groceries from both the rows of shops. In the begining the shops did not have any roof but after the death of Mir Alam, Nawab Salar Jung got the roof done on these shops. Now this mandi has improved a lot with very big shops of different types of groceries.

Musa Ram Bagh

Monsieur Raymond, the late 17th century French general, who was extremely popular with Hyderabadis. His tomb is located in Dilsukhnagar area was known locally as Musa Ram bagh and Musa Rahim.

The area around is called Musaram bagh. (pronounced moosa- ram-bagh). A typical hyderabad peculiarity, Shri. Moosa Ram was actually Monsieur Raymond. The name was made Moosa Ram, no doubt because of the nasal french pronunciation (m’sieu raymo) raymond’s tomb. The neo classical structure has recently been restored The frenchman J. Joachim Marie Raymond born around 1756 AD was the son of a merchant. Raymond found mercenary fighting more suitable. Now during these times the “native states” were incessantly at war with each other, and decided to pick up modern warfare techniques developed in europe. So one state would employ British advisers and mercenaries , the rival would promptly employ the French. After some time it became confusing and everyone joined wherever they wished and fought their countrymen as well. Initially Raymond joined Mysore Tipu Sultan’s army , then Gen. Bussy (who did well for himself for a while, getting into local politics as well) and then the Nizam around 1785. Tipu and the Marathas beat the Nizam regularly, so they decided to try out Raymond. He was an artilleryman and was an expert cannon caster ( brass foundryman) who gave the name to another area of Hyderabad called Gunfoundry. Monsieur Raymond drew up a regiment of his own, at one time it even boasted 11,000 men. He passed away in 1798. The descendants of the troopers until fifty years ago, used to gather annually at his tomb some distance on the hillock behind the TV tower. A pyramidal pillar stands in his memory. A neo classical structure has ben restored recently. There used to be a small garden which fell into neglect: now it has been cleaned up and flowering shrubs have been planted. There is also a mysterious grave of a woman but there does not seem to be any conection to Raymond.
A short distance higher up is an old venkateswar temple. Judging from the design it would apppear to have been renovated in late Qutbshahi times. There is a good view from here, parts of the city not seen from other vantage points can be glimpsed. After the TV tower comes a crossroads where a shortcut across the Musi to Uppal reduces distances a lot.


Dilsukh Nagar

The old route from Hyderabad towards Masulapatnam is now called the Vijayawada highway. From a bridge across the river Musi at Chaderghat the route winds past built up areas to relatively open spaces and countryside on to the neighboring district of Nalgonda.


Washermen beating dirt out of clothes Chaderghat means bedsheet riverbank which is what in bygone days the place was. Traditional laundrymen called Dhobis or Raajakas used to pound the soil out of clothes here and dry the sheets on the banks. They still do at places on the river, but Chaderghat today is marked by bridges across the oily stream of the Musi. The railway bridge, the road bridge and new bypasses are indicators of the traffic here.


Across the bridge and to the east starts Malakpet . It is synonymous with the race course. There are some important races in season like the derby. Like at any racecourse the running horses are keenly watched by closely related braying species. But everyone in Hyderabad I asked seemed to like horses, if not the races. Malakpet also has a railway station.

Hyderabad TV Tower

A little past Malakpet is a junction from where a road leads off to the southern parts. Some distance beyond the area rises in height slightly. The Hyderabad TV tower rises high, quite surprisingly large when seen close up. The daily dose of Doordarshan is dished out from here. duh. I don’t think anyone’s allowed to climb the tower. On the left on a hillock is Asmangadh palace of the Nizam (now the Birla Archeological and Research Center).

