Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Trip to Explore Hyderabad

I got an opportunity to visit Hyderabad for 4 days. The main purpose of our visit was to attend office colleague’s marriage. We decided to spend 2-3 days more on exploring the city which is famous for market and Biryani.

Charminar at night
Charminar at night

Travelers for this trip were I, Wife Renu and friend Rohan Powar.

About Hyderabad City:
              Hyderabad city is the capital of Telangana State and temporary capital of Andhra Pradesh. A city located on the bank of Musi River. It was established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. In 1724, Mughal King Asif Jah I declared his dominion and created his own empire, known as the Nizams of Hyderabad. Hyderabad means "Haydar's city" from haydar (lion) and abad (city).
               One more story says that Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of the city, named it "Bhagyanagar" after Bhagmati, a local dancing girl with whom he had fallen in love. She converted to Islam and adopted the title, Hyder Mahal. The city was renamed Hyderabad in her honor.
              Hyderabad is very well connected to Indian cities by airlines, rail network, and Roads. New International airport “Rajiv Gandhi International Airport” is located around 20km from the city.

Day 0: 5 August 2016: Pune – Hyderabad
              We booked Jet airways airline to reach Hyderabad after office hours. Renuka picked us from her office and board flight at 9 PM. We reached Hyderabad by 10:30 PM. We had our booking at Taj hotel on Abids Road. Check in process was smooth and room was well equipped with all required facility.


  • One way Pune to HYD Jet airways flight: INR 5115/- for 3 person
  • Uber cab: INR 170/- (Pune old city – Kalyani Nagar – Airport)
  • Uber cab: INR 520/- (Airport to Hotel)
  • Taj Mahal Hotel room: INR 2150/- for 1 night with Breakfast
  • Water bottles: INR 60/- for 2 bottles.

Day 1: 6 August 2016: Hyderabad:
We woke up by 8 AM and had complimentary tasty breakfast. We decided to explore the old city. Our first destination was Charminar. Charminar is an iconic place of Hyderabad city. It is located in old city. It opens at 9 AM to visit its upper floor and closed by 5 PM. In the evening this place becomes such a lively place where you can see Charminar in a different color and the lights of the street-light as well reflecting on the old-standing structure. Charminar was built in the year 1591-92 fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah.


               Charminar consists of four (Char in Urdu/Hindi) towers (Minar in Urdu/Hindi). It is beautifully designed from inside. It is of Indo-Islamic architecture style, incorporating Persian architectural elements. Local says, there was an underground tunnel connecting the Golla konda fort to Charminar. It was built for an escape route for the Qutb Shahi rulers in case of a siege.

Roof from inside Charminar

               The area around Charminar is highly populated and famous for shopping. A lot of shopping items like a pearl; Cloths, bangles etc. are available here. This place gets too crowded in the evening. We kept one evening for Charminar to cover wife’s shopping and night photography of Charminar.

Mecca Masjid view from Charminar
Mecca Masjid views from Charminar

               After Charminar, we went in Mecca Masjid (Also known as Makkah Masjid). It is few steps away from Charminar. It was built between years 1617 – 1694. Mecca Masjid is one of the oldest Masjid from the city. Bricks used for Masjid construction was made from the soil brought from Mecca, the holiest site in Islam. Hence the name of Masjid is given as Mecca Masjid. You cannot carry bags inside due to security reasons. Locker facility is available for visitors inside Masjid.

Mecca Masjid

              Our Next destination was Chowmahalla Palace. This place was official residence place of Hyderabad Nawab. It was said that the construction of this palace was started in 1750 and completed in1869. It took 119 years to complete. Many tourist groups miss this place which is t walkable distance from Charminar. The grand pillared Durbar Hall has a pure marble platform on which the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. Palace is closed on Friday and on National holiday.

Chowmahalla Palace
Chowmahalla Palace

Royal Seat

               Chowmahalla palace is four palace building. Chow stands for 4 Mahal for Palace. The entrance is popularly known as Khilwat, and it was the office of the Nizams, the area in and around it is also called the Khilwat colony in Hyderabad. The Palace is well maintained and you may take minimum 2 hrs. to complete the tour. The inside collection of all the 4 palace showcases artifacts of artillery, garments, and photography from the Nizams era.

Back side of Palace


              It was 1 PM in clock and we were hungry. Local suggested us Pista House for lunch. Hyderabad is famous of Biryani so we decided to try different biryani in our 4 days stay. Biryani from Pista House was average (We released it after having meals at famous hotel Bawarchi).

