Friday, April 24, 2015

A Song of Love: Hyderabad and The ISKCON Temple.

The other day, while assembling pictures for this article, I was rummaging through all my clicks at the ISKCON Temple in Hyderabad (one of the hotels in Hyderabad and my spiritual cum worldly retreat for the trip I undertook in August 2013), I couldn't help but chuckle. It was not about the sights mind you, which made for wonderful memories by the way - it was about the color. Yes, the color was striking.

Pink.


Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Mandir, ISKCON Temple, Hyderabad Abids, Telangana

The color, though seemingly simple, flushed open a reverie of thoughts... magically ceasing the color pink to be a mere garb of paint instead became a metaphor that exposed a layer that was unique to this enigmatic city. A stark metaphorical facet to her outer persona that illumined the real beauty, within.

Pink. The color of love, beauty, smile and romance.


MY VISION OF HYDERABAD... BEFORE!

To understand my enchantment with the color, take with me a few steps back on the sands of time... Just before this visit (also my first!) to be precise. A time, when in all my stereotypical naivety, I was happy envisioning Hyderabad, with its iconic edifices of Charminar and Jama Masjid, in delicate hues of sepia. May be even in monochromatic hues of black and white... like dark cloudy skies. Like an old fashioned dignified vintage beauty. Of proven worth, an open heart and a radiant smile. Laid back in time, soaked in age-old traditions ... yet, adaptable to change.

This was then... Only till my heart got its hands on her enchanting story book later and took flight in its charismatic legends of yore…


Charminar, an iconic landmark of Hyderabad in monochrome


MY VISION OF HYDERABAD...TODAY.

Hyderabad... for me today, is a timeless love song.


Why song?

Because it's only a song that, to be truly appreciated, has to be felt. For most of everything else, eyes generally suffice. But, Hyderabad. Nah, she is different...

An eternal classic that was originally set in tune under the able-realm of the affable emperor poet Quli Qutub Shah. The same Emperor who apparently, was head over heals in love with His beautiful Empress Bhagmati who was a Hindu Courtesan. It was in their passionate love, that she was born. Time rolled by... kingdoms toppled, rulers changed... and with them changed stories of love affairs too. Some still loved loving, some... architecture and religion, some others loved learning and culture while there were even a few who loved hating. But, love was still the glue that kept her growing...

Love is a melody that tinkers all around in Hyderabad - not always seen - but sensed in the labrynthine corridors and colorless bystreets where she cleverly keeps it under wraps, released only languidly, for the chosen few - inquisitive and curious. It's a song that is way farther to the cliched boundaries of old and new, ancient or modern. It's a song that is eternal. A song that you have to hear till the very end. Otherwise, you stand a chance to be fooled by the scores of tragedy, disturbances, violence and all that chaotic mess strewn in between. It's in the entirety, that she reveals her charms... a charm that rises through and above everything to be where she is today...

This timeless love (I call it hyderabadi love!) that has been swirling in the environs… everywhere in this diamond city of Hyderabad, since ages and centuries ago, I instantly felt this energy at ISKCON.


WHERE DID I STAY ? MY BUDGET ACCOMODATION IN HYDERABAD:
WELCOME TO THE ISKCON TEMPLE!


A bhakta in meditation, ISKCON Temple, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh


Situated in the heart of the city at Nampally station road, Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Mandir ISKCON Temple is sprawled in a spacious courtyard housing the temple, a guest house, the Govindas restaurant, souvenir shop and a library among others.

STAY AT THE ISKCON TEMPLE GUEST HOUSE was a delight - the rooms are clean, peaceful, comfortable and the area pretty well managed. The window view is basic though, with short and tall buildings stretching in the distance but the temple makes it up for all that there is to explore within.


ISKCON Temple Guest House, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh

ISKCON Temple Guest House Room, Hyderabad, Telangana


What I particularly love about my stay in ISKCON temples, besides the aarti of course, is the entire spiritual feel there is to the place. There is no T.V. to start with, wifi may or may not be there and the meals, called prasadams, are sattvic, pure vegetarian delicious meals prepared with a devotional intent as an offering for the God. The temple room wells up in spirituality too, no matter what time of the day where you can always take joy in the fascinating stories recited through the paintings and scenes of Lord Krishna and His pastimes from the Hindu mythology and Puranas


Lord Krishna pictures on the walls of ISKCON Temple, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh

Devouts flock from all around the town and beyond in good numbers either to sit peacefully in the temple hall and mediate or to catch the stunning glimpse of the main deities of the temple are Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan, Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, Sri Sri Jagannatha Balabhadra Subhadra if the sanctum curtains are open.

