A twin city of the very capital of the state of which it is a part, the assertion of Secunderabad in very valiant an identity of being does indeed ‘justify’ its arising within the royal realm. One of the largest cosmopolitan cities in India, this twin counterpart to the Hyderabadi heritage boasts though its own definite legacy and culture. Stemming as well out of a history distinctly diversified from Hyderabad would be this city specifically scouting its genesis from upon the trail of the British rule. This distinction manifests as well in all physicality, with the twin cities finding for themselves also exclusive an access to their geographical presence on either side of the Hussain Sagar lake. And yet they remain intertwined in aspects of their relevance, reveling indeed in their emerging as the twin cities as enigmatic each extent of existence, to conjure up for and by themselves an aura royal still in resplendence.
Secunderabad though holds fort more as popular over princely for reasons well embedded in its very basis of being. Established in 1806 as a British cantonment and having developed under that influence ever since, the name of the city itself came to be in 1803 when Nizam Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam of Hyderabad named it after himself. Then it was spelled as Sikandarabad very certainly and chanced upon its now prevalent anglicised identity with of course the British genesis imposed on it. It though would be the result of such English takeover that would imbue the city also with a more liberal essence- one that has stood the test of time to be an expanse of reckoning in that recognition since forever.
The other regard of its origin has stuck as well, with Sikanderabad holding to this day its pride in being the largest cantonment in the country. It had also been very specific an identity as Lashkar that would define the city through this course of charting the army character. Needless to say, such definite dwelling in certain some domains of description endowed upon the city a very peculiar essence- one that would render it as standalone indeed an expanse of being anywhere in the country. It also would be this basis in lesser encountered dimensions that would make a scouting out of the Secunderabad scape a prospect in the exciting range of the offbeat.
Armed thus with a cosmopolitan distinction in its very unfurling and only evolving from there to encompass as dynamic a character as is realistically possible, this twin indeed but not identical residing in the perceived larger allure of the Nawabi domain of Hyderabad is a phenomenon itself. The culture of own curation is one markedly different from the lavish flow of what sums up the exuberance of Telangana’s capital seat, but one that possesses a flair of its own. Along the alleys that harbour reflections of the past through which shaped up Secunderabad as a intriguing composition of considerable influences, one would decipher as well musings and moments defining the nature of this city of a certain grandiloquence that is endearing rather than imposing.
That Secunderabad has acquired for itself such distinction in liberal lucidity is even more striking a part of the entire narrative, deriving in fact the very basis of ‘benignity’ from its British beginnings otherwise starkly emergent as oppressive in the extant of that Indian trodding. The secularness of Secunderabad manifests in every strand of its summing, be it in terms of the religious leanings of the people who constitutes its living essence as also in the stunning specimens of art and architecture decking up its dignity and spanning indeed everything in between. In the city one feels the very palpable presence of a hearty soul, pretty old school in its laidback calm but vivid much in its energy, contending for a claim on such existence that is anything but ever uninteresting.
For those forever enthused by the majestic magnificence of forts and buildings and monuments and centers, Secunderabad is as worthy a place to be as any other popularly explored part of the country. The elite identity of the Secunderabad Club and the esteemed residence of the Rashtrapati Nilayam would be assertions in much prominence. The city’s namesake club in fact happens to be one among the oldest in the country. Originally established as the Secunderabad Public Rooms in 1878 before undergoing several name changes to settle upon its now continuing identity, the dignified din of diverse doings still characterise the confines of this almost a century and a half old building, holding up indeed a mirror upon which plays the proud perspective of a Secunderabadi significance.
Equally impressive is the entire expanse of the President’s House that serves as the official retreat of the Indian President. Back when it was built in 1850 as the Residency House, the 16 room estate would shed its British character after India gained independence. August indeed is what defines the stature of this historic building but it also is as impressive an assertion of the aesthetics through which this defining distinction of the city of Secunderabad unfolds. The only heritage monument in South India as declared by the Heritage Conservation Committee, the almost 100 acre spanning of the campus boasts not just of the main building but also a landscape garden through which wafts even alluring a realisation of beauty.
