We arranged for Madhu, the guide who took us to the Golkonda Fort the other day to take us to another area of the city to see the Paigah tombs, the HEH Nizam Museum, and the Salarjung Museum. We were picked up by our driver at 11:00 and taken on our way.
Driving to the Paigah Tombs, we ended up on a VERY narrow road, with goats and people having to get out of our way -- Wow. We stopped outside a gate, and all I could think of was, "you've got to be kidding" -- but I was quickly shamed out of that western mindset. Walking through the gate we were treated to a view of a wonderful set of tombs dating back to the late 18th century. On the left is an image looking from the street to the gate to the tombs. On the right is a view from inside the tombs out onto the street -- hopefully this will help give some perspective.
The tomb is free to tour. There is an active Mosque on site, and people are living on the property to care for it. You have to remove your shoes to enter the tombs. Madhu told us that the Paigahs were close to the Nizams -- they took care of security and defense for them. In addition, the "deal was sealed" when a number of Paigah men married the daughters of the Nizams. Their tombs were made of marble and were elegant -- a flat topped tomb indicates the tomb of a woman. A tomb with something that looks like a house on top of it indicates the tomb of a man. One tomb was encrusted with semi precious stones, which were looted years ago. The tombs are all made of beautiful marble.
The scroll work and the minarets on the buildings are beautiful! There are a series of small buildings linked together to make up the complex. There are still members of the Paigah family living in Hyderabad, and Madhu showed us the area they are being buried in now as they pass away. One man stopped and spoke to us -- he didn't speak English, but his friend spoke a little English. Madhu translated. He was very proud of the tombs, and showed us the guest book and asked us to sign it.
We headed over to the HEH Nizam Museum, which is a lesser known museum in Hyderabad. It is on the grounds of the Purani Haveli, the former palace of the Nizams. It currently houses the VII Nizam's Silver Jubilee gifts that he was given when his jubilee was celebrated in 1936. Among the many gifts, because this was his silver jubilee, were blueprints made of silver of the various buildings he had constructed while he was King. It was unbelievable the number of gifts he was given -- room after room of them -- and almost all in silver. In addition, there was a display of photographs from when this Nazim died -- over one million people joined the funeral procession. He was much loved for the infrastructure he created while King.
One of the most interesting rooms was the wardrobe -- it was HUGE! Apparently one of the Nizams only wore his clothes once -- then gave them away. This didn't stop the need for closet space -- there were wives and concubines to consider as well. This long hall was double deckered -- with closets for clothes on the first level, and cabinets for shoes and hats, etc. on the second level. I have tried to depict that with the pictures we took here. I'm standing in the one picture -- the long shot -- with the security guard and Madhu, our guide. The other is of the "upper deck" -- there is a cat walk up there -- you enter from either end of the long room -- no stairway in the middle!
What is also interesting about this former palace is that it now houses a school and a college as well as this museum. It also has goats on the grounds! Most fascinating is that the former palace is virtually the way it was set up 450 years ago, save the royalty running around. It has been preserved well -- imagine being a student and running around these beautiful buildings with the arches, etc. Amazing and wonderful! I had Steve take a picture of one of the signs on the grounds -- I'm going to have to think of a clever way to weave that into a sermon or future writing. Also, here is a picture of Madhu and me -- Madhu, when he laughs, looks and sounds just like our own Bob Williams at the Diocese.
We then headed off to the Salarjung Museum, famous here in Hyderabad. We were not able to take pictures inside, and as we had an hour we asked Madhu to take us to the highlights -- he did! Salarjung 1, 2 and 3 were all Prime Ministers to the Nizam -- and it was Grandfather, Father and Son. Salarjung I amassed 10 percent of the collection, Salarjung II added the second 10 percent, and Salarjung III added 80 percent of the collection. These were items from all over the world -- rooms and rooms full -- that they were either given or purchased. Jade, tapestries, paintings, you name it. Among the famous works there are the Veiled Rebecca in marble and the carved wood man in the front/woman in the back statue. More, the Indian art was magnificent!
As we needed another suitcase (yes, really) we had Madhu take us to an area to make our purchase -- he was very helpful, and I now have a new purple (of course you knew I'd do that) suitcase to pack all the things we've been given or clothes purchased here in India.
Back to the hotel to say goodbye to Madhu and rest. We ended up going to dinner at a restaurant I read about that sounded wonderful -- Sahib Sindh Sultan -- it is created like an old English/Indian train station -- and I made reservations so we could sit in the train. The service was horrible, and the food mediocre. Oh well -- here we are at dinner.
Our last full day in India will be tomorrow. Very little on the agenda expect a high English Tea and Palace tour -- and of course, more packing.
I leave you with one of the signs in the mall -- wishing shoppers a happy/good Ramadan --
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Location:Road No 1, Hyderabad, India