Diwali-the festival of lights

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Diwali is the festival of lights. The whole of India celebrates this colorful festival with so much of joy and happiness. The word Diwali means group of lights.

The mythological story behind  celebration of this festival is the killing of demon Narakasura by , Goddess Satyabhama, one of the eight wives of Lord Sri Krishna. People celebrate the death of the demon and welcome new hopes and happiness by lighting lamps and offering prayers to Goddess Lakshmi, who is believed to bring fortunes to one’s family. The day on which the demon was killed is celebrated as Narakachaturdasi and the following day is Diwali.

Relatives and family members gather and special sweets made of milk, sugar and kova and are distributed among friends and relatives.

Find traditional diwali recipes here

In the evening, lamps are lit and houses are decorated with as many lamps as possible to invite the goddess of fortune, Srilakshmi devi into homes and special worship is done to her idol. Some families organize bommala koluvu ( an arrangement of toys and idols made of clay) and invite all their neighbors to their houses.Crackers are fired and the sky, that night which is a new moon day by Hindu calendar,glows with the colors of crackers and looks so delightful.

 

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Decoration of rangoli with lamps in front of our house last year. This year we have a very large open area since we moved to an independent house and am planning how beautifully to decorate my rangoli with colors and lamps!!!

 

This year Naraka Chaturdhi and Diwali falls on 22nd and 23rd October respectively.

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Bidar fort- A remnant of Persian architecture

Bidar fort is located in the town of Bidar in Karnataka, India. It is built in 15th century in Persian style during the reign of Sultan Alla-Ud-Din Bahman of Bahamani dynasty. It has many mahals or rooms meant for various purposes, but they are not open to tourists now. One can get information about them from the display boards at the entrance of the fort.

It is one of the mentionable places in Bidar and offers a nice sightseeing experience to its visitors.There is no entrance fee to visit this fort and it is also very neatly maintained.

 

Take a glimpse of the fort and its royal beauty here.

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Well outside the fort used to draw water.
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One of the sides of the fort


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The climate in Bidar is sultry and it is very hard to find a good hotel to lodge and board. In general Bidar trip can be completed in a single day, so one can plan it on a weekend along with entire family.One can shop Bidriware items in Bidar.

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Jalakanteswara temple, Vellore, India

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The Jalakanteswara temple in Vellore is an ancient temple and is several centuries old. The amazing serenity and the holy calmness it offers relaxes one’s body, mind and soul. The temple is huge and has vast corridor with peaceful environment. It is one of the famous hindu temples in Vellore, Tamilnadu, India.

 

 

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The temple tower

 

 

 

 

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One of the wonders on the ceiling

 

 

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Pillars showing architecture you will fall in love with!
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The temple tank

 

 

 

 

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Corridor with pillars

 

 

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Kanya Kumari- The last bit of Indian rock

IMG_1404A beach always looks amazing and refreshing because of the beauty of the sea water, the rising and falling waves, the lovely breeze and the sand beneath our feet. Any soul is bound to fall in love with such a beauty. Now, imagine the scenic beauty of a beach formed at the meeting point of three seas!! That’s what makes Kanya Kumari (located in the state of Tamilnadu, India) a hot spot for tourists. Three different seas, the Bay of Bengal, the Indian ocean and the Arabian sea, meet here making this beach a unique and amazing beauty. This town is very well connected with major cities in south India. The nearest airport is Trivandrum at just 90km away.

Three different colors of water, three different colors of sand and the lovely rocks on the beach offer an entirely different kind of relaxing experience. This unique geographical location at the southern most tip of India offers a nature lover the mind blowing views of both the sunrise and sunset over the sea water. Hundreds of tourists who visit this place daily make sure that they don’t miss these scenic views.  Bathing in the holy water here which is formed due to meeting point of three seas is believed to purify oneself. People taking their holy bath here is a common sight here.

