Posted on 10th April, 2016
Hyderabad, also called the 'City of Pearls', is a beautiful city filled with modern structures and facilities, while still maintaining its old world charm. Hyderabad has a long and storied history, and the recent IT boom has cemented its place as a hub for major IT companies. Here are a few little known facts about this charming city.
Did you know that Hyderabad used to have its own currency? The Hyderabadi Rupee was the currency of the Hyderabad State from 1918 to 1959. It coexisted with the Indian rupee from 1950. Like the Indian rupee, it was divided into 16 annas, each of 12 pai. Coins were issued in copper (later bronze) for denominations of 1 and 2 pai and ½ anna, in cupro-nickel (later bronze) for 1 anna and in silver for 2, 4 and 8 annas and 1 rupee. Hyderabad was the only Indian princely state that was permitted to continue issuing its own notes after joining the Dominion of India in 1948 and the Republic of India in 1950.
Most of the historic monuments in India were built by the kings, sultans, rulers and emperors as mementos of their victory in battles. The Charminar in Hyderabad is an exception to it. Plague broke out as an epidemic right after Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah transferred his capital from Golkunda to Hyderabad. He promised to consecrate a monument while offering prayers to the Almighty (Allah) in order to save his new capital from the plague. He kept the promise by having commissioned the construction of the Charminar in 1591, in honor of the Almighty.
How many of you know that there is a cat's head designed in the apex of one of the arches in the eastern side of Charminar? It was perhaps meant to be a deterrent to rats, the cause of plague. And when the epidemic ended, Charminar was raised to commemorate its riddance.
Hyderabad's Irani café culture dates centuries back. Introduced by a group of settlers from Persia, Irani Chai (tea) became one with the taste of Hyderabad. The people in Old City start their day with cups of Irani Chai in the morning. The variants of Irani Chai including Khade Chammach ki Chai and Burkhe Wali Chai are unique to Hyderabad.
The clock above the main gate to Chowmahalla Palace is affectionately called as Khilwat Clock. It has been ticking away for around 250 years. An expert family of clock repairers winds the mechanical clock every week. The people of the locality wait for its chimes and correct their own watches by the accuracy of this clock's timing.
Have you ever heard of a temple for Chitragupta? According to Hindu mythology, Chitragupta is the prime associate of the god of death Yama and is assigned with the task of keeping records of an individual’s good and bad deeds to determine their afterlife. There aren’t many temples on his name as he is not considered as god. This rare temple Chitragupta Mahadeva Devalayam, is found in Chatrinaka, inside the Old City complex of Hyderabad.
Golconda Fort is an oft visited attraction in Hyderabad, but how many knew that there exists a 800 years old tree inside? This tree is about 80 feet in circumference and can accommodate up to 12 people in the hollow in the middle. ocated inside the Naya Qila, this is the oldest, biggest and rarely seen baobab tree in India. With a circumference of over 25 meters, it is called ‘hathiyan jhad’ or ‘elephant tree’ by the locals for its sheer size. The tree was planted by wandering fakirs in the regime of Qutb Shahi kings in Golconda. It is believed that the tree was once home to 40 thieves! They used to hide inside the enormous trunk of the tree at daytime and come out at night to do plundering. Interestingly, the tree was such a good hideout that the thieves remained safe for years.
Did you know that there is a wacky car museum in Hyderabad? Sudha Cars Museum is a must-see place in Hyderabad, especially for petrolheads. Founded by Mr. Sudhakar, it showcases an extremely wide range of car and bikes in different shapes, sizes and colors which you wouldn't have seen ever before. The theme of this museum mainly revolves around custom and vintage vehicles. Most of the custom cars have been made up of scrap but are in running condition just like any normal car.
Hyderabad was India's largest and richest princely state from 1724 to 1948. It existed as a state for 224 years. The last Nizam was the ruler of India's largest princely state - the size of Scotland and England combined - and was the richest man in the world until he died, aged 80 in 1967.
Operation Polo was the codename of the military operation in September 1948, when the Indian Armed Forces invaded the State of Hyderabad, annexing the state into the Indian Union. The conflict lasted 5 days, starting on 13th September 1948 and ending at 5 PM on 17th September, when the Nizam of Hyderabad announced a ceasefire.
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Goranka is a hardcore techie with a penchant for new and emerging technologies. He's an avid traveller and loves long drives. His philosophy is that weekends are meant for exploring new places. You can follow him here.
Hyderabad, Charminar, Chowmahalla Palace, Golkonda Fort, Sudha Car Museum, Irani Cafe, Hyderabadi Rupee, Chitragupta Temple, Operation Polo