Chowmahalla Palace

                Our next place to visit was Salar Jung Museum. This was the best place to visit in afternoon time to beat bright sunshine. Salar Jung museum is one of the largest museums in India. It consists of the largest collection of antique items. Museum has luggage clock room as bags are not allowed inside. It opens at 10 AM and closed at 5PM. Ticket counter gets closed at 4:15 PM.

Salar Jung Museum
Salar Jung Museum

               It consists of more than 30 Galleries with a lot of collections spread on two floors, displays only a part of the original collection. Coin gallery, Glass work Gallery, painting gallery, statue gallery, and clock gallery are must visit Galleries. It takes at least half day to see the museum.
               The Museum has a famous Quran Collection from around the World in different fonts and designs. Main attraction from Museum is Musical clock. Every hour, a timekeeper emerges from the upper deck of the clock to strike a gong as many times as it is the hours of the day. It is an antique. Other not to miss masterpieces is Double Statue (Front Side is Man, Reverse is a Woman) and Veiled Rebecca Statue.

Veiled Robecca
Double Statue

              By 5 PM, We came out from the museum. All together it was a different experience and we felt like we spending less time in Salar Jung Museum. We decided to visit Birla Temple near Hussain Sagar Lake. Temple is very beautiful made up of 100% marble material with fabulous carving. The biggest drawback is you are not allowed to carry Camera. Temple offers a stunning view of City and Lake but you cannot capture in camera. There is locker facility to keep your bags and foot wares.
              Our next destination was Lumbini Park. Park is mainly built for Children and port to catch the ferry for Buddha Statue Island. Park consists of water lesser show at 7.15 PM. The entire show is 45 min and first 20-25 min is worth to watch. Entry fee for Park and Lesser show is different. After Lesser show, we took to walk around the lake.

Lumbini Park lesser show
Lumbini Park lesser show

Hussain Sagar Lake

               We came back to our hotel for dinner. Hotel Taj has a pure veg restaurant which serves authentic south Indian meal. The meal was tasty and we enjoyed it. After Dinner, we did check out from the hotel and shifted to hotel grand Celeste. Hotel Taj was booked for remaining days and we were not in favor to go for an upgraded room. Hotel grand Celeste was budget hotel located close to Nampally railway station. It was newly renewed and basic amenities were available.

Andhra Thali


  • Bus ticket: INR 42/- for 3 person
  • Charminar entry ticket: INR 45/- for 3 person
  • Luggage & Footwear clock room at Mecca Masjid: INR 20/-
  • Chowmahalla Palace ticket: INR 100/- for 2 person
  • Chowmahalla Palace camera charge: INR 50/-
  • Lunch at Pista hotel: INR 480/- (Veg Biryani, Chicken Biryani, and cold drinks)
  • Auto (Charminar to Salar Jung museum): INR 60/-
  • Salar Jung museum Entry: INR 60/- for 3 person
  • Salar Jung museum camera charges: INR 50/-
  • Auto (Salar Jung museum to Birla temple): INR 100/-
  • Auto (Birla temple to Lake): INR 40/-
  • Lumini park entry: INR 60/- for 3 person
  • Lesser show Lumini park: INR 150/- for 3 person
  • Auto (Lumini park to Hotel): INR 40/-
  • Dinner at Taj Hotel: INR 651/- for 3 person
  • Water bottle: INR 20/-

Day 2: 7 August 2016: Hyderabad
               Today, we attended friend's wedding program from early morning till late evening. It was my first experience to attend typical south Indian wedding program. After lunch, we got 3-4 hours time to explore near to wedding hall. we decided to visit Nehru Zoological Park
               I do Wildlife photography hence I avoid visiting Zoo in which animals are caged. Park area is huge and maintained properly. They have multiple vehicle options to explore parks such as Cycle, Battery cars, Toy train or walk. This Zoo consists of a large number of mammal and bird variety I have ever seen in India. Great to see African and American animals.If you have children then do visit this park for sure otherwise, it's fine to miss during HYD trip.

After wedding dinner, we went to the hotel for rest.