Dilsukh Nagar

Then comes the highly congested and fabled Dilsukh nagar.  (no, there is nothing fabled about it yet but my friends from there insisted I use some fancy adjective). As a matter of fact the place seems to be totally out of place in Hyderabad. It is a peculiar combination of Vijayawada, Guntur, Madras and Hyderabad. Fifteen years ago it is said nobody wanted to go there. Then someone floated a rumour the Vijayawada-Hyderabad railway line would pass through the area and this sparked off a rush by middle class people to build houses there. The railway will not materialize ( it took another route) but the area became very densely packed. ( The government has revived the proposal for a elevated railway again.) Dilsukhnagar is also very obviously alive and prosperous. I don’t know for sure but coastal andhra Chowdharys are said to dominate in business here. The succession of “colonies” spreads all over the area. and there is still a lot of building activity in the back reaches. Today this area is synonymous with horrendous traffic jams. Besides city traffic the highway to Vijayawada adds its through traffic as well. Loyal residents claim the back streets are quite pleasant actually and unlike the dusty main road. err..no comment.Curiously enough, this part of hyderabad is very old.


There are ruins of a third century 350 a.d. Buddhist Monastery here with old lettering carved on boulders near the river at Kothapeta. It is part of a recent temple of Narasimha ( legendary man-lion who killed a cruel tryant). The letters are in a bihar-derived script similar to old pali. There are also actively attended shrines of ancient mother goddess/village goddesses in this area, like pochamma and maisamma. These hark back to a time when people were in tribal groups making a living by hunting and food gathering, very ancient… by Indian standards Fruits must have been a favourite in those eras as they are now.

Gaddi Annaram

The new fruit market of Gaddi Annaram suddenly springs on us after a slight turn. The name means Haymarket, and people used to ride their horses or wagons and tank up their steeds here. Possibly the grasslands on the low riverbank closeby produced succulent feed. The road takes a steep right turn , crossing a couple of barely recognizable ditches of a never completed medieval fort. The ruins still stand.

Paigah Clan

Some distance away are the tombs of the Paigah clan, courtiers and important supporters of the Nizam. The government keeps trying to promote it as a tourist spot “carved stone panels” etc. etc.
Another recently laid out route from Uppal across the Musi river joins this road at Lal Bahadur Nagar. (In winter, it is a pleasure to zip along this road during holidays when there is less traffic.) But we are overspeeding here and getting into pages of adjacent areas like Vanasthalipuram.

Banjara Hills

Decades ago the hills were the hiding place for crooks,robbers and unsocial elements. Any one unfortunate enough to take a wrong turn into this area were stripped of their belongings right down to their undergarments. Inspite of this some fearless gentlemen occasionally used to go for a walk to enjoy the greenery and streams.

Cason Walker ICS who was appointed as a fianancial advisor to the Nizam’s Govt used to live in Khairtabad. Walker was old and ill when he took the job. Lot of Banjaras/Lambadas used to bring food grains for Hyderabad markets in their bullockcarts with bells hanging around animals necks and every night they used to pass in front of Walker’s residence. Being insomniac he got fed up with this noise and ordered police chief to reroute this qafila. The PWD also sprang into action and built a new road connecting Siddi Risala with Punja Gutta and name it Walker Road. Some how the name Walker Rd.did not stick and the road was always called Banjara Road thus Banjara Hills started to take form.
Dr.Khadyu Jung (Director Medical Services) was the first person to buy hundreds of acres of land in Banjara Hills. Dr.Saab was Ali Yawar Jung’s father. He named the area Kareemabad. But the real
force behind the formation of Banjara Hills was Nawab Mehdi Nawaz Jung. Spending his own money he corraled his friends and relatives to invest in buying lands in Banjara Hills.

First residents were

  •  Justice Hashim Ali,
  • Dr.Waghrey,
  • Nawab of Tadbun and
  • Maharajah Kishen Pershad.
  • Mehdi Nawaz Jung himslf built a unique home and used stones as walls.It looked like Tibet’s Lamas home. The others who pulled in to make Banjara Hills a wonderful place to live were
  • Grickson ICS Kazim Yar Jung and
  • Dr.Hamid Ali Municipal commissioner.

As the time passed by more and more successful people started to move in. The area was really charming in 50s and 60, so clean so beautiful and not a bit congested. I had an opportunity to visit many homes in the area and in terms of instruction, color,  interior designs and landscaping they could be compared to the best homes in America.


Maredpally is a residential area in the northern part of Hyderabad-Secunderabad (twin cities for short). . It is bounded on the east by the long , low ridge of adda gutta, on the west by Picket , to the north by the Army area of AOC and the south by Sarojini Devi Road. Maredpally means Village of maredutrees. Maredu is Aegle spp, bilva, a tree which bears greyish edible fruits. These trees are generally planted near Siva temples. There are still some scattered maredu trees among the others, and so are the resident monkeys of maredpally who were here long before humans evolved at all.

When it was first planned mostly civil servants of the Hyderabad state settled there. A large proportion were ofTamil origin and Maredpally was until recently considered the ‘madrasi’ quarter of Hyderabad. Now in Maredpally there is no aroma of genuine tamil sambar (a spicy vegetarian curry which is the staple diet of a section of Tamil people). Even the de rigeur ” Murugan stores” cloth shopping bags can’t be seen anymore, it is actually Abids Adidas and Ludhiana Lacoste which are features of Maredpally now.

It used to be a green, quiet pleasant area with a sunday atmosphere, all the week long . But progress rudely disturbed the urdu-fied Malgudi, sorry Maredpally. Apartment blocks are increasing, as is the population. There are only two sides in Maredpally, unimaginatively called east and west. The west (Secunderabad end) is marked by a Ganesh temple and CBN’s flyover (patny corner). Hardly anyone uses this long flyover really except VIP’s from the airport going to the eastern side of the city. Assorted government offices like courts, just past which is the YWCA….a couple of large new buildings having replaced an attractive ‘bungalow’. The karate classes here used to be very popular. After some distance there are the regulation little shops, several opticians and many residental estates on both sides of the road. Tucked away to the right near a park is the SecunderabadGovernment Music College. Further ahead is Kasturba Women’s College. The late M L Jaisimha an immensely popular cricketer used to live close by.

Maredpally is basically a combination of an old village and newer housing. While old timers mutter about the decline it is still a pleasant place to live. Real estate rates are very high here, because it is close to the city but still retains a suburban character.

Kallu Compound

On the west road though, the landmark is the Kallu Compound. Kallu being palm wine, and Compound meaning enclosure. This is a traditional Telugu village style tavern . This area used to be Old Maredpally –meaning the original village of maredpally -picket . Traces of the old village path right from Gymkhana, to Picket, Kallu Compound and all the way past the hill to Malkajgiri can be noted still. The west maredpally road continues on for a short distance to meet the AOC gate ( Army Ordnance Centre).

The east side of maredpally begins behind the Railway buildings and runs parallel to the ridge of Adda guttahillock.. It seems to be insanitary for some reason. On the road is St Johns’ Church , the New Club and a Polytechnic. Ramson Cafe where you can get namkeen ( round salted biscuits) and quite undrinkable very strongly brewed orangish coloured tea , is very popular. Next landmarks are Geetha Nursing Home and Shenoy Nursing Home . A small open park is used for cricket, especially by girls’ teams. Kasturba College mentioned earlier is on a branch road. The road on the east slopes up on the ridge past Tagore’s Home Junior College (cheerful rough place) and many houses, and goes down all the way to lalla guda railway station.

Mahindra Hills

A little beyond Shenoy Nursing Home past a graveyard/crematorium is Mahindra Hills , fancy name for nothing more than a small spur of the addagutta hillock. There are some small housing colonies here though water is a problem in some areas. Since it is in the airplane takeoff area from Begumpet airport, some of the buildings are in trouble–they exceeded the height limits and are being threatened with demolition. Well lot of environmental reasons are being cited to stop the extension of the runway, but really the builders ought to have taken permission before going ahead. Higher up, the ridge is army area but controlled by wild red mongoose families. Nice view and fresh breeze, in spite of the jet aircraft taking off and landing.


  • Char Qandeel
  • Dongar singh ka tabela
  • Sukki meer kaman
  • Gulab Singh ki bowli
  • Ghode ki khabar
  • Amjad daulah ka bagh
  • Shamsheer Ganj
  • Hari Bowli
  • Moosa Bowli
  • Mangal Haat
  • Doodh Bowli
  • Syed Ali Chabutra
  • Lal imli ka bagh
  • Sabzi Mandi
  • Dal Mandi