What to do & what to shop in Shilparamam: Indian Crafts Bazaar in Hyderabad
|Take An Elephant Home|
I have written earlier about Shilparamam in Madhapur, Hyderabad very close to the IT hub of the city. So you will find a lot of westerners coming there to do shopping. But some of my friends wanted to know what else they can do besides shopping so here we are.
Some of the good things about Shilparamam are that it is a gated complex so once you are in there are no beggars to trouble you, no honking of cars and no smoke from autos making you wonder whatever happened to ban on smoking in public places.
You get an outdoor Indian crafts bazaar experience at one place you can get handicrafts from all over India. So here is my list of 10 things to do when you are in Shilparamam
1. Shopping and bargaining: Of course this has to be the top of the list as you can buy various Indian handicrafts like paper Mache from Kashmir, bandhani work from Rajasthan, bamboo work from Manipur, Bidri metal work from Bidar Karnataka, Brassware from Moradabad in UP and for sure pearls from Hyderabad. You will have to drive a hard bargain as the typical price quoted are more than what the guy will actually sell for.
|Kulfi The Indian Ice Cream|
2. Eat some yummy Street food: You get some mouth watering street food in Shilparamam like Kulfi ( an Indian ice cream made of milk, nuts, and some delicately flavored herbs), Pao Bhaji, Biryani, Chaat, Chole, etc. Just be careful not to eat any salad ( for westerners) as you may get sick from raw cut vegetables. We Indians love raw onions and tomatoes in Bhel puri and different street foods.
3. Get a Portrait Sketched: Just at the entrance you will find many street artists sketching portraits, and they will charge you only 200 to 500 INR ( $3.5 to 5 only) to quickly make your sketch and you have the option to pick black and white or color sketch. They do a very good job.
4. Get Henna and Tattoo: Of course, we are talking of temporary Henna Tattoos that will fade away in a few days. So by the time you are back home it would just be a shade of its previous self. They are harmless unless you have some specific allergy. You will have a lot of choices from designs to pick up from right from Tiger to pirates to Indian traditional Indian designs. So take your pick and get one more of your Indian experience.
|Portrait of a Tourist|
5. Watch A Performance: On most evenings there is a song or dance performance in the open air amphitheater in the center of the bazaar. Artists from various Indian traditional art forms like Kuchipudi, Carnatic music, street plays etc perform and the price is included in your ticket so go ahead enjoy the show.
6. Your Name on a Grain of Rice: You can get your name hand written on a grain of rice. The artist will even pack it in a special glass bottle where you can see it without magnifying glass.Hyderabad in India has some of the longest names in the country so try it out if the guy can fit your name on a grain of rice or not.
|Sculptor in action|
7. Ride a bullock cart: I am sure you have seen a lot of bullock carts on the streets of India. Ever wondered how it feels to ride one of them? Well, you are at the right place without worrying about the traffic on the roads; you can ride one in the complex after paying for the same. No pollution, no fear of the bus coming from the front, only pure joy of riding a bullock cart in the bazaars of India.
|Take A Ride in Bullock Cart|
8. Rural Museum: As the name suggest you can check how the life in rural India is, I am sure you will notice it is very different from what you see in Hyderabad. You will see traditional artisans working, huge earthen pots used for storage of grains and water, people and cattle working, all without stepping out of the city.
|Large Earthen pot for storage|
9. Visit the night bazaar: Also called the Shilpasandhya Vedika, is now functional in the complex. You can visit the same specially or stay back for the second round of shopping. As a lot of companies around the Shilparamam area work around the clock it is a good place for the employees to hang around there till late in the night without spending a bomb. It is open till 1 AM in the morning, so all the night birds can check it out.
|Carved Wooden Door|
10. Click some pictures: As the atmosphere is a bazaar or Haat everybody is in a jovial mood and you can take some good pictures of various aspects of a bazaar in India. Most of the people are very happy to be clicked, just be careful when you are clicking pictures of women, it is always a good idea to take permission before clicking pictures of women in India. Also, note that while most vendors are ok to be clicked but some of them do not want their artifacts to be photographed. There is no logic for this but it is a good idea to respect their sentiments, as there is no dearth of photography opportunities in Shilparamam.
The highlight of this visit was devotional dancer Nookaji Batchu, who specializes in wearing costumes as various Indian mythological figures and doing classical devotional dances. He was kind enough to pose for me, I hope he likes the picture I have sent him the link. Don’t forget to notice his cell phone and ID card in the picture, So as you can see Shilparamam gives you an authentic Indian street experience without the fear of being in an unsafe part of the city and since it is right in the IT corridor you save a lot of travel time. The management needs to improve the toilets and do something about the stray dogs in the complex.
The timing of the complex are from 10:30 am to 8 pm ( not including the night bazaar), but it is a good idea to visit in evening and club the night bazaar. Apply some mosquito repellent as it is an open area with a lake where you can do boating also. ( that makes it 11 things )
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Here is a list of places to visit in and around Hyderabad, that can help you plan your weekends around Hyderabad.
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