Oh, what fun it is to be a tourist in one’s own country.
There is no way I would have been able to drag Himmat off to tour a palace in Delhi and then go shopping for bangles, but because we are in Hyderabad, and on holiday, I succeeded.
A group of us went to visit the amazingly gorgeous Faluknama Palace, one of the Nizam’s palaces, and now a hotel run by the Taj group.
Getting in was a bit hectic. You are not allowed to go in without a booking, and when one of our party called last night, he was told that you have to book 48 hours in advance, but as with so many things here in India, we ended up making a booking for a visit and lunch, after all.
To cut a long story short, we finally ended up joining another group (all of us from the same wedding) and having tea and sandwiches instead of lunch. Things are always so flexible here.
The palace is fabulous, beautifully maintained, but my word is it strictly policed. No photos are allowed inside, and as we tagged along behind the guide, there was always a security-wala at the back of the group, catching those of us who thought no one would notice if we sneaked in a photo or two.
From the palace, we went on to the heart of old Hyderabad, Charminar and, oh joy of joys, to the crowded, noisy Lad Bazar. Which is pure, unadulterated bangle heaven. Shop after shop, stall after stall, pushcart after pushcart, all selling the shiniest glitteriest bangles you could wish to own.
And of course I bought. Who could resist? You buy them by the armful. Literally. Each of these gorgeous confections is one set of, I think 14 bangles.
Heaven. And I am so wearing them for tonight’s reception…