  • Breakfast: INR 105/- for 3 person
  • Nehru Zoological Park Zoo entry: INR 90/- for 3 person
  • Nehru Zoological Park Camera charge: INR 20/-

Day 3: 8 August 2016: Hyderabad:
              we woke up by 7:30 AM and left the hotel by 8:30 AM for Golkonda Fort. We got public transport bus outside the hotel and reached the fort within an hour. Golkonda fort is also known as Golconda or Golla Konda which means Round shaped hill. It was built first built by the Kakatiya dynasty as part of their western defenses. Fort was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (1518–1687). Local says, world famous Diamond Kohinoor (Now with British royal family), Daria-i-Noor (now Central Bank of Islamic Republic of Iran) and Hope diamonds (in United States National Museum of Natural History) were in this fort.

Golkonda fort
Golkonda fort

Golkonda fort
Golkonda fort

               Fort is huge in size and needs to climb around 700 steps to reach the top. The Golkonda fort is listed as an archaeological treasure by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is spread across 11km of the area. Fort consists of Kings Palace, Queen Palace, mosques, Fateh Darwaza, royal apartments, Temples, Magazines, stables and other fortification.

Top point of Fort

Steps to reach top of the Fort

               View from Top of the fort is simply beautiful. you can see kings darbar at the top. you can spend more than 3-4 hours to view entire fort. When we were in the fort, around 30% fort area was closed for Malayalam movie shooting. After fort, we saw Qutab Shahi Tombs which is close to the fort.We left for lunch by 12:30 PM by Cab.

View from Golkonda fort
View from Golkonda fort

              We took lunch at Bawarchi which is famous for best Biryani from Hyderabad. The food was simply awesome and mouthwatering. The restaurant is of 3 story building. Parcel is provided on a ground floor, 1st Floor is consist of AC rooms and the top floor is non AC terrace floor.
             We decided to visit snow world to beat bright sunlight. It was an average place where you can get a feel of freezing weather effect. You can spend 1 hour in a closed chamber with freezing temperature and artificial snow. You can play in the snow, sliding rides, snow volleyball etc. They also have 5 min snowfall and some DJ to dance. This huge chamber consists of the small coffee shop.

We at Snow World

               Our next destination was Hussain Sagar Lake and Buddha Statue. You can take a Boat ride from Lumbini Park to the statue and then return by any other boat. Boat service acts as shuttle service which will allow you to spend as much time as you want. There is no fee to visit Buddha Statue Island but have to pay nominal ferry charges.

Hussain Sagar Lake & Buddha Statue
Hussain Sagar Lake & Buddha Statue

               We were all most done with all attraction from Hyderabad but yet one very important thing was pending. Yes, that was shopping time at Charminar bazar. We went after sunset time when the market was at its peak. Wife enjoyed her shopping and we purchased some pearl jewelry. When my wife was busy with shopping, I was capturing Charminar with lighting effect.

Buddha Statue
Buddha Statue

               By 10 PM, we went for dinner at Shabad restaurant which is few meters away from Charminar. From outside appearance, I was skeptical of entering. A person from counter told me to go upstairs for family AC room. Chicken Biryani was very tasty and perfect day for me to taste Hyderabad's two famous biryani.

Charminar in red light

Charminar in Pink light

              It was 11:30 PM and now the crowd disappeared from Charminar. I took an opportunity to click some long exposure clicks of Charminar. We spend around an Hour and local people and police help us so I can capture from Middle of the road. It was one of the best time which I spend in Hyderabad.

Charminar at Night

Charminar at Night


  • Bus to Golkonda Fort: INR 30/- for 2 person
  • Breakfast: INR 65/- for 2 people (Dosa and coffee)
  • Golkonda Fort Ticket: INR 30/- for 2 person
  • Golkonda Fort camera charge: INR 25/-
  • Coconut water: INR 25/-
  • Uber cab (Golkonda Fort  to hotel at Nampally): INR 90/-
  • OLA cab (Hotel to Bawarchi): INR 105/-
  • Lunch at Bawarchi: INR 570/- for 3 people (Chicken starter, Chicken Biryani, Veg Biryani and Cold drinks)
  • Auto (Bawarchi to Snow world): INR 50/-
  • Snow world Entry: INR 1350/- for 3 person
  • Mobile locker at Snow world: INR 20/- for 4 mobiles.
  • Snow world camera chargers: INR 10/-
  • 2 Coffee at snow world: INR 40/-
  • Lumini park entry: INR 60 for 3 people.
  • Ferry to buddha statue: INR 165/- for 3 person
  • Uber (Hussain Sagar Lake to Charminar): INR 100/-
  • Dinner at Shabad hotel: INR 730/- for 3 people (Masala Papad, veg dish-Roti, Chicken Biryani and Cold drinks)
  • Uber (Charminar to Hotel): INR 118/-

