Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Medak Fort, Medak Cathedral & Pocharam dam

We had a chance to visit Medak and some part of Nizambad districts in Andhra Pradesh (Future Telangana state!) on 12.10.2013.  Medak is located at 100 km to the north of Hyderabad, it is famous places for Cathedral and fort. If you want to spend whole day at interesting places beyond Hyderabad city with friends and families i must suggest Medak and its nearby areas for future visitors. We left Hyderabad by cab at around 8 A.M, reached Medak town around 10 A.M, we first climbed up to Medak fort, spent around one hour on the fort then proceeded to Medak cathedral, there spent 1 hours. Lunch cafeteria available near the main gate of the cathedral. After filling our empty stomach on the restaurant we were moved to Pocharam dam, spent more than two hours with nature and had half bath with the outpouring water from the dam. Thanks to Dii, Mahmangaihi, James, Dennis, Mami, Te-i, Ruatkima, Ctei Hriati,  for making our trip to be fondly remembered

Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
James @ Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
Cannon @Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak fort, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak cathedral: It is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Medak for the Church of South India (formerly Anglican) since 1947. Originally built by Methodist Christians, it was consecrated on 25 December 1924. It is the largest church in Andhra Pradesh. Built by the British Wesleyan Methodists, the Medak diocese, is the single largest diocese in Asia and the second in the world after Vatican. The cathedral is 100 ft (30 m) wide and 200 ft (61 m) long, and conforms to the Gothic Revival style. It can accommodate about 5,000 people at a time.

The cathedral is open to public visit in weekdays, but on Sunday and night time it is use for Church services. Inside the cathedral photography (Still & video) not allowed and mobile phone also has to be keep with silent mode. You have also to take off your footwears on the shoe racks outside the cathedral. If you have personal problems and spiritual help, Pastors/Priests are available to approach inside the cathedral. The pastor whom we met him on the cathedral was very friendly and nice, he explained the details and services of the cathedral to us, we owed much thanks to him for his warm reception.
Cathedral far view from Medak fort
Medak cathedral, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak cathedral, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak cathedral entrance, Andhra Pradesh, India
Side view of Medak cathedral, Andhra Pradesh, India
Side view of Medak cathedral, Andhra Pradesh, India
Back corner view of Medak cathedral, Andhra Pradesh, India
Front view of Medak cathedral, Andhra Pradesh, India
Medak cathedral, Medak district, Andhra Pradesh, India
Pocharam dam/lake: Pocharam reservoir is located on Hyderabad-Nizamsagar road. Pocharam lake is located in Nizamabad district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is adjacent to Pocharam Forest & Wildlife Sanctuary. We were told that Pocharam forest was the favourite hunting ground of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam bungalow buildings are still existed near the dam site but it is left with pathetic maintenance, in my opinion if it restore with properly it could be one of the best resort in the state. Though it is not well maintained by any of the state government or Nizam themselves there are many visitors - families and groups including us. Apart from the beautiful natural scenarios of the dam you may check out the pathetic condition of the remaining Nizam bungalow buildings on the below pictures.

Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Nizam bungalow, Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Nizam bungalow, Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Nizam bungalow, Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Nizam bungalow, Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Pathetic Nizam bungalow, Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh
Pocharam lake, Nizambad district, Andhra Pradesh

Friday, September 20, 2013

Visit to Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad

Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad, the 5th Sultan of Hyderabad
 The Sultans who came from Persia during the 16th Century A.D ruled over the Golconda Kingdom in modern Hyderabad and its nearby places in Andhra Pradesh, India. The Qutb Shahi state and their dynastic history details can be seen in Wikipedia- Qutb Shahi dynasty . They ruled Golconda for 171 years, from 1518 until the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered the Deccan in 1687 then Nizam took over administration from them.These Islamic rulers built seven royal tombs in Hyderabad which is one of the must seeing tourist places in the state (Andhra Pradesh). The tombs were built at precinct of the famous Golconda fort and the complex is located at  Ibrahim Bag in Hyderabad city. 

Wikipedia tells about the details of the Qutb Shahi tombs, "The tombs form a large cluster and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches, a distinctive style that blends Persian, Pashtun and Hindu forms. The tombs are structures with intricately carved stonework and are surrounded by landscaped gardens.

Qutb Shahi tombs, Hyderabad

Besides the seven royal tombs, the cemetery complex also comprised unfinished tomb built by last Sultan of Qutb Shahi - Mirza Nizamuddin Ahmed, mosques, mortuary birth and also tombs of Sufi saints etc.  For more details of the tombs complex please check the Wikipedia page Qutb Shahi Tombs and 10 Year Itch website, they provides with interesting notes, so i will not further discuss it all here.
Tomb of Jamsheed Quli Qutub Shah (1543 to 1550), the second Qutub Shahi ruler of Golconda
This note may be helpful for the next visitors: The Qutb Shahi Tomb complex is open in every weekdays except on Friday between 9:30 A.M - 6:30 P.M, entry fees: Adult:Rs.10/Children: Rs.5 for Indian Nationals, & Rs.100 for Foreign National, Camera fees: Still camera: Rs.20 & Video camera: Rs.100. Parking fees: 2-3 wheelers: Rs.10, 4 wheelers: Rs.20, Bus: Rs.50. Best time to visit according to my experience is evening around 4-6 p.m. There's also cafeterias inside and outside the tombs complex.
Qutb Shahi Toms Complex, Hyderabad
As you know we are not a tomb riders nor doing pilgrimage in the Qutb Shahi tombs but me and Mahmangaihi, a friend and junior in our University had keen interest to visit this place since very long back, then at last our mission was accomplished on 29th March 2012. Our visit to the royal cemetery enabled us to reply with "yes, we been there" whenever people talks about the Qutb Shahi tomb. 
The Great Mosque built by Hayat Bakshi Begum. Qutb Shahi Tombs complex
The sign board say it all about the Qutb Shahi tombs
Unfinished tomb of Mirza Nizamuddin Ahmed
Tomb of  Hayati Bakshi Begum, Qutb Shahi Tombs complex
Masjid in Qutb Shahi tombs complex, Hyderabad
Inside the tomb of Hayati Bakshi Begum wife of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah
Water tank in Qutb Shahi tombs complex, Hyderabad
Qutb Shahi Tombs complex, Hyderabad
Interior architecture of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah's tomb
Tombs of Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah & Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah
Tomb of Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah
Tomb of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad, the 5th Sultan of Hyderabad
Royal mortuary bath, Qutb Shahi tombs complex, Hyderabad
Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah
Tomb of Abdullah Qutb Shah, Hyderabad
Interior of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pawlmang - a traditional agricultural entertainment show at Sialsuk village

