Ask any Indian about best pearl shops and she/he invariably points to Hyderabad, inspite of the fact that Hyderabad is neither a coastal area or for that matter near a coastal area. This aspect of world class pearls' availability dates back to 400 years of rich culture of Hyderabad history with an amalgamation of arts and crafts.
The royal kings of Nizam lead a rich life inviting craftsman from all over the world especially from the middle east, where we get to see rare pearls in abundance. That's why quite rightly most people associate Hyderabad with pearls.
Source of the pearls
China and Japan supply the entire city market with all the pearl it needs. Raw pearls are drilled, boiled for about four days and bleached to rid them of their dark colour. Later, they are placed in glass bottles containing hydrogen peroxide, water and ether and sunned for four to five days in glass sun boxes with mirror base. Finally, they are washed and assorted according to their shape and size.
Where to shop
Patar Gatti and Lad bazaar in Charminar are the oldest commercial areas in the twin cities where pearls can be transacted for. Some pearls stores present here are more than a century old. Those shops market mainly stones like garnets, topaz, jade and corals.
Areas such as Abids and Basheerbagh are flooded with pearl shops. Some of the shops such as Suraj Bhan Jewellers, Basheerbagh, Jagadamba Pearls (Basheerbagh and Secunderabad), Mangatrai Pearls have exclusive sections for pearls. Secunderabad too has its share of pearl shops.
The Simple natural pearl test:
To find out whether pearls are natural, simple dip them in hot water. Natural pearls retains their colour while cultured pearls tend to fade.
Many pearls look quite similar. But there are certain intricate factors that determine a pearl's worth. Lustre and size are generally considered to be the two major factors. Lustre for instance, depends on the fineness and evenness of the layers. The deeper the glow, the more perfect the shape and surface, the more valuable they get. The lustre of a pearl too determines its price. The thumb-rule to go by is to look for one's reflection by gazing into the pearl. The foggier the reflection, the cheaper the pearl.
Size, on the other hand, has to do with the age of the oyster that created the pearl (the maturer oysters produce larger pearls) and the location in which the pearl was cultured.
White pearls have traditionally been popular in Hyderabad. A good quality white pearl reflects a lovely sky blue colour under ultraviolet light, whereas a poor quality one emanates a greenish or mustardish sheen. Black pearls that have a green sheen and baroque (irregular shaped) pearls that reflect a rainbow of colours are also amongst the more valuable varieties.
Natural pearls (Those made without man's assistance) have become so rare and expensive, that for the vast majority of people cultured is the only option. However, top quality natural and cultured pearls are identical to the naked eye in terms of appearance and quality. Only under an X-ray machine can a trained eye discern any difference.
Cultured pearls tend to have a larger core or nucleus. In all other respects, they are identical. The best-cultured pearls are those that come from an oyster that dies after the pearl is removed. Oysters, which do not die after the pearl is extracted, produce what are referred to as "Biwa" pearls.
Pearls also come in many colours. The most popular colours are whites and creams. Silver, black, gold and pinks are also gaining interest. A deep lustrous black pearl is one of the more rare finds in the pearl industry. Thus, they are expensive.
Imitation pearls are a different story altogether. In most cases, a glass bead is dipped into a solution made from fish scales. This coating is thin and may eventually wear off. One can usually tell an imitation by biting on it. Fake pearls glide across your teeth, while the layers of nacre on real pearls feel gritty.
In the Hyderabad's history of enchanting pearls, Beautiful poetry,
mouth-watering multi-cuisine, we also have the Hyderabadi Bangles.
Since time immemorial, bangles, like Bindhi, has become an integral part of an Indian woman, more so, for a traditional Hyderabadi woman. They love to adorn their wrists with colorful bangles and their elders simply love the sound of "chan-chan" on their younger women folk.
Bangles are not just a decoration for a woman but is a beauty in itself, ask any Hyderabadi man and he will vouch for it!!!!
There are many types of bangles and roughly a couple of hundreds of shops are present near and around Charminar itself, where bangle sellers weave a web of magic around your wrists. The most famous is the Hyderabadi Lacquered Bangles, molded out of pure lac and studded with glittering and beautifully cut glass pieces of various colors. These bangles are a must for every Hyderabadi bride. Again Lad Bazaar is the main market for Bangles.
A word of advice and caution:
Although most of the shops are genuine a new shopper to this area may be easily duped. Either tag along with an experienced Hyderabadi shopper or take care to demand a receipt of your purchase.
Yummy!! Mouth-watering Shahi Cuisine of Hyderabad. There is a saying among
the younger generation of Hyderabadis these days. They say " Let us starve ourselves for hours before
its arrival on our tables". This saying
is actually a tribute to the Hyderabadi Biryani. Even, we, the Staff of Reachout, feel the same way. Whenever we plan to go out for Biryani, we make
sure that our appetite is super strong and our stomachs completely empty so that we can indulge in a pure, unadulterated,
sumptuous taste of Hyderabadi Biryani.
Hyderabad's strong Mughalai influence is perhaps the reason why the Hyderabadi Biryani has become so popular all over India. This famous dish has been experimented time and again to a perfection. Infact the Biryani has influenced a Hyderabadi's tongue so strongly that usually other famous dishes of Hyderabad takes a back seat. It takes an extra ordinary taste for other dishes to beat the competition of Biryani. Also when it comes to special places for Biryani, one cannot choose from many many restaurants because all of them prepares very good Biryani. Bawarchi, Paradise,Bahar,Percy's, Niagara, Parwaz are some of the places that you can visit.
Nevertheless, Hyderabadi cuisine is never complete without mentioning these dishes which truly complement a Hyderabadi Biryani. We have the Kababs, Khormas, and lukhmi(Pastry). Then there is this all-pervading Hyderabadi Haleem during the month of Ramzan, which is delectably enjoyed by everyone irrespective of their religion. We also have the Kichri (Rice and Lentil Preparation), Keem Methi (minced meat with Fenugreek), Nahari (a stew of tongue and lamb trotters), Rumali Rotis (very thin bread), and Chakna (a spicy dish of meat).
For vegetarians, we have dahi vadas (lentil dumplings in Yogurt), mirch-ka-sabu (chilies in a cream gravy), and the more common Bagaara Baingan.
On the dessert menu, Hyderabad is famous for double-ka-meetha (a bread and cashew nut pudding), Badam-ki-Jhab (marzipan), and Dil-e-Firdaus (a rich milk based sweet).
Well, we have carried you from a simple appetite to the most heaviest of platters of Culinary Hyderabad. You will be excused if are tempted to lash your tongue a few times on your lips or if you involuntarily happen to get some water in your mouth.
America: Coke : : Hyderabad:Irani Chai
What is Coke to
Chai is to
Hyderabad. Next to Pearls, Hyderabad is synonymous with Hyderbadi
Irani Tea, locally called Chai, thanks mainly to the Iranians who have set up Tea Cafes in almost each and every Galli (Bylane) of Hyderabad.
It is not 5 star restaurants, it is not banquet halls, and it is not the posh lunch tables, but it is the Irani Cafes where many business meetings are held over a cup of Tea. Visit any Irani Cafe and you can invariably find groups of people rich or poor discussing everything under the Sun and even about the tasty Tea they are having at that moment.
Maybe in no other city of India would you find so many Irani Cafes like the ones springing up in Hyderabad. Another notable feature is that almost every Irani Cafe has got a small cabin outside just attached to the Cafe which is more famously called as 'Paan Dabba', where people after having tea will buy a Cigarette or a 'Paan' (Betel leaves on which the Paan specialists mix many different eatables substances to get many distinct flavors).
And last but not the least, if you happen to go past an Irani Cafe with your friends for the first time, please don't forget to taste the Hyderabadi Tea and also don't forget to ask for a 1/2 Chai, which is a True Hyderabadi Tradition and Hospitality. So, try our Hyderabadi Chai and with it you will discover the Vigor, the Vitality, and the Friendly faces of Hyderabad.
Right now, the only competition faced by Irani Cafes are the growing number of Internet Cafes. The choice is yours, Chai or the Chip. Ofcourse Reachout recommends best of both worlds. Why don't you have a cup of Tea while on the internet?
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