This is a place which almost never sleeps. Even at the night most tourists are often sighted shopping or relaxing at the beach. The special steaming Tamilnadu idlis,which melt in your mouth instantly can be enjoyed at the beach any time. Shoppers find many items made of sea shells at reasonable prices at various stalls along their way to the beach.The beach looks so colorful and lively that it lifts one’s mood instantly.

Playing in the water with my son and collecting sea shells are the two most things I had done extensively on this beach. We almost spent two full days on the beach right from dawn to the dusk and even at nights for a long time. This was the most lovely experience among all the trips I went on till now and I had taken a promise from my darling that we visit this beauty one more time in the nearing future.

Though my lens was not enough to cover the beauty of this place, here’s an attempt !!

The nearest railway junction to Kanya Kumari is Nagercoil. This town is famous for the Nagaraja temple.

 

Kanya kumari railway station

The view tower at the beach to get a better view of the beauty of the three seas
 

An image from Gandhi Memorial. This building is built as a memory of Mahatma Gandhi such that sun’s rays fall directly on his tomb on Oct 2nd as a mark of  respect.

                   Tsunami memorial at the beach as a remnant of 2004 devastating Tsunami

The famous Tiruvalluvar statue, standing tall in the sea water
Vivekananda rock memorial. One has to reach this on a small ferry before sunset.

The waves and rocks at Muttom beach

                                          My son and me at sunrise

Watching sun rise at the tip of Indian sub continent!!

Three colors of sea water can be seen clearly from the circular fort nearby the beach

Must visit Tirapurappu water falls on the way to Kanya Kumari from Trivandrum. An amazingly enjoyable experience bathing here!!
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Shilparamam-An Ethnic village in a Hitech City

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Shilparamam is a ethnic village which replicates the traditional Andhra village culture and life style.  “Shilpa” a telugu word means “sculpture” and “aramam” means ” a conglomerate or a group or residence”.  As the name says, this place is a residence of the traditional works of Andhra Pradesh. As one steps in, the cool breeze and the neat corridors welcomes them and takes them into a village mood. Many handmade pottery items, sculptures, idols, models etc are showcased here which depict the true village culture of Telugu people. It consists of rural museum, rock garden, boating, art gallery and sculpture park.

Shoppers find lots and lots of items to shop on. You can spend more than a half day just in shopping hundreds of traditional dresses, ladies accessories, temporary tattoos, hand bags, jewellery, dresses and many more. Handicrafts and traditional Hyderabadi pearls are also available in plenty here. A canteen serves many snack options including variety of Indian menu ,fruits and juices.   Though I had filled my album with the pics from this ethnic place, I am sharing only a few of them here. Rest you come and see with your own eyes and enjoy this village beauty.

                          Replicate of an Indian farmer with his bulls

A model of village house with a well in front of it and farmer with his bulls

An art from the Art gallery, showing a dance form of village women of Andhra. Art gallery has beautiful and lively works of many artists.

                                       My dad and son  at the pottery section

                          Farmer at work- A lively Sculpture

 Wife and husband doing field work together- Sculpture showing beauty of hard work and the feeling of wife and husband working together

Replicate of a village woman drawing water from a well

Sculpture of Lord Buddha sitting on a lotus at the Rock garden. The rock garden has many wonder creations made out out of stone. All you need is energy to check out all of them.

Scorpion replicates made out of metallic waste

A village model showing a potter with his family and their  works around

                              Mother’s love – pottery work

                                    A crow made of metallic waste

A model view of traditional Andhra village during festivals

A model showing a village man cutting wood

A village lady at kitchen work

My son playing with the horse and elephant made of clay

 

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Rameswaram, The Divine Island !!

Rameswaram

Rameswaram, an island in the state of Tamilnadu,India, is known for its mythological importance in the Hindu religion and is one of the popular divine tourist destinations in India. It is located on the Pamban island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channel. Pamban bridge joins Rameswaram with mainland India. Sri Lanka is just 50 km from here.