‘Truer’ adherences to history is maintained as well with the presence of the Trimulgherry Fort which, not surprisingly therefore is one of the major tourist destinations of the city. Architecturally resplendent still even as it stands today without the stables and barracks and armory of yore, the fort today finds utility in serving as a military hospital. And yet what would still defy all standards of beauty while serving also slices of history to visitors to Secunderabad would be the very standing that accords it a separate identity even when twinned with its more illustrious ‘abad’ of Haydar.
That reference recounts the pretty popularity of the Hussain Sagar Lake, even more preeminent an identity than the area of its defining. Built more than two centuries in 1563 before Secunderabad itself was established, the lake is a haven of beauty indeed. The view itself is spectacular but equally coveting attention would be the more recent arising of a large monolithic statue of Gautam Buddha. Standing on the Gibraltar Rock in the middle of the lake, the huge structure in white granite makes for quite a sight to behold in its lit up resplendence. If however you aren’t one to be fascinated with the endowed fore of the visual, there is enough essence embedded as well in this assertion of the waters. As the place where the treaty between the Mughals and Goldconda was signed, Hussain Sagar Lake only advances the promise that Secunderabad has been bearing all along in its span.
There also is the peace of divinity to seek out along with an experience in beauty. Old temples like Laxminarayan Swami Temple and Mahakali Temple are much explored and so are the Trnity Church ad the Wesely Church and the St. Mary’s Church among others. Outside the realm of religion and in the more cosmopolitan again fore of culture, there still would be uniquities to seek out.
The annual festival of Bonalu occurring in a cultural character even in being essentially a Hindu happening makes for a definite accounting upon the dynamic Secunderabad existence. The essence of the military beginnings of the city hold still in this religious distinction, though asserting as more composite a event in the collective twin reference to hold substance yet again as one of the specific experiences recommended in living for anyone on a splendid Secunderabad discovery.
Splendid though would also be a reveling in such facets of the Secunderabad existence that one would not expect to encounter upon this land more curious than conventional. Konaseema would be what strikes as this experience in unexpectedness, asserting as a region not concerned in any way with the relevance of existing. A pretty green place perked as well in its occurring along the geographic identity of the delta referring, this natural enclave steeped in verdancy nestles a charm that is inviting in its quaintness.
As immaculately serene as it is scenic, with delightful views of coconut groves and paddy fields to lap up, while going boating in the backwaters and exploring as well the stretch of a mangrove forest, Konaseema piques the essentially touristic sensations in a way that might be the triumph of a travel trope but one that is not tiring still. With quite a few ancient temples dotting as well the surrounds of this picturesque place that harbours also a pilgrimage repute, Konaseema seems to be attending to pretty much every aspiration in touring.
Sightseeing done, spirituality embraced, history learnt, it’s time to dive into a exploration of Secunderabadi food. The Hyderabadi flavor would find expression indeed in most experiences of the culinary in its twin city. But it also would be more pronounced a Mughlai touch that would be cooking up Secundarabadi cuisine as a platter of its own. Hot and spicy might be the most common iterations in which the dishes emergent upon this dimension of serving find interpretation. But what would be any alluding to the food preferences of a place intricately connected to the Hyderabadi identity without a waxing eloquent upon the sheer supremacy of some pouring of Irani chai?
And very proudly indeed steams upon the Secundarabadi essence milky profusions of that specific serving of tea, with a mere 17 km stretch in the city hosting almost a score and a half of these historic establishments. And so prevails in this historic span of a city notably nuanced in its own attributes the reputation of not just the steaming cups of sweetness but also the very eponymous Irani cafes from which they pour out day in and day out as endless servings of ambrosia indeed that souses the heart and soul of entire existences. Ah Secunderabad, what a preferred place indeed of privilege you harbour!