Sunday, July 29, 2007

Osman Sagar

Another 50km day today; I completed the loop that I had intended to do yesterday, though not without the usual backtracking and detours. GPS track and photos.

I took a different route through the bustee (the word that seems to most accurately describe the dense, urban, largely poor areas I often ride through) by Mithla Nagar that shaved off a good chunk of the down and up, and I got to the Qutub Shahi tombs practically without breaking a sweat. Then the long ride west, until I reached the place that confounded me yesterday. The map clearly shows the road continuing west to the intersection with Osman Sagar Road, but it's a complete fiction. I wound around and eventually found myself headed due west on what I could see on the GPS would have been a continuation of the road that dead-ended. Yea!

But I was still a bit confused, my map doesn't go out quite this far, and I wound up heading back in toward Hyderabad on Osman Sagar Road (though I thought it was something else). I passed this lovely temple...

...and soon saw Golconda in front of me - ruh-roh, better turn around. I eventually saw a sign for Gandipet and knew I was headed the right way. Whew!

Shortly before reaching Osman Sagar an enormous bird flew directly over me and landed in a yard a short distance ahead. When I got there, I discovered it was a peacock.

Nice bird!

I soon rounded a corner, climbed a short hill and found myself looking at Osman Sagar (also known as Gandipet, though I think that's actually the name of a small town just east of it).

The water level is a lot higher this year than it was in 2005 when, when Gordon took Pete Coppenrath and I to Ocean Park and then around various places, including Osman Sagar. I stopped at a small park and walked around a bit.

They go to great lengths to keep you from getting near the water; the shoreline is fenced with barbed wire. There are also abundant signs; I wonder if this is actually true?

Getting back on the bike, I continued southeast along the shore of Osman Sagar.

This is the first body of water I've seen in India that looked even remotely appealing for swimming. I'll bet sailing on this lake would be great.

Eventually I wound up back on Chevella Road, heading for Golconda. As I approached what I think is Kali Mandir temple, there appeared to be what we would call a country fair in progress - lots of people sort of camped out, with barbecue in progress, and even some rides.

Upon reconnecting with Osman Sagar Road I turned west and threaded by way home through Golconda. I got this picture that I'll be adding to my Guns posting.

Finally, my last picture was taken in response to Katy's wondering if the rats are really as big as Ditz (our smaller cat). Warning - if photos of dead rats offend or upset you, stop reading now. This fellow is a pretty typical size, but I've seen much larger. The one-liter Nalgene bottle is there for scale. Here it comes.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Parks, Animals, a Mystery Tomb and 50K

I had another great bike ride today; this was my first 50km day (just barely; 50.3 by the GPS). I visited parks, large and small, saw lots of animals, and discovered a hauntingly beautiful tomb I had no idea existed.

I'll write this up, I promise, but for starters, here's the GPS track and pictures.

July 28

To get right to the interesting bit (at least for me) - I went out past Golconda, on the road that goes east-west between Golconda and the Qutub Shahi tombs, and found another tomb. I have no idea whose it is, and a few minutes of web searching have come up empty. Maybe some local Hyderabadi can tell me more about this tomb?

It has a lovely view of Ibrahim Cheruvu to the south southeast...

...and the Qutub Shahi tombs to the east northeast.

It's unforunately being encroached upon from all sides by development; most distressingly, as I climbed the hilltop for a closer look, there were markers for house plots practically to the edge of the tomb. This beautiful place is going to disappear.

Not far away (and also surrounded by impending development) is this lovely little temple.

On my way out, I passed this spot directly south of the Qutub Shahi tombs. This is a tiny little altar (?), followed by a few of the views to its south.

Yes, my infatuation with Golconda's outer wall continues.

Ah, the countryside. It's amazing to think that this is less than 10 kilometers from my house in highly-urban Banjara Hills.

Of course, urban Hyderabad is not without its charms. While nosing my way toward Road # 10 I took a turn down what I discovered was a dead end - but worth it.

Close by was this little pocket park, complete with kids who insisted I take their picture.

Nehru Park (close to my house) is nice... is the Public Garden (which is much more difficult for me to get to).

