Hyderabad has been placed on the World map because of its IT connections. It is also the land of the Nizams and other rulers, who have constructed Charminar and Golconda. But we, the locals, know of Hyderabad’s calmer and pleasanter and very much happening twin city – Secunderabad.
History of Secunderabad
Let me introduce you to this beautiful city- cleaner, calmer (could add laid-back to this)and less polluted but filled to the brim with attractions and populace. Secunderabad is also called “Sikandar-a-bad”, named after Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam. It is located in Telangana State, India. It was founded as a British cantonment in 1806. While Hyderabad was under the Nizams, Secunderabad was under the British till 1948.
Secunderabad is easily accessible by bus or Train. It is surrounded on all sides by Hyderabad city and separated on one side by the famous Hussain Sagar lake. While it was a separate unit in the past, it is now a part of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. Secunderabad has the largest cantonment in India. Hence there is always a big presence of army and air force personnel here.
Facts about Secunderabad.
The city has hot summers and cool winters and rains during the South East monsoon season. The culture of the city is cosmopolitan due to the presence of Hindu, Muslim and Anglo Indians here. The Parsi population is found in small pockets of Secunderabad such as Parsigutta. There are many Gurudwaras in the interiors as well, denoting a fair number of Sikh people. The most commonly spoken language here is Telugu.
The main offices of South Central Railways are located in Secunderabad. The bus complex near the Secunderabad Railway station here is a terminus. You can get buses for going to any place in the twin cities from here. Secunderabad houses many Industrial areas like Ghatkesar, Uppal, Nacharam, Bhongir and Moula-Ali. Large defense units are located here. New-defense recruits are also trained here.
The Republic day parade of the state Government in gymkhana grounds, Secunderabad. Be there on January 26, if you happen to be in the city as these parades are very colorful and exciting.
Sights to See in Secunderabad
Some of the landmarks in Secunderabad are:
- Ujjain Mahakali temple
This temple is near General Bazar and becomes very crowded during the Bonalu Festival. Friday poojas are also conducted with fervor here.Ujjaini Mahakali temple is dedicated to Goddess Mahakali and was built in the 17th Century. The Goddess is said to be a powerful one who saved the twin cities from the wrath of Plague many centuries ago.
- Shopping in Secunderabad.
Shopping is one of the biggest attractions of Secunderabad. Most of the shops for consumer goods like clothes, electronics and jewelry are located in General Bazar, Patny and Paradise circle.
Patny – Paradise circle is very near the Secunderabad Railway station and has many commercial complexes housing the biggest Clothing brands, Cosmetics, Silverware, dress materials, lingerie, imitation jewellery, gift articles and the like. Some famous clothing showrooms are CMR place, Kalamandir, Kalaniketan, Chandana Brothers, R.S.Brothers, Chennai Shopping mall, Parklane Shopping mall etc.
General Bazar, M.G.Road and Monda Market, are three markets close to each other in Secunderabad These markets are located on Sarojini Devi Road, M.G.Road, Sardar Patel Road, and Subash Road.They are akin to the Janpath lane in Delhi and Pondy bazar in Chennai. You get anything and everything here, at a price You bargain! Shoes, Chappals, uniforms, pottery, vegetables, sarees, imitation jewelry, leather bags, school bags, electronic goods, plastic material, dress material, Books, Party materials, Pooja stuff, Beauty products, upholstery, Street food; the list goes on………….You will find all kinds of amazing stuff here. Check for the quality though! Buy them or just window shop all through the day like we did during our college days.
- Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple, Skandagiri
Sri Subramanya Swami temple is located in a suburb called Padmarao Nagar. It is about 2 kms from the Secunderabad Railway Station. The main shrine is Lord Kartikeya who blesses his devotees along with his consorts Valli and Devayani. The other deities include Lord Ganesha, Lord Ekambareshwarar, Kamakshiamman Goddess Durga and Sri Varadaraja Perumal. All the festivals are celebrated with pomp and fare.
Visit this temple especially during the Dusherra. Alankarams of Goddess in her various forms is done beautifully by the temple priests on all the ten days. Brahmotsavam of the temple is performed during Vaikasi every year.
- St. Mary Basilica
This Basilica is situated on the Sarojini Naidu Road. It is a Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hyderabad Diocese dedicated to Mary. Founded in 1847, it was designated as a World Heritage site in 2008.
- Ananda Buddha Vihara Temple
This temple dedicated to Lord Buddha is in an area called Mahendra hills, a quiet suburb very near to the army barracks. Tenzin Gyatso, the 15th Dalai Lama inaugurated this vihara in 2002. The statue of Buddha blesses us is in a Dhamma Desana Mudra. This temple also has meditation halls, Library and a cultural space. A small garden adds to the attraction of this temple. A museum hall is also being proposed for housing Buddhist artifacts. As this temple is on top of a hill, the view from the top is breathtaking.
There is a Mata Amritananadamyi ashram also adjacent to this temple
- Alliance Francaise
Alliance Francaise is located in West Marredpally, close to a famous Women’s college. This institute teaches French art, language and culture to enthusiastic enrollers for the past 40 years.Exhibitions and seminars are conducted frequently here.
Lepakshi is an undertaking of Andra Pradesh State Handicrafts. Representation of most Art forms that are practiced in Andhra and Telangana are found here. These include wood carvings, brassware, traditional toys, trinkets and the like. You can purchase items of Handlooms, Kalamkari themed handlooms and bags, Ettikopaka toys, palm crafts, Applique and embroidery, Kondapalli toys, Stoneworks, Imitation jewelry, Bronze castings, Leather puppets, Terracotta pottery here. Visit Lepakshi, which is located in the Paradise-Patny circle and collect souvenirs you will treasure for life!
There are many more attractions like game and entertainment centers and eateries which are quite popular among the generations – young and old. There are cricket grounds, golf courses, Boxing, Sculling and Rowing associations and more in Secunderabad. Visit Secunderabad for a few days trip. You can even plan to settle down here as the local populace gladly accommodates whoever comes into their fold.
Featured Photo by B V Ashok