People & their Professions in Old Hyderabad
A city is not just a place on a map; it is a collection of souls rubbing shoulders with each other in small space. Yes, bodies have souls and souls have shoulders to rub, as the cities keep on getting cramped. Hyderabad is one such city or let me correct myself it is a collection of cities namely Secunderabad, Hyderabad, and Cyberabad. Now in Hyderabad itself, we have new Hyderabad and the Old Hyderabad.
The three ” BAD Ass” new cities have surrounded the old city of Hyderabad and are trying to strangulate her to oblivion. But this old maiden has her own strength coupled with timeless charm and has enough admirers to keep the smile on her Pan Smeared lips and kohl-lined eyes that will make you visit her again and again.
In the new cities migrants from around the country jostle to get a job in one of the IT or BPO company and spend their days in front of a monitor, trying to steal a glance on their social media accounts. It is the old city which nurtures a variety of professions that have been in families for generations.
I regularly take walks in the bylanes behind Charminar in Old Hyderabad and every time I discover a new profession that these hardworking people follow just like forefathers or they learned as a young apprentice under the watchful eyes of a tough taskmaster Ustad jee.
This post is about pictures, people and professions observed over years and appear as a blog post here on desi Traveler. Here are some of the people that I saw doing things exactly the way their forefathers did during the era of Nizams and before that during the reign of the Qutub Shahi dynasty.
There were Attar or perfume makers who sell concoctions to not only attract your beloved but claim to cure every ailment known to man. There was this guy whose claim to fame is put Soorma (Kohl) in eyes to make you immune to all evil eyes.
Some of the guys were making bread from the traditional clay oven, which the locals come and buy while it is still hot. Not far from the bakery one could not resist the smell of Kebabs, releasing the aroma of melting fat. In a small shop, 2 artisans were beating a small piece of Silver to convert it into Waqr or Silver foil to be pasted on your favorite sweets like Laddu and Barfi.
One of the most interesting shops I found was in General Bazaar ( technically not told city ?? but old if you compare to new parts of Hyderabad )where they make all kind of Indian music instruments like harmonium, Mridangam ( an Indian drum), manjeera etc.
A shop right next to it makes caps and sehras (headgear) to be worn by bridegroom during the marriage. So now you know where to head when you plan to get married. Oh, you are already married no problem buy some flowers from one of the traditional flower shops that do not sell bouquets, but flowers and garlands only made from fresh flowers sourced from flower markets like Gudimalkapur.
Back in bylanes behind Charminar, an old potter lady had a line of earthen pots for sale that her family makes in the backyard; I admired her courage as she was right next to a shop selling hammers!
Any post about Old Hyderabad cannot be complete without the mention of Laad Bazaar where you can buy bangles of every color, design, and material. All of these shops do brisk business by not only selling to the locals and tourists but also exporting around the world.
But not all professions are very old, some of the enterprising types have adapted newer professions and are engaged in restoring bullets, and recycling of old motors, they cannibalize parts from defunct motors and combine the parts to make one functional motor. This is the earliest form of recycling, invented right here in Old city of Hyderabad.
Best Time To Visit Old Hyderabad: Hyderabadis love to take their afternoon siesta, so go after lunch around 3 pm and stay till late evening when the lights of the old city bring back her beauty illuminating Charminar other historical buildings like the Chowmalla Palace.
Overall Old Hyderabad is a shopper’s paradise and you can get a lot of things that connect the present to the past, whatever is not readily available the shopkeeper will be happy to get it made to order for you. This includes genuine antiques made to order to your specifications. Beat That!!
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