The amazing beauty of this island is the calmness of the sea waves. It looks very scenic and peaceful and you can walk into the sea almost for 2-3 kilometers. Tourism and fishing are the main occupations here. The food is of traditional south Indian style and is lip smacking, however all styles of Indian food ,including Gujarati, Marathi, Rajasthani is also available here. Being an island, the temperatures are always higher than the usual.

The sunrise view on the island is amazing. If you plan a trip to Rameswaram, make sure that you stay a day or two in the Pamban island too. It offers you awesome peace and totally relaxes your body, mind and soul. Shopping in Rameswaram is a lot of fun, variety of items made of shells and pure conch are available at very affordable prices.

These shots from my trip will give you a glimpse of the beauty of this divine island.

                          Eye pleasing views of the Pamban island as you enter Rameswaram through the Pamban bridge.

The Rameswaram temple tower. This temple has tremendous mythological importance for Hindus. The temple has 22 wells. Devotees believe that bathing in these wells purifies them from all their sins.

                  The Ramanathaswamy temple tower with sea in the back ground

                   House of Dr.A.P.J Abdul Kalam, a well renowned personality

Kothandarama temple, where it is believed that Rama throned Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, as the emperor of Sri Lanka, after winning Ravana in a battle. The Jadayu theertham is also on the way to this temple.

      Temple of Hanuman (lieutenant of Lord Sri Rama)  on the Ganthamadhana Parvatam

The gushing waves at Dhanushkodi, a town around 20kms from Rameswaram. Unlike the sea at the temple, waves here are always fierce. Bathing,playing  or swimming in the water here is strictly prohibited. Below is a notice board put up by the local government regarding this. Sri Lanka is roughly 15kms from here.

It is always suggested to visit this mystical place during the day along with a guide and return before sunset. Local taxis and auto drivers refuse to guide you here as it gets darker. This is a very mysterious place after sunset.

An inscription showing details of the horrible 1964 cyclone, which converted Dhanushkodi  into a ghost city. This place is declared by the government as unfit for human living, since then.

   A board showing the views of the town of Dhanushkodi, before the devastating cyclone.

Remnants of the rail track that was destroyed during the 1964 cyclone along the beach road at Dhanushkodi.

    The beautiful view of this white sand beach never ends as you travel across Rameswaram.
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Madurai Meenakshi Temple…A marvelous architectural spectacle!!

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Madurai Meenakshi temple (in the district of Madurai, Tamilnadu, India) is well known through out the world for its marvelous architecture  and sanctity. I got the lucky opportunity to visit the temple last October along with my family. We reached Madurai in train and checked into the hotel we’ve already booked. On my way to hotel, several jasmine flower vendors caught my attention and I was astonished by the view of Madurai jasmines which are known for their mesmerizing smell and amazingly bigger size.

We got the opportunity to have the view of the deity, Meenakshi amman, twice. Once in the morning and another in the evening. All of us were really contented due to this. Madurai is also known for its Sungudi cotton sarees, which are amazingly soft and light in weight. I have purchased two after shopping for three hours !! Trust me ,I was spoilt by the choice !! I also bought a kilo of coffee powder and a kilo of tea powder. They smell and taste really wonderful. The hot idlis and coffee here in the local hotels is amazing. Also the food is served in authentic south Indian style on a banana leaf which tempts your taste buds.

Next time you plan to visit Madurai, make sure not to miss above, apart from enjoying the marvelous architecture of the temple. If you are not habituated to hotter climate, the best time to visit this place is during winter and rainy seasons of India because the temperatures here always higher than the normal. Here are some of the glimpses from my trip.

West temple tower. Four temple towers are constructed on four sides which are known for their sculptures of various deities, demons and other hindu religious figures.

                      View of North tower from inside the compound of temple

                                            West tower at a close up

          View of the temple on entering from one of the main entrances

                                         Another gate tower

                                            A view of Thousand pillar hall

Pillars and architectural view of Thousand pillar hall. Lord Shiva as Nataraja in the middle.