Day 4: 9 August 2016: Ramoji Flim City, Hyderabad:
              Our day was kept a reserve for Ramoji Flim city. We woke up at 7 AM and left the hotel by before 8 AM. We board public transport bus for Ramoji. After hour journey, we reach the main entrance of Ramoji Film city. Film city is spread across 1800 acres of land. It is the world's largest film studio as per Guinness world record. Many films have completed shooting from the year 1996.
               You have to buy day package tickets from the Ticket counter. Ticket price range starts from INR 1000/- to INR 2500/- as per packages. Once you purchased a ticket, Ramoji Film city’s bus takes you to tourist welcome center which is 7 km from Main gate. This is the starting point of you entire day tour. From this point, you can take the ride of film sets in an open bus. This ride starts at 9 AM and my advice is to take the early morning bus to beat crowd over the weekend. We were at Ramoji on odd day hence fewer tourists were present. Morning ride gives you enough time to complete tour.

Film Set

               This open bus tour shows you film sets and gardens which were used in different films. you can connect to the movie after seeing film set. Indoor sets are not allowed for tourists. they stopped the bus at Ramayana film set and at Railway station set. We clicked filmy shots at the railway station and continued our tour.

Railway station Set from Back side...Beautiful and realistic station look from the front side. This set was used (After customization) in song All the Rajini fan (Lungi Dance) from Chennai Express

Filmy fun on set... Me and Wife

               After film set, they took us to Butterfly park and Bird park. Ramoji's bird park consists of an amazing variety of birds from all over the world. It is definitely not to miss attraction from Ramoji film city. we saw few gardens before we board a bus to reach the welcome center.

Bird Park in Ramoji Film City

              From 12 PM, you can enjoy different shows played in Ramoji. Action show was the highlight as compared to the other shows. Other shows were Sprite of Ramoji (Dance show) and Light camera action. They also have few fun rides for children and adults. Space Yatra (5D film), Filmy Dunia (Miniature film sets), Filmmaking demo were among them.

Action Show

               Ramoji film city also has a number of food joints for lunch and snacks. We had our lunch at continental food outlet (I forgot the name) which was decent and manageable. By 3:30 PM, we were done with most of the activity. We decided to take open bus tour once again to kill the time till 5 PM.

Village Set

               Afternoon open bus tour was not worth as they try to finish it early without providing proper info and no time to take a photo. Bus guide told us about outdoor shooting and took us there. We saw “Tera intazar” movie shoot casting Sunny Leon and Arbaaz khan. It was a different experience to see actual shooting from hardly 12-15 feet. It was good to watch for few retakes and then we left shooting location. We also got to know that shooting of Bahubali part 2 was in progress but no one was allowed to enter in that zone.

Sunny Leon on set of movie "Tera Intazar

               By 5 PM, we came back at welcome center. Buses were ready to drop us at the main gate. We left Filmy Dunia with some different experience. From the main road, we got sharing Auto. He dropped us close to Hyderabad city and from there we got public transportation to reach the hotel.
              we packed our bags and did check out from the hotel. Before boarding Duronto train, we wanted to have dinner at Bawarchi restaurant. We had tasty Chicken Biryani and reached the railway station. Duronto train left Hyderabad at 11 PM and our lovely Hyderabad trip came to an end.


  • Bus to Ramoji: INR 60/- for 3 person
  • Ramoji Film City entry: 3000/- for 3 person
  • Breakfast in Ramoji: INR 160/-
  • Lunch at Ramoji: INR 460/- for 3 person
  • Water bottle: INR 20/-
  • Share Auto: INR 60/-
  • Bus to Nampally: INR 51/-
  • Uber(Hotel to Bawarchi): 110/-
  • Dinner at Bawarchi: INR 340/- (Veg starter, Chicken Biryani, and cold drinks)
  • Uber (Bawarchi to station): INR 65/-

Contact Number for reference

  • Taj Mahal Hotel, Abids Road: 914066120601, 66120606, 24758250.
  • Bawarchi hotel: 914027605308.
  • Shadab hotel: 914024561648.

