Numaish: Where Hyderabad Goes For Shopping
Well, let us go to another Hyderabad tradition i.e. the Numaish or the annual Exhibition is called. Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki is an Urdu word meaning Exhibition of Local products. Numaish has been a Hyderabad tradition since 1938.
Like all things in Hyderabad the folklore related with Numaish is also very interesting and motivating. Some graduates from Osmania University got together with the idea to raise funds for conducting an economic survey of the State. The proposal was put before the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Sir Akber Hyderi, and he liked it well to raise the money they decided to conduct an exhibition or Numaish that would showcase local products and could also be used for the greater good of society. Indeed a concept well ahead of its time. The only challenge was these pioneers and innovators had a princely sum of only Rs 2.5, nothing much today ( the lowest coin in wide circulation today are 1, 2 and 5, though you will sometimes see 25 paise and 50 paise coins also.)
Incidentally, Hyderabad has one of the only 4 coin minting factories in the country others are in Mumbai, Alipore (Kolkata), and NOIDA (UP).
Anyways I digress as always so these smart guys went to their friends and families and society at large and raised the capital to organize the Numaish. ( Today’s’ entrepreneurs can take a lesson or two from these guys).
The seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan inaugurated the same on his birthday in 1938. The Gandipet lake is also known as Osman Sagar in honor of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad.
Well slowly the Numaish prospered and a few simple rules were decided to ensure the idea prospers and benefits the cities and citizens of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
It is a not for profit venture and any money raised by the sale of tickets and stalls is used to fund a few colleges and schools in the city. Like I said an idea much ahead of its time and a rare case of Individual and corporate social responsibility in India.
Well, today Numaish is one of the must visit for every true blue Hyderabadi just like Irani Chai, Osmania Biscuit, and Biryani.
Spider-man was present to save the day, just in case his services are needed to protect any damsel in distress. Though I don’t think he is any match to the wit of our Hyderabadi ladies.
Well, what appears like a jail is actually a stall by Jail authorities with handicrafts, clothes etc. made by jail inmates, who are trained in various skills as part of Prison and prisoner reform.
Asal Hyderabadis wait for Numaish to come every year, for this is the time to go with the family and soak in another Hyderabadi tradition which only a Hyderabadi can understand.
Most shops at Numaish will have a board of “ FIXED PRICE” but our purdah nashin Khatoons will still drive a hard bargain till the poor shopkeepers give up surrounded by an all women shoppers.
Yes, I was surprised to see most of the shoppers were a group of women with men folk for a change walking behind the women with kids in tow or taking them to the rides while the women shop.
What better proof than this that retail therapy is not just soothing but also liberating?
The exhibition err I mean Numaish spread over a few acres is a shopper’s paradise and you are spoiled for choices, right from magical toys to juice squeezers from lemons, to sandals and handicrafts and latest in Chinese toys, you name it and it is available. But what I liked was this guy selling a simple tool to extract all juice out of lemons, and to show how good the tool is he has displayed juiceless lemons on his demo table. Well, I am pretty sure this is one guy who makes lots of lemonade when he gets lemons.
If you are not willing to walk around there is a train service available, fortunately, this train does not needs tickets booking on IRCTC site and chugs on road and not on tracks.
Don’t fancy a train ride? How about a designer three wheeler?
The food is mouth-watering and you get the best of chats from anywhere in India at a single place. Well, check this picture where Mumbai and Agra are competing to make the Hyderabadis try something different besides his staple Biryani.
And the rides, oh the rides are amazing, from Maut ka Kuan or Well of death where daredevils show stunts on their motorcycles and Maruti 800 cars you have giant Ferris wheels and other rides. Photographers moved around clicking pictures and offering the printouts to those who wanted a picture. I was stopped a few times by people asking to click their pictures who wanted to pay me to click the pics.They were disappointed on knowing that I am just a hobbyist, (Note to self: Consider an alternate career in photography you may be happier).
The real charms of the Numaish begin after dark, when the lights make everything magical and mystical with the rides illuminated you stand in their shadow waiting for your turn and screams from the those already on the rides make you wonder if you really want to do it.
But you have already paid and the crowd behind you will not let you go back so you end up on the ride. SCREEEEEEEAAAAM! Well, it must have been good for so many people to form a queue for the same.
As I was heading out, I saw this performance of Kuchipudi dance by some young dancers. Every day there is some cultural program at Numaish which can range from classical dances to mushairas ( poetry recital) to short plays.
Well if you have not been there planning your visit it is on till 15th of February, and block your dates for next year, as we celebrate the diamond jubilee of Numaish in 2015 its 75th year.
UPDATE: The dates for Numaish 2017 are from 1st January 2017 to 15th February 2017 . To Sochte kya ? Numaish Chalte kya ?
Follow this Google map to reach Exhibition Grounds for Numaish near Nampally Railway station.
Traveler Tips: We Hyderabadis take things a bit easy, our morning is at 11 am so our Numaish begins at 4 pm and continues till 11 pm. Come on an empty stomach as you would want to try everything available from street foods like chat, satvik foods, and the famous biryani, haleem, and kebabs of Hyderabad.
Paid parking is available near the venue but not at the Numaish, so keeps an eye for boards informing about Numaish Parking once you reach close.
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