Elephant at the entrance of the main temple.Many children and devotees take its blessings.

Musical pillar in the Thousand pillar hall. It emits seven basic intonations of music, when striken.

Architecture on the ceiling of the hall depicting many religious and historical figures.

Idol of Lord Nataraja, the god of dance, in the middle of thousand pillar hall.

                                          A view of temple tower at night.

It’s time for Diwali sweets!!

Diwali and sweets are synonymous… indian women get busy in preparing various traditional sweets to celebrate diwali in a beautiful way..here’s an interesting, easy and healthy sweet recipe

http://teluguvantillu.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/beetroot-coconut-burfi/

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Health tip of the week

Make it a habit to chew a clove, a cardamom and little fennel after your every meal or at least after two major meals of the day.

This makes your mouth fresh, aids digestion and keeps all vata problems at a bay.

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A Walk through waist deep water to see the deity-Narasimha Jharna temple, Bidar

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Narasimha Jharna temple at Bidar, Karnataka, India is very different from the other temples I have seen till now. Here, the idol of Lord Narasimha is inside a cave and devotees have to walk through waist deep water for about 350 metres to have a darshan of the deity.

It is said that Lord Narasimha, after killing demon Jharasura settled in this cave and the waters of Krishna and Godavari rivers, which are considered very sacred entered this cave to soothe his anger. The idol of God here is considered swayambhu, means self manifested. This deity in this temple is considered very sacred and powerful.

The temple is open from 8 A.m till sunset and is often full of devotees and it takes roughly 45 minutes to walk through water, take the darshan and come back to the exit gate.

Check out the beauty of Bidar fort here.

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Quote of the week

swethadhaara:

Thought for the week..

Originally posted on Bushidō & Sakura:

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter – nothing…. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

- The Book of Five Rings

View original

Travel to Telangana

Telangana is the  new born beauty in India. It is an excellent tourist spot for culture lovers and lip smacking Hyderabadi Biryani is  what food lovers long for. The climate is neither too hot nor too cold compared to other parts of India. It is like a mini India where you can find people of almost all religions in India living with peace and harmony.

Check out my travel experiences about places around Telangana like Charminar, Sanghi temple, how to travel safer in Hyderabad, Srisailam, the amazing architecture at the Beerumguda temple, the amazing native Indian animals at the Nehru Zoo, explore the authentic Shilparamam.

Explore how you can shop on the footpaths of hyderabad or catch the authentic photos of Andhra Culture or get surprised by learning how Indians deal with these scorching summers!!

Get a glimpse of cultures and traditions of the Telugu people by knowing the way they celebrate their festivals like SriRamaNavami-the Celestial marriage celebration, Ugadi-the begining of Telugu New Year, Vinayaka Chavithi-the celebrations of the Elephant God,Dussera-the victory of Good over Evil and Deepavali-the festival of lights.

Catch the beauty of traditional weekend markets and get amazed by the simplicity of the Telugus!!

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Dasara- Victory of Good over Evil

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Goddess Durga

Dasara or Vijayadasami is a main festival in India. This festival is celebrated as a symbol of victory of good over evil. legend says Goddess Durga killed demon Mahisha and people celebrate for this reason. This festival also has link with the most important Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Irrespective of the reason behind it, Dasara is celebrated with great pomp and joy all over India. Devotees pray to goddess Durga with utmost devotion and fasting is also a part of this custom.

 

During the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Mr.Narendra Modi to the USA, Modi was on fasting and took only honey with lemon water for all the nine days due to this reason.

 

Mandapams or stages are set up and idols of the Goddess Durga are worshipped with great respect and devotion for all the nine days. Special religious customs are performed in all temples. Many parents get “Aksharabhyasam” or “custom of introducing education to children” during these days and believe that it brings very good luck to their studies.