Pawlmang show at Sialsuk village, Pix: Amuana Ralte
Just like carnivals are expected by children with enthusiastic zeal in urban areas we the rural children in Sialsuk village (Mizoram, India)  also keenly awaiting August end in every year that the Pawlmang show will be entertaining us.  In my mind i can still hear those musical sound of gongs played by Pawlmang group and those masked men who ran before them and the joyous moment of our childhood days. In our village Pawlmang show was usually held at August end to mid September, everyone  in our village used to watch the show with great fun. 
Pawlmang show at Sialsuk Village, Pix: Maroa Zadeng
You may not have heard the word 'Pawlmang' before as it is inclusively used and practice only by Sialsuk villagers. It's equivalent word in English is not known and we can define like this "Pawlmang is an amusement show held along when agriculture weeding season is over, it may be understood as clowns who performed at certain occasions. It was usually practiced in Sialsuk when their jhum (agriculture) sites got free from weeding works." It can also said as one kind of celebration done by cultivators when their seasonal weeding works get over and left the jhum sites for harvest season. So, to celebrate their work holiday by the villagers who have jhum sites in same area on the last day of their weeding season they jointly organised a grant amusement with musical instrument and clowns. The show was mostly attended by children and youths in the village. 

Pawlmang Show at Sialsuk, Pix: Amuana Ralte

When the cultivators reach the village from their jhum sites on one of the houses in village outskirt they usually do dressing room for Pawlmang show. When the group is ready for Pawlmang show,  the musicians will beat set of gongs to inform the children and youth who are awaiting outside the house.  Then the masked men with  belmang (lampblack) in their hands come out first (among the masked men there are also some men who dress like women, they usually carry umbrellas), a youth folks follow them with khuallam dance, the musicians with khuang (drum) and darbu (set of gongs) come at last and they have to pass through all the way to the village main road till they reach another end.  In the meanwhile the masked men will run fast to catch those children and youths who run before them, if they catch anyone they will paste belmang (lampblack) to their faces and arms and no one will take this as offensive. At the interval times the Pawlmang group will halt for Chai dance, in these interval times masked men will not disturb their spectators but will dance together peacefully.
Pawlmang show at Sialsuk, Pix: Amuana Ralte
It is difficult to trace back when did Pawlmang was started in Sialsuk. There are some contradicting opinion even among the Sialsuk villagers. Pu Lalzuiliana (Retired Headmaster in Sialsuk) said that the history of Pawlmang can be traced back to 1952 when Sialsuk villagers had cultivation sites at Mualkawi, Sathlur and Tuarhar forests. In that year Zaithangliana S/o. Velthanga was dressed as clown and when they entered in the village he entertained all the village folks with the beat of gongs then Sialsuk villagers continued this show in every year to mark their celebration of holidays right after weeding season is getting over. Pu Lalzuiliana record is contradicted by Pu Hrangliana (son of former Circle Interpreter, Sialsuk), he claimed that Pawlmang was started before 1952. Pu Hrangliana's elder brother Pu Hlunthanga (Presently lived in Lunglei) said that he was working agricultural site in 1948 but Pawlmang was known even before that.  Pu Hrangliana also said that Pawlmang was a popular show when CI Zatluanga and Teacher Liandova were there in Sialsuk.

In Mizo language this weeding holiday celebration is also known as 'lo zo' or "lo zawh ni".  "Pawlmang" has no definite meaning in Mizo language, according to the elders in our village "When the musicians play a set of gongs (darmang or darbu) its beats are sound like 'pawlmang, pawlmang, pawki pawl mang..' then children started saying it's pawlmang sound and the show also called as Pawlmang later on". In some other villages in Mizoram this type of show is also known as 'milem chang' or 'milem chan'.
Pawlmang show at  Sialsuk village, Pix: Amuana Ralte
Due to the influence of modernity and some other factors in Sialsuk village Pawlmang show is gradually discontinued and hardly held for many years. Two/three years back Sialsuk MHIP Branch-I in collaboration with Doordarshan Kendra Aizawl station organised Pawlmang show for documentary footage and the URL link of this video is posted below, i wanna thank the cameraman Pu Lalhmingliana Sailo (Kulikawn Aizawl) for allowing me to upload in youtube. Luckily in this year too Pawlmang show was held again in our village, my brothers -  Thlenga Ralte & Amuana Ralte and uncle Maroa Zadeng took some pictures and i am using it for this post.