Places visited: Nehru Zoological Park and Golconda Fort
I had booked a cab for ourselves for Friday and Saturday, so that we don’t waste time in commuting. We had planned to start early but with kid, almost nothing ever goes by plan. Especially when the kid is very young. So we started around 9 am and on the way fed him (the usual idly, which my BIL had got from a shop in the morning) and were on our way to Nehru Zoological Park or the Hyderabad Zoo. We were there by around 10.30 am or so.
We got the entrance tickets and started our way inside. Seems like we can have our own cars inside which we didnt find out (for Rs 500 or so) so we had to walk all the way around. There were almost three or four schools that had their picnics or outing on the same day. So there were too many kids around. Once my nephew saw the battery operated car, nothing else was in his mind. He just wanted to be in that car. Boy, this guy is obsessed with cars (he has almost 25-30 cars as toys now and he can never get enough of it.. especially red color cars..because that is the one we have in my home town and that is the one he is so used to seeing often) We tried to engage him in the 100 years old tortoise, the funny looking gorilla, peacocks, white tiger, lions, cheetah, tiger…nope thing worked. He was so cranky and was crying so hard to just get his way (he can be oh so adamant if he puts his mind). After trying for almost an hour and failing, we walked back, fed him, and then booked the battery operated car to take us around. He was so quite after that. This car takes you to all the places, stops enough for you to look at the animals and take photos if you want. Its about 20-30 mins of drive around. Of course, they don’t go till the safari point, nor to the butterfly park or primate areas which is in the entrance. The take the whole round and stop near the reptile section. That is the final stop and after that you can either use the same to go to the entrance or start walking after going through the reptiles.
We got down and since mom and son didn’t like reptiles they were enjoying their throw ball game outside and I was enjoying my photo session as you will see in the links. There was this cute snake which did a sort of snake dance for us , stretching and wiggling etc.. to the full length of the closure. It was mesmerizing. I have seen videos of two snakes dancing together, but this one was not like that..it was like this snake was showing off, if something like that was even possible :). After that we got into the restaurant nearby which had nothing by fried rice and chips. Thankfully, my nephew was ok with it and after having our share when we were ready to walk to the safari point, he started getting cranky (coz it was around 1 pm or so) and it was his sleep time. He just wanted to play ball. Obviously he had walked a lot with us and he wouldn’t understand much about the zoo and in his age all he would want is to play. Poor kid.. So his mom had to carry him around. Worst part was that there is no short cut or way to travel to the safari point. You just have to walk. Around 20 mins from the entrance.. what the heck. By the time we were half way there, he had slept off.
We took the Safari which started almost immediately and the first stop was in the lion’s den. Wow.. it was so close. Since it was hot and humid, bears and tigers were sleeping in the shade. So we couldn’t get a good pic of them. But it was definitely a very bumpy ride down back. There are so many varieties of deer over there. And a very scary looking bison. After the safari, we had to walk again for around 20-30 mins (safari’s dont stop at the starting point) to come to the entrance. By the time we had seen almost everything (except for butterflies and some primates) it was around 3 pm or so. Our legs were aching and we were dehydrated. We had almost 4 ltrs of water already consumed. And the kid was happily sleeping till the time we went to the car. You have cycles inside on rent if you want to cycle around. And there was a train which takes a huge round of the whole zoo. Its quite large, but heard that its not as large as the one in Mysore.
As soon as we were inside the car, he got up and was ready because he had his afternoon nap for almost an hour and a half already. And we were tired. But had another big place planned for the day. The Golconda Fort.
It was a mistake to include Zoo and Fort in one day. We never thought zoo will be this big and this exhaustive. But since we don’t have much time, we went ahead. Fort is only 30 mins drive from the zoo. We were there around 4.30 or so, had our tea and went inside the fort. It always good to see old forts, palaces and other historical monuments well preserved. You have so many guides sitting on the outside asking if you would need help. We thought there will be placards which will help us. But nope. You have to rely on a guide if you want the architectural marvels explained. When we entered the fort, one old guy came to us and said that he would explain a few things for free and then let us decide if we want him to explain more or not. It was more of a statement than a question. And since he was old, I atleast went with it. Everyone needs to earn isnt. He started explaining about the sound based alert system which is present in the entrance , much to my astonishment the way it was explained to me in Chichen Itza, so that from that position alone you can convey the message to the end of the fort (not that we can verify that…but atleast the ones outside that area in that small place could not hear). Then how the bath and fan or a/c mechanisms were done earlier for the queen’s bath. How the soldiers were selected based on their strength by a huge boulder there. The gardens of the queens, the document storing mechanism on the rocks and how the managed to have curtain based closure there. Too much detail explained in urdu mixed hindi by that old person. My nephew was getting restless, he just wanted to roam around and play because he has a wide space to himself which he can use and since it was most rock and stones, he did fall a few times and create more war wounds and crying. So most of the time my sis had to keep tagging whenever he wandered off and I had to update her from time to time. The way they handled the safety mechanisms in the durbar and the way the queen or begums were kept separate in the muslim style… so much were there. To see how much of those places are damaged is very disheartening. It was nice though. He led us to all the places around telling us why and how they were used earlier and then finally it ended in the place (a queen’s room of sorts) which is now used for light and sound show. From there you have stairs to climb the fort to go to the two minars which also had a temple there (built by the Nizam for his lover). The climb is about 700 + stairs and even to think of it was daunting for us. We have been walking for around more than an hour (including my nephew).
We then decided to skip the light and sound show because it includes additional cost and we were apprehensive of my nephew’s reaction to the sounds of horses and elephants. We don’t want him screaming (and he does scream very loudly if he really puts his mind into it 😉 ). So we went to the lawn and decide to stretch our legs and relax and boy was that kid happy. He was running and playing in the grass and asking us to lie down and play with him as if we were in our houses :). But lie in that lawn and look up at the clear cloudless sky was so so relaxing. Imagine feeling that on a cloudless night with all those stars. I was enjoying and he was playing with me. Oh.. did I forget to tell you that myself and my nephew got ourselves hats to avoid the hot sun.
When we were relaxing, a bomb squad car came and went into the place where the light and sound show was to happen and started checking all places (remember there had been a bomb blast in Hyderabad the previous week). We were wondering what happened and intrigued. At around 6.30 or so, we decided to start back. But when we were half way out, my BIL wanted to walk up hill to some extent and check it out. So we let him explore and were in the gardens waiting for him and freshening up.
Once he was done, we started our way back to our car feeling tired, exhausted and refreshed to some extent. We wanted to check out the idly dosa place but my nephew was suddenly feeling very hungry and started crying so had to let my BIL by some dinner and we came back to our guest house to feed him. Once he had his share of food he was ok. Guess he was pretty tired with all the walking around in the sun. But I am glad that he was able to endure a lot more. I wish I can take him to trips once he is a little bit older. He seems to like to trek a lot. I should make sure to encourage him on that.
We had quite a lot of other places to check out the next day so we went to sleep a little bit early than our usual. But we never thought that there were lot of buzz kills in store for us 🙂