 

Relatives and family members gather together for celebrating this festival and it is often the Indian villages that get decorated with the festival colors more than the cities. New Sons in law and daughters in law are often treated with most love and affection and it is a perfect time to increase their bonding with other relatives and family members.

 

Colorful rangolis or design patterns are adorned in front of the houses and sweets, special recipes often join the menu at houses. Dasara celebrations are celebrated with great pomp at Mysore and Kolkata which are world renowned for the same.

 

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Rangoli which my mom did in front of our house

 

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Glitters at Charminar during Ramzan

I was lucky to be in Hyderabad during the time of Ramzan! It’s a mini-India where festival of any religion is celebrated with pomp, joy and brotherhood among  people of all religions. Ramzan is the main festival of muslims and it adds more glow to the roads of Hyderabad. While I was waiting to taste veg haleem and do shopping at Charminar, finally I got some time to have a look at the prestigious landmark of this city during this wonderful time.

 

 

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IMG_7020 Amidst the colors, Charminar is a not to miss spot during this season. It drags all your attention and captures your heart with its traditional and royal beauty.
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Sale of fruits is a huge business this season and one can find all kinds of fresh fruit here!
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The Bhagyalakshmi temple, just beside Charminar is another famous hindu spot, which is one of the starting spots of the famous Bonalu festival of Telangana



 

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Ladies shop many fancy items like bangles, hair and saree accessories, dresses, and many more..even at 2 a.m in the night the shops are full busy during ramzan season here.

Sleep fresh, wake up fresher!!

Going to bed with a fresh face may not be really possible after a long hectic day,,,,but wait!!

Just dab a cotton ball in three spoons of raw milk (better if it is cool), rub it on your face for five minutes.

Wash off with normal water and apply rose-water with another cotton ball on to your face and neck!!

Have a good sleep and wake up with a more fresh face!!!

Raw milk is the  best natural cleanser that does wonders on especially oily skin! So don’t waste money on synthetic products and follow this simple natural tip and be a natural beauty!!

Colorful farewell to Ganesh!!

 

 

 

Hyderabad has bid farewell to Ganesha in its own colorful way!! Roads were jam packed with vehicles transporting Ganesh and the whole city was present at the event with many neighboring villages and other  friends from other cities and foreign being present to view the most colorful event of Hyderabad.

 

This year’s Ganesh immersion in Hyderabad was the first of its kind in the newly born Telangana state…

Here are some of the clips from the Grand event that shows the cultural and religious harmony among people in Hyderabad!!!

 

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Pics are from various sources on the net.

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Travel the Hyderabadi way!!


Travelling around in Hyderabad is a lot fun! I have witnessed many surprising and lovely changes in the modes of moving around in and across the city over the recent years. Definitely admitting the less traffic sense among Hyderabadis, moving around in Hyderabad gives a colorful glimpse of an awesome Hyderabad culture. It is a city where people from all over India live happily and securely at a very harmonious pace.

I would definitely suggest a tourist to Hyderabad to opt for local modes of transport which I would like discuss now rather than moving around in AC cabs. It definitely makes one know a lot more about the amazing way people travel here…

1.      RTC buses

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When I was a student of high school, I always used to walk with to school along with my sister and my other school mates/class mates who used to stay in the same locality. I always used to wonder how people travel in that buses, catch the running buses or wait for our bus to come and so on!

The moment I joined Intermediate College which was 10 kilometers from our home, I had no other option but to learn and get used to travel in state run buses. For students the state government provides bus passes at a discounted rates on monthly or quarterly basis and we used to travel with those. And the journey lasted for almost 7 years for me!! During my 4 years of graduation we used to travel by changing 3 buses or more!!

It was a great victory for us to get a seat to sit down during our journey. We always used to give our bags and other books or drafters or chart boxes to any of our friends who are sitting, need not necessarily from the same college to hold them, in case if we didn’t get a seat. Sometimes many aunts or uncles also used to ask whether we needed any such help if they are seated.