And I like the statue of Gandhi in front of the Legislative Assembly.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I wish I could find a way to let you know somehow...

...that I wanna see your smiling face 45 years from now.

click here

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I was recently asked (hi, Anne!) what vaccinations I got for my visit to India. Here's my card:

The List:

  • Typhoid (three oral dose series)
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Tetanus
  • Diptheria
  • Hepatitis A & B (3 shot series)
  • Pneumococcal
  • Japanese encephilitis (3 shot series)
  • rabies (the first 3 of a 6 shot series; remaining 3 only if exposed)

I got all but the last three before my first visit in 2005; the last three were added for this trip because of its duration. I also take mefloquine once a week as a guard against malaria.

Of course, none of my Indian friends/coworkers take antimalarials, nor have they had many of these vaccines.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Bird

I've been seeing large birds from my rooftop ever since I arrived; this morning I finally got some pictures of one. (Oh, for a telephoto lens!)

Update from my father-in-law:

Great shot! It is a Black Kite, a very common scavenger/predator in North India, less common in South India. They are very elegant flyers, effortlessly soaring, constantly twisting their forked tail to maintain a steady course. They have a huge range. I have seen them in Europe and Africa as well as in India.

Big Weekend

I put close to 80km on the bike (and my knees...) this weekend. First off, links to the GPS tracks and photos:

Saturday: GPS, photos
Sunday: GPS, photos

As usual, I've only posted a few pictures here; there are more in the albums linked to above.

Saturday I pedaled out to Himayat Sagar, a large lake southwest of Hyderabad, via Golconda Fort. Here's the lake:

As usual, getting there was the fun part. My pursuit of back streets took me to the northern shore of Sikkalam Cheruvu, which has a nice view of the outer wall of Golconda.

I rode around to the southern shore and took this picture looking back.

At this point I was up close and personal with the wall.

Continuing back southwest toward Golconda, I encountered this scene.

Note the blue paint on the horns.

Things got very interesting just after I took this picture. The cart has no brakes, and as it headed down the small hill to the right, it nearly got away from the driver. The ox had to pick up the pace to a helluva trot to keep from being run down.

I soon passed through the outer wall, turned right and skirted the northwest section of the wall from the inside. I find this wall fascinating, and took a lot of pictures.

I was surprised when I came across this little temple. You can see the king's quarters of Golconda in the background (upper left).

From Golconda I had a fairly uneventful ride to Himayat Sagar. Unfortunately the batteries in the camera died shortly after I got there, and I missed some nice scenes on the way home. The batteries did revive long enough for me to take this one picture.

This is "Don Bosco's Shrine" or something like that. There's a society called the Salesians who take inspiration from St. John Bosco. I think it's interesting the way that traditional Catholic architecture was adapted for India. As I first rode up I thought I was looking at some very odd, ornate temple.

Today's ride took me in more-or-less the opposite direction, northeast to Secunderbad in search of electrical goodies. I struck out again, but the ride was good.

First, a picture for my dad. I remember when I was little that Dad would sometimes make trips to a hospital (in Pittsburgh?) to deliver eyes from organ donors for corneal transplants, an ongoing project of the Lions Club. Well, the association between Lions and eye health continues in India.

Next, a picture for Aunt Anne - yes, the wiring is as crazy in Hyderabad as elsewhere.

My route took me around the southern end of Hussain Sagar and past Indira Park. I've seen the park from above (from the Tank Bund Road), and it looked lovely; well, it's just as nice from ground level.

While cruising though the park (admission Rs.5, and well worth it...), I saw these odd-looking people with pale skin and yellow hair, boating.

I rode around the park, and on my way back to exit I saw them again. They'd drawn quite a crowd.

It felt really odd to see such unabashedly American visitors in Hyderabad.

I also came upon this little animal kingdom scene.

After leaving the park I passed through a noisy rally. Cambridge would be proud!

I had lunch at Tamarind Tree, one of the restaurants at Yatri Nivas. The food was great (I had masala papad and paneer tikka), but the service was just awful - they butchered my order and were incredibly slow.

It rained for much of the trip home, so no more pictures.