Secunderabad through the ages
Stepping out of Secunderabad Railway Station, my eyes ran wide to figure out if the landmarks that made Secunderabad still existed.
It’s a yes and no. Although the tall clock tower exists in full glory, I learned that Sangeet Theater, an iconic building, stood consigned to history.
Hyderabad’s twin city, Secunderabad, is over 200 years old. It has been the British troops’ barracks and a famous trading center since the 1800s. This history shaped the future of the city.
Secunderabad today houses a cantonment of the Indian Army. You can sense that the trading origins have left a lasting impact, flourishing even now, even as modern city development happens.
As I see, Secunderabad is a nice calm place. Affordable living and a multitude of choices make it a surprise package. What explains the city’s soul best are its bazaars, street-side eateries, and religious institutions. The hustle and bustle here bring Secunderabad to life.
The bazaars of Secunderabad
Walking through the bazaars, I notice that everything here is affordable to pick for daily needs.
Monda market is the place for fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, and household provisions. Think of your daily needs during your stay here, and they are available here at wholesale prices.
It is a riot of colors here at the market. MG Road is the nerve center for shopping in Secunderabad. General Bazaar next to MG Road is narrow and crowded.
Yet you will find it bustling with young adults, as it caters to basic living needs at the lowest prices.
The eateries (roadside stalls)
The mention of Secunderabad brings to mind the Paradise Biryani, which over time became the bye-word for Hyderabad Biryani. But for the experience of local food, the roadside stalls are the best.
The locals root for these places, for an array of interesting mouthwatering food, despite its rustic setting.
I had to wade into the crowd, but true to their fame, they have plenty to offer. I recommend these places, having tasted food from them, both fried and baked products.
Besides the Secunderabad Railway Station and Rio Cafe, near RP Road Junction, Alfa Hotel is the place to go for bakery products, Irani chai, and fresh samosa & puff.
Andal Swamy, a mixture shop, tucked away in the quiet streets of Nagarjuna Nagar, Tarnaka, is home to Andhra’s best deep-fried products: Mixture, Bajji, Punugulu, Bonda, and Masala Vada.
The bandis (pushcarts)
These pushcarts are backpackers’ paradise. They serve authentic food that makes you come back. People stop by to take a parcel or grab a quick bite.
The following two, in particular, impressed me, and their food quality was outstanding!
Pushcart at South Lallaguda, Tarnaka (near SBI) – A family runs this in the evenings. Only a few can match their skills in dishing out the best chili bhajji masala vada. One time is never enough, and it makes you repeat.
Pushcart outside Swapnalok complex – Run by husband and wife in the evenings, you get authentic Mini Idli and Dosa along with Puri Bhaji here, during evenings. People gobble up the produce, and it’s more like a drive-in service for the well-heeled.
The religious institutions
Rarely in a small city would you find religious institutions of most faiths in one place, all within a radius of 3-5 kms. The city’s liberal thinkers believe in peaceful coexistence. A few took roots even as the city was coming up in the early 1800s.
The Ujjaini Mahakali temple 1815, St. Mary’s church 1850, Parsi Fire Temple 1847, and Jamia Masjid 1825 are worth mention.
For an experience of the rich Jain traditions, a visit to the Digamber Temple in MG Road’s bylanes is a must. If visiting North East for a pearl of Buddhist wisdom is tough, head straight to the Ananda Buddha Vihara at Mahendra Hills.
If you want some awareness of the culture and traditions of Sikhism, then head straight to their Gurudwara in West Marredpally, opposite the public park.
An experience to remember
If you are a busy traveler and have a 24-hour vacation in the city, visiting these places will tell you more about what makes this twin city, Hyderabad, unique.
You will return with an enriched experience for sure. That’s Secunderabad for you. The confluence of influences.
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