HYDERABAD through my lens and D Famous PULIHORA--Andhra style Tamarind Rice

HYDERABAD - the city of pearls, the city of Biriyanis, the city of Nizam's, the city of Deccan arts, the city of culture, the city of Kohinoor Diamond, the city of CharMinar.

Unlike any other city, Hyderabad is a combination of the oldest and the moderns. Cyberabad, the new city is the perfect example of modernization which has huge steel structures of companies like Google, Microsoft and other technology giants. On the other hand, the old city of Hyderabad, located on the banks of Musi River built by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. This alluring 400 year old city contains many landmark buildings including the iconic Charminar, Golconda Fort, The Mecca Masjid (mosque), Chowmahalla Palace, Falaknuma Palace, Salar Jung Museum, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Nehru Zoological Park, Pearl Bazaar and the famous Irani Chai and Karachi Bakery.

A visit to this ancient city is a history lesson in itself.


Charminar, an iconic symbol of Hyderabad and the charm that represents the old city. The 400 year old living monument was built by Sultan Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah around 1591, as a mosque to commemorate the elimination of a deadly plague that ravaged the city.

Surrounding the four minarets, you’ll find centuries-old buildings, an overwhelming amount of street noise and huge crowds, including burqa-clad women and men in kurtas. The famous Laad Bazaar is located on one of the four main roads that branch out from the historic Charminar. This old market is popular for sparkly bangles and pearls.



This beautiful monument is one of the oldest and largest mosques in India, situated right beside the iconic Charminar.



Once regarded as the center of Hyderabad, the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat (4 Palaces) was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams entertained their official guests and royal visitors. Built over 200 years ago, Chowmahalla Palace is renowned for its unique style and elegance.A synthesis of many architectural styles and influences, the Palace Complex has been meticulously restored.

Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
Khilwat Mahal

Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
Takht-e-Nishan (Royal Seat) in Durbar Hall - Khilwat Mahal

Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
The 19 recently re installed chandeliers made of spectacular Belgian crystal recreate the lost splendor of this regal hall - Khilwat Mahal

Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
Arches & Pillars in Durbar Hall - Khilwat Mahal

Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA
The view of Clock Tower is another impressive construction. It houses what is affectionately called the Khilwat Clock which has been ticking away ever since the Palace was built.
Clock Tower, Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA

Chowmahalla Palace - Hyderabad, INDIA

Vintage Car Museum - The yellow car shown above is a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost 1911 Model. The yellow body had gold mountings and various parts of the body, lights, roof, etc were finished in silver.This car was used only for important occasions and has done just 356 miles in the last hundred years.


Salarjung Museum of Hyderabad

Salarjung Museum is the famous art museum of Hyderabad, located on the southern bank of the River Musi. It is the 3rd largest museum in India, and is the effort of one man's priced collection. It was originally started as the private collection of Mr. Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III (1889-1949), later was converted to a Museum for public.

As on date, there are 38 galleries in the Museum in three blocks i.e. (1) Indian Block (27 galleries), (2)Western Block (7 galleries) and (3) Eastern Block (4 galleries) in which nearly 13,654 objects are on display.

Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Veiled Rebecca of Salar Jung Museum is a white marble statue, sculptured by Giovanni Maria Benzoniin the mid 25th century. Said to be A melody in marble, and considered as the most beautiful art object in the world and masterpiece of Salar Jung Museum.

The art lies in the way the artist has captured the fragility of Rebecca’s innocence within her clinging chiffon robes and veil.

Carved out of a single block of wood, the famous double statue in Salar Jung Museum showing two life-size figures - Mephistopheles in front and Margaretta at the back. Margaretta and Mephistopheles symbolise good and evil respectively. With rare ingenuity, remarkable insight into the characters and superb craftsmanship, the sculptor has brought out in one piece of wood the agents of love and hate in all their life-like attitudes and elements.



All my respect as a woman, to Golconda, which was, at one time, the the only diamond mine in the world. The home of Kohinoor...the home of Hope Diamond...this ancient fort derives its name from Golla Konda, which is a Telugu word for Shepherd’s Hill. It’s when a shepherd boy stumbled upon an idol on the hill, it led to the construction of a mud fort by the Kakatiyas as part of their western defenses.

At Fateh Darwaza, the main entrance, a fantastic acoustic effect can be experienced, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda. A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point of the fort, almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack.

Golconda Fort Garden

The ruins of Golconda Fort

The ruins of Golconda Fort

 Ruins of Golkonda Fort with fountain in front at dusk

 Golconda @ Night after Light & Sound Show

 Golconda @ Night after Light & Sound Show

Haunted Golconda
The history books don’t talk about the spirits of thieves that are said to live in the trees, the baffling shadows seen gliding around, and the sounds of people crying out in pain. The spirit of Taramati, a courtesan turned queen, is often spotted here. Visitors aren’t allowed to linger after dark. But since it’s a popular film location, movie crews are often here past the deadline and see much more than they’d like.


The tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans lie about one kilometer north of Golkonda's outer wall. These structures are made of beautifully carved stonework, and surrounded by landscaped gardens. They are open to public and receive many visitors.

Qutub Shahi Tombs

Qutub Shahi Tombs


The sprawling 2000-acre Ramoji Film City, set up by Ramoji Group in 1996, is the land of million dreams, where comprehensive and world-class filmmaking facilities await dream merchants for a celluloid journey. The massive dreamscape vibrant with flamboyant locales, picturesque avenues, make-believe sets and outstanding film-making infrastructure make it as filmmakers’ paradise.

It is also a popular tourism and recreation centre, containing both natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park.

The Grand Entrance after a few minutes bus drive from the Ticket Counter

Fun Park inside Ramoji Rao Film City, Hyderabad

Red tourist Hop on Hop off buses inside Ramoji Rao Film City

The beautiful view of Ramoji Rao Film City

Mahabharatha set done at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad, quite interesting to see.

Mythological and Historical sets at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad

Indian Hollywood Studio

Magic Shows  inside Ramoji Rao Film City, Hyderabad

Fun Filled place for the entire family - Ramoji Rao Film City, Hyderabad

Nehru Zoological Park

An Indian Zoo where the authorities have gone the extra mile to make the visit enjoyable & comfortable. The electrical buggy ride is an excellent way to go round this massive zoo.



Lumbini Park is a small public, urban park, adjacent to Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. The main attractions of this park is the boat ride to the world's tallest monolith of Gautama Buddha. The story behind this Buddha of the Lake Bottom is quiet interesting. A beautiful effort and a major attraction of Hyderabad. It has various other attractions such as laser auditorium, boating facilities and musical fountains.

Please do not leave the city before trying the famous Irani Chai with Osmania Biscuits and before buying the famous Hyderabadi Pearls and Bangles.
I hope I don't have to mention the world famous HYDERABADI BIRIYANI

And now its foodieee time.

PULIHORA--Andhra style Tamarind Rice

After living in Hyderabad for more than a year, I have become a great admirer of their rice preparations. Of course, who have not heard about the world famous Hyderabadi Biriyani. But here I am talking about the vegetarian preparation of rice that I got to taste during the festive occasion of Ganesh Puja. I love the sour taste they add to most of their rice preparations.
Puli means sour taste. Pulihora is also referred to as sour rice. Other names are tamarind rice or lemon rice.
Here I am talking about the Tamarind Rice...This is the first time I was tasting tamarind rice...living in North India...I can never imagine adding tamarind pulp in rice pulao....a distinct flavor, which is spicy and tangy all at once, kind of addictive. The recipe is basically making a powder of roasted spices that is then added to a tamarind paste mixture, which you then fry with cooked rice. The combination of crunchy peanuts, tangy tamarind and spicy red chilies stimulates the taste buds very nicely.
Also, if you don't have time to prepare tamarind rice powder/paste from scratch, there are a number of varieties that are ready made and available at almost all the Indian stores. Priya really makes a good one. Homemade or store bought, this paste can be stored in refrigerator for future use.

Tamarind Rice Recipe


For Rice

2 cups Sona Masoori ( I prefer this rice over Basmati for this preparation)
4 cups Water
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

For Tamarind Paste
1 heaping teaspoon of Tamarind Concentrate mixed with 2 tablespoons of water or large lemon sized Tamarind (soak in a cup of hot water and extract pulp)
1 teaspoon Jaggery or Brown Sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon Cumin  Seeds
1 teaspoon Bengal Gram
1 teaspoon Black Gram
8-10 Whole Red Chilies
1/4 teaspoon Hing/Asafoetida
15-20 fresh Curry Leaves
2 fistfuls Peanuts (Whole or coarsely powdered)
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder

At the time of Final Assembly of Rice
1 tablespoon Roasted Sesame Seeds powder
1 fistful Roasted Peanuts

Making Pulihora

In a thick bottom pan cook two cups of Rice with four cups of water, salt and turmeric powder.  Spread rice into a thin layer too cool down, add a little oil to keep the grains separate. Set aside.

Dry roast Peanuts until fragrant. Likewise roast the Sesame Seeds and powder. Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a wok, add whole Red Chilies, Bengal gram, Black Grams, Peanuts and Mustard Seeds and finally Cumin Seeds. Once it splutters, add Curry leaves, Asafoetida and Turmeric powder.

Add the Tamarind extract and Jaggery. Cook till the raw smell of tamarind disappears. Adjust Salt, add water if required. It will be a thick but flowing paste. Remove from heat. 
At this point, you can cool and store this paste for future use.

Add 2 tablespoon of above Tamarind Paste to the cooked rice. Mix lightly without breaking the rice grains. Adjust salt and more paste or rice according to taste. Finally sprinkle the roasted Sesame seeds powder and roasted Peanuts and combine well. Let it sit for at least 1-2 hours for the flavors to set in.



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