After a late Friday quiz night at the Marriott with our Uk friends before they returned home, we got up at 5:30am on a foggy (yes foggy!) Bangalore morning to head to the airport. Narayan (our driver) must have been tired too as he would have got home later and up earlier than us – but you couldn’t tell. His cheery greeting hid any tiredness.
On the way to the airport the fog got thicker and Zahra declared it a real pea souper – she wasn’t wrong and it didn’t bode well for the flight. Sure enough we were told the flight was delayed for over an hour. Not too bad we thought. Then it got delayed again, and again, and again. To add to the confusion, the gate number kept changing and Air India staff changed gates at one point and told passengers the wrong gate number. People were walking backwards and forwards all over the airport with their luggage. On the final gate change irate passengers started yelling at security and surrounding them. Rez and I stood back watching, slightly amused – like they could do anything about it – but also slightly nervous, they have guns here and you don’t want to mess them around!
After a 4 hour delay we were on our way and arrived in Hyderabad an hour later. The airport in Hyderabad is lovely – better than Bangalore and Goa. (Perhaps a blog post for another day about the airports and the multiple security checks you have to go through – entering the airport, check in, usual security check, boarding and getting on the plane.)
As we exited the airport with our bags I spotted Sunny and Finny immediately then Bujji. Big smiles as they ran to greet us. We were excited and nervous – we had never met Bujji (or her boys) although we have known them as a family since 1988. Proper snail mail letters and cards, the occasional long distance phone call but more recently via Facebook, Messenger and video messages. Social media really has made the world a smaller place.
Lots of sightseeing from the cab on the hour journey to the apartment. The roads are a lot better here than in Bangalore and the traffic is much lighter. We also ate lots of rose cakes that Bujji had made. They’re delicious.
We were somewhat of a curiosity with the children when we arrived. We settled quickly and chatted and ate the most delicious lunch cooked by Bujji. The prawn curry in particular was delicious.
After a nap (we were all shattered by the long delay) we headed out to a mall and Zahra enjoyed playing some games in the arcade as well as air hockey with both Sunny and Finny. Zahra had a go on the climbing wall , barefoot. She got about half way up before the pain got to her and she dropped off. Not a bad effort though. Of course there was the obligatory ice cream too.
On Sunday we woke too late for the (really early!) church service – as we were clearly still tired. After a delicious doughnut (Indian style) breakfast we headed out to Golconda (the round fort). The entry fee was cheap (£1) but not as cheap as it was for locals (5p). I’ve since discovered that the entry price has been static for at least 12 years – someone is missing a trick by not increasing it in line with inflation.
Golconda derives its name from the Telegu words “Golla Konda” which means shepherd’s hill. It’s a massive ruined fort with a three tiered fortification protected by a moat. There are 8 entrance gates, a citadel, armouries, reservoirs, mosques, township, clapping tower, mortuary, bath, guard lines, offices and a jail amongst other things.
The Taramati Mosque was the most impressive mosque inside Golconda. Unfortunately there was no public access to the mosque itself but we could admire the Qutb Shahi architecture from the outside. It has 3 arches with the central being larger than the rest. The parapet wall has a Chhajja of the Hindu architectural pattern and is embellished with square openings.
We headed off to a mall for lunch and then Zahra spotted the ‘Dolphin Race’ which of course we had to try. It was such a laugh.