Though we travelled in the same route for years together in the same bus, we never used to get bore, thanks to amazing friends, chats, discussions and many such things we used to have while travelling. Sometimes time would just pass away just like that when we used to watch people around us getting in and out of the bus!!

Every college will have college bus and so was for our college. I never travelled in college bus in the first year for the fear of being ragged, but used to go in rtc buses. But that helped me a lot to get to know the city, its culture, get many friends from other nearby colleges who used to travel in the same bus etc. etc. Now I know Hyderabad each and every corner, thanking to my bus journey during the Graduation period!!

 

Various types of buses are always there which always suited one’s pocket and luxury. While normal rtc buses are always best and cheapest form of transport, one also can travel in Metro Liner, Metro Deluxe and AC buses  which offer most pleasurable journey without letting you miss the taste of city bus travel. The latest release into the rtc fleet is the Pushpak bus which covers many places of Hyderabad and the international airport at Shamshabad. The cost is almost 30% of the cost per head incurred if one travel in cabs to airport.

 

The bus frequency in all tourist places like Golconda, Charminar, Tank bund, Birla temple, Shamirpet lake, Ramoji Film city, Nehru Zoo Park, Paradise, Hitech city, Koti, SalarJug Mueseum and many others is very good and comfortable. Also it is the best way to escape the demanding auto rickshaw drivers!! As for me I always love to travel in bus sometimes willingly because that always brings back the nostalgic days we spent during our education!!

 

2.      Autorickshaw:

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Auto rickshaws are always a boon in case of emergency.  We can even find them during midnights when bus services are not available. Auto drivers talking a mix of Urdu, Hindi and telugu in the Telangana dialect is so interesting to listen. Most drivers can understand Hindi, Urdu and Telugu, though you can’t expect them to talk English. Some drivers even pretend as if they don’t understand Telugu and talk only in Hindi just to demand more money. Beware such people. It is also not safe to travel alone in autos for females especially at nights. I always voted for rtc buses if I had to travel once the sun sets. But not all the drivers can’t be doubted. There are many instances where drivers returned lost items of passengers, including heavy cash, safely at the police stations. There are also many people who run autos as a part time to fund their studies or help their families too!! This entire world is a mix of good and bad, and nobody is an exception, including the Hyderabad auto drivers!!  I’ve heard many foreign tourists enjoyed the auto journey as it gives a different view of travelling experience. Nevertheless, travelling in a Hyderabad auto is a not to miss experience!!

 

3.      Sharing autos

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Popularly called seven seaters, these sharing autos are available only in some places of Hyderabad. Eight people can sit and travel in them comfortably and the plus point is it is very light on one’s pocket because the fare gets shared and one can get down at anywhere (unlike a bus which only stops in the bus stop and you have to walk back if your destination is in between two bus stops). Women who usually go for shopping with children find it very comfortable to travel in these because they can sit and travel and can get down at any required destinations. Sharing autos are a big hit even among IT employees who do not have own vehicles, students, employees and many other groups.

 

4.      Local cabs:

Many private cabs have come up rather very fast in the past three years. One has a very comfortable process to book them via phone and two hours or an hour before the travel time and the cab is at your door step! This is most preferred mode of option among high earning income groups especially at hot noon days or rainy season.

 

5.      Local trains and metros:

Local trains are available only in some routes and are very comfortable especially if the travelling distance is very long. One need not travel by changing 2-3 buses and can get to home at a go. But they are also to be avoided at nights and for single women.

 

The ongoing Metro train project is the biggest dream for a commuter in Hyderabad. It is scheduled to be completed within two years or less throughout the city while a part of it is ready for test drive in the next weeks. That should decrease the pollution, travel time and increase convenience for commuters.

 

Next time you visit, make sure you don’t miss the real taste of travelling in Hyderabad and enjoy your travel in the above modes!! Happy commuting!!!

Beautiful ladies make beautiful families

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