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.
Happy traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Offbeat Ajivali Waterfall and outing at Tikona Picnic

I was looking for an offbeat location to spend my entire day. I wanted to visit Tikona picnic and Agro tourism resort which is owned by my friend Suresh Marathe and managed by me. I come to know about Ajivali Devrai and small but beautiful waterfall.

Traveller for this trip was I and Wife Renuka.

Ajivali Waterfall
We at Ajivali Waterfall

About Tikona Picnic and Agro tourism resort
Tikona Picnic resort at Mulshi is managed by Suresh Marathe and his Family. It is spread over 3.5 acres of land with plantation of mango trees and many other types of trees. Tikona Picnic resort offers you excellent natural beauty, relaxation at the bank of Lake; explore the plantation garden area of the resort, get-together with family or friends, Tent camping and delicious Gavran meal.

Tikona Picnic resort
Tikona Picnic resort

About Ajivali Village
Ajivali Village is a very small village near Pavana Dam (Also known as Pawna / Pawana Dam). It is hidden gem from Mulshi Taluka and famous for dense forest. In local, it is known as Devrai. There is a small but scenic waterfall on the route to Devrai.

To reach the base village of fort from Pune is Pune – Chandani Chowk – Pirangut – Paud – Take a right at Paud after Bus stand – Hadashi (No need to take Hadashi temple route) – Javan – Ajivali Village

Ajivali Waterfall
Ajivali Waterfall

Our Day trip 
               We left Pune by 7 AM and reached at Tikona Picnic by 8.30 AM. Road condition till Paud village is good and then the road with few rough patches.Due to the light rain shower, the journey was pleasant. We had tasty breakfast and then move ahead for Ajivali.
               Ajivali is a small village. There is no direction board present on road hence better to ask villagers after Javan village or check Google Map. Monson and immediately post monsoon are the best time to visit Ajivali for waterfall whereas you can visit Devrai throughout the year. In Monsoon, park your vehicle in the village and take a trail to reach Devrai.

Ajivali Forest

              Once you begin with a walk, take right side route at Y junction. Road is narrow and created by soil. After 10 minutes of walk, you will arrive at the waterfall which is on your left. It is a small cascading waterfall and only flows in full swing if it is raining.

Cascading Waterfall
Cascading Waterfall

              After further 10 min walk, you can hear waterfall's flow. This waterfall is not visible from the route and you have to take the right trail to reach fall. It is a beautiful waterfall. An entire waterfall flows in full swing during monsoon and if there is less rain shower then the same waterfall split into two. We spend more than an Hour at the waterfall and clicked few photos with the help of Tripod and remote.

Ajivali Waterfall
Ajivali Waterfall

Ajivali Waterfall
Ajivali Waterfall

             After Waterfall, you need to fallow the trail for around 20-25 min to reach at the Devrai. It is very desnse forest. When we reached, heavy rainshower started. We stay there for 15-20 min and returned withouut catpuring nature beauty. Its truly hidden Gem and its our responsiblity to keep it clean. There is Temple at the end of Devrai.

Ajivali Waterfall
Ajivali Waterfall view

Ajivali Waterfall
We at Ajivali Waterfall

              For lunch we went to Tikona Picnic resort. It is located on the bank of Hadshi Lake. Tikona Picnic resort opened in 2013 and serves tasty meal along with some activity. They have different activity such as rice Plantation, games for children, fishing in lake, Farm rides – tractor and bullock cart, Bird watching, playground for children etc.

Tikona Picnic Agro Resort
Tikona Picnic Agro Resort

Tikona Picnic Agro Resort
Tikona Picnic Agro Resort

              They have Veg and Non-Veg Day package. Camping for star gazing activity with BBQ will give a chance to experience a different world all together.Food at Tikona Picnic is very deliscus. We had our meal at Tikona Picnic and took some rest in small huts build for relaxation near water body.

Veg Meal

Hadshi Lake at Tikona Picnic Agro Resort
Hadshi Lake at Tikona Picnic Agro Resort

Hadshi Lake at Tikona Picnic Agro Resort
Hadshi Lake at Tikona Picnic Agro Resort

We left Tikona picnic in evening and reached home by 7 PM after lovely nature relaxtion trip

Contact Details
Rohit Laygude (Ajivali Village): 9096739692.
Suresh Marathe: 9823407700. 

Time Lapse of Tikona Picnic Agro Resort

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.
Happy traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni