Reflections during a a Heritage Walk - Charminar to Chowmahalla

Bright red on a grey morn 
We just decided to go for the Heritage Walk (Charminar to Chowmahalla) and didn’t much dwell on what to expect.  Raes our interpreter for the walk came in casually and right on time. Till the second before she started addressing the group one wouldn’t be able to figure out that she was going to lead us through the day. 

She started by giving us a brief history to the city, its rulers and how the different settlements came up. I’m not a history buff, but am a fairly enthusiastic audience to a good story teller. Raes was good with that, telling stories and telling them without assuming a stature that would become greater than the story itself.She started from the Kakatiya rulers and came upto the last Nizam in a fairly lucid narrative in which, one could see the Golconda grow from a mud fortress to the giant it is currently. Feel the growth of the walled city area and much more.
Aflutter on the clock tower
At the clock tower while Raes explained the architecture a fellow whose high was wearing off urged us all to visit Charminar. “Charminar ka neechu main ek surang hai aur usmein khazanna, jao le jao”. “ There is a tunnel under the charminar and treasure within it, go take it away!” Very filmy and yes it frightened me. Raes didn’t bat an eyelid and we continued to move ahead.

A little after the clock tower we came across a large poultry market and we turned a corner and found ourselves confronted by a bird bazaar of a different kind. Pigeons , drongos , common crows and jungle crows were a few I recall. Of course I was blinded by the psychedelic colours that some chicks were dyed in. As each person turned the corner we heard muttered exclamations or expletives in a few cases. There was not much to be said and thankfully no one attempted to either. We moved on with uneasy minds.
One of the views from Charminar

Its history and while we ignore its debris and half standing structures,  it does occasionally assert itself. While I walked down a few lanes between Charminar and Chowmahalla, Raes kept stopping at non-descript points to speak with the group I’d throw a casual look around and wonder what she was going talk about. In one spot she pointed out to the crescent moon and star on a building which was left as is and a symbol of Vishnu close to it. The Vishnu symbol had been put up later by new inhabitants without destroying what existed. She says the hoopla absout the tense atmosphere was created politically and day to day lives of the two communities in the region was peaceful.

I was reminded of Sushilama a lady who comes to help us in the house. Last August she told us that her companion needed a couple of days off as it was “Rakhi ki Eid” and later in the year that she would need time off as it was “Christmas ki Eid”. It was priceless. Then again I’m nagged by reminders of uncles in shorts and a vests telling me that the house would be let out to Brahmins only or rude enquiries from others on our food habits (veg or never mind).

I enjoyed the walk and the overall quite reflective feel that washed over me. Wondered how the years, rulers and influences have layered this city and so many others. The wooden balconies, arches, domes and different motifs which to me are just ignorantly “historical” but hold in themselves such insights into times that shaped us. I look forward to many more walks, accompanied and otherwise and pray that the summer sun shows some mercy to this restless soul.

The 2 tourism police personnel who accompanied us during the walk were very warm and pleasant. Overall a big thumbs up to APTDC.


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  2. Thanks for sharing your insights about Hyderabad. The city has one of the best varieties of pearls and gemstones in the world. If you are a history enthusiast, then you should definitely mark a visit to Salar Jung Museum, the place besieged by inexhaustible collections of historic and antique artefact's.