Sri Jagannatha Baladeva Subhadra, ISKCON Temple, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh
Hare Rama Hare Krishna ISKCON Temple, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh


The temple especially comes alive during the morning and evening aarti time which is an exquisite affair. Pivoted around the priest waving the huge divine lamp, bhaktas singing glories to the Lord Krishna and everyone trance-dancing in the holy nectar of devotion and rose petals being offered in the holy feet of the Lord, the aarti soon becomes a language of love...


A song, a frequency that is ungraspable in words and yet graspable by the heart…

ISKCON Temple Aarti, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh

... Very much like Hyderabad,
Very much like the color - Pink.

Such is Hyderabad. A world, present in the world yet aeons away of the world. Suspended somewhere in between and beyond. In its own sphere of endurance and timelessness. Where, as an art historian put it very beautifully, ages ago...


"Hyderabadi gentlemen still wore the fez,
dreamt about the rose and the nightingale,
and mourned the loss of Grenada."


A devotee shows his love for Lord Krishna, ISKCON Temple, Hyderabad Abids, Andra Pradesh

Also, brushed and broomed the floors.

What else but love... that makes all this possible?


Tips for travelers:

- Both AC and Non AC double/triple bedrooms are available. Book your rooms at least a month in advance via e-mail or phone to avoid hassles and remember to ask for hot water facility.

- Life Members of ISKCON Temple may be required to pay a small amount as donation. Non members may be required to pay more.

- Check out time is 8 AM.

Address and Contact Numbers:

ISKCON Hyderabad.
Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Mandir,
Hare Krishna Land,
Nampally Station Road,
Abids, Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh.

Contact: +91 81061-30279 / +91 (40) 66668333 / 24607089 (Extn: 27)
Email: iskcon.hyderabad@pamho.net / guesthouse.iskconhyd@pamho.net

OTHER GOOD HOTELS IN HYDERABAD:

The city offers a comprehensive choice for visitors when it comes to good hotels in Hyderabad. So, you will get everything from budget hotels in Hyderabad to hotels catering to corporates, from hotels near Hyderabad railway station to hotels most suited for families. Browse through all the available options and filter from among them based on your service requirements and travel budget. Once the options narrow down, try reading traveler reviews and blogs on the internet so that zeroing down on the best -fit-of-your-choice accommodation becomes easier.

Have you been to Hyderabad?
What were your impressions of the city?
Where did you stay? Any recommendations?



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25 comments:

  1. Really beautiful narration Arti.. I almost fell on love with the romance that lingers around pink and the ISKON temple... Would love to visit sometime :)

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  2. My goodness that is candyfloss pink. Lovely (and more sedate) photographs otherwise. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images.

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  3. A lovely tribute to this colourful city.

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  4. The black and white photography is just stunning, making me wanna go explore the place!

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  5. Very well written , tariff please ??

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    1. I think, as a member, I paid somewhere around Rs. 700 for an AC room - but, as rates are subject to change over time, it's always advisable to confirm.

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  6. The photo of the Charminar in monochrome looks so beautiful. Excellent post.

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  7. What a beautiful post, Arti...loved the description and the pictures... :-)

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  8. I visited Hyderabad years ago before it was Cyberabad..had no idea ISKCON had a guest house...thanks for sharing this Aarti..

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  9. A beautiful choice of words.....the almost lyrical quality of your writing makes me fall in love with Hyderabad too....maybe one day I too will visit.....

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  10. Lovely posts with stunning shots. Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

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  11. A beautiful post. Enjoyed reading it. Being a devotee of Lord Krishna, I really enjoy my visit to the ISKCON temples because of the spiritual and divine ambiance. Wish to visit the one in Hyderabad soon :)

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  12. Must visit place. There are very few ISKCONs that provide stay, right?

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    1. Good question, Saru. As for the answer - can't really say. ISKCON centers are widespread not only in India but all round the globe - so, it's a bit difficult to conclude anything if we are looking at the complete picture in totality.

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  13. Lovely posts with stunning shots......

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  14. lovely read Arti. the black and white image is stunning :-) thanks for sharing...
    cheers, Archana - www.drishti.co

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  15. wow Such a beautiful pics and beautiful discripstion of the temple ...lovely photography thanks for sharing and posting this informative post Arti :)

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  16. Beautiful post... Hyderabad certainly sounds charming and pink! No TV policy is good for relaxation..

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  17. Great Blog,I am so glad you enjoyed the pictures of sharing. It was truly an amazing place. I love it.

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  18. Very Spiritual place ,i like that place to spend more time...

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  19. Hi Aarti, I have been to hyderabad but missed seeing this place ! Maybe next time Ill go for Iskcon Temple after reading this ! Btw have you been to Kerala ? If you are planning to go , do read my tips for solo women traveler :)

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Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

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