***This is part 12 of my “Big Fat Indian Wedding” trip report detailing a recent trip to Singapore and India***
2. United Global First Lounge at SFO
3. Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Lounge at SFO
4. Singapore Airlines First Class San Francisco to Seoul
5. Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul to Singapore
6. Conrad Singapore
7. Eating Singapore Part 1 – Flowers, Supertrees, and a River Safari
8. Eating Singapore Part 2 – Hawker Stands, Chili Crab, and Kouign Amanns
9. Dinner At Singapore’s Best Restaurant, Restaurant Andre
10. Premier Lounge at SIN, SilkAir Economy Class to Hyderabad
11. Part Hyatt Hyderabad
12. Exploring Hyderabad
13. Etihad Airways Business Class Hyderabad to Abu Dhabi
14. Etihad Premium Lounge at AUH
15. Etihad Airways (Jet Airways Config “Jetihad”) First Class Abu Dhabi to San Francisco
As I mentioned in the introduction, the whole reason for this trip was to attend my coworker’s wedding in Hyderabad. While I’ve attended Indian weddings in the US, this would be my first one in India. And from the itinerary, it appeared that was going to be an action-packed several days.
The wedding events kicked off on Friday afternoon with the Nalangu ceremony, which was a gathering of the family the day before the wedding for some fun and games.
While we were staying at the Park Hyatt, the wedding festivities were all over at the Taj Deccan hotel. Distance-wise they are only about 2 miles apart, but it took anywhere from 10-30 minutes to travel between the hotels depending on traffic. We made good use of Uber to go back and forth, with the average ride costing just $2-$4.
We quickly learned that there was something called “Indian time”, and we learned that the hard way. The schedule told us to arrive at the hotel by noon, which we did. From there we waited, and waited…and waited. The ceremony ultimately got started around 2pm, and apparently we were the only ones that were confused over the delay, since this seemed par for the course to everyone else. We quickly adapted by arriving at least an hour after schedule for subsequent events.
The highlight of the Nalangu was getting to cover my coworker from head to toe in turmeric powder. By the end of it, he looked like an orange incredible hulk. I won’t embarrass him by posting his orange shirtless pictures on the internet for the world to see.
After the ceremony we went back to the Park Hyatt to freshen up, and returned to the Taj for the engagement party. Along with drinking and dancing, there was there was a henna station, and we chowed down on delicious curries and biryanis.
I must have been in a care-free state of mind, since I didn’t manage to snap any pictures of the food, which was really delicious. Since we ate all of our meals at the hotel, for the most part we escaped India without any digestive failures.
Saturday was the big wedding day, and we were out the door by noon for the ceremony that wrapped up in the late afternoon From there, there was another wardrobe change at the Park Hyatt, where we got dressed up in Indian wedding attire that we had brought over from the US. The irony was that of the several hundred attendees at the reception that night, our group were basically the only ones who wore sherwanis and sarees.
Since the sarees were difficult to put on, the ladies all enlisted the help of the Park Hyatt’s saree attendant who helped them all get dressed. In fact, that may be one of the best jobs at the entire hotel when you take into account all the tips.
We were scheduled to depart Hyderabad on Sunday night, which left the day available for sightseeing. There was a big group of about 10 of us, and while some had booked the hotel car, we just used Uber to get around town and it ended up costing about 1/4th of what they paid.
The traffic in Hyderabad got crazy at times, and along with the cars, it was common to see camels and tuk tuks carrying large items like the one below.
The first stop was Charminar, but we simply did a lap around and didn’t head up to the top.
From there, we walked over to Chowmahalla Palace and in amazing race style, even beat out the group that drove over.
The palace was probably the highlight of our sightseeing tour, and we spent a couple hours walking around.
Our last stop was Golkanda Fort which was the busiest of all the places we visited, since there was no entrance fee for locals. This is also where our group got stopped the most by locals with requests to take pictures with them.
We headed back to the hotel and with about an hour to kill before our pick-up, and walked across the street for our one and only meal outside the hotel. Good ol’ McDonald’s for a Chicken Maharaja sandwich and chili paneer pockets.