Chintha Chiguru is one of the few things I look forward to in the summers. Apart from Mangoes and Munjalu. 😋 And Chintha chiguru mutton curry is one my favorite dish of all time!
Here is the recipe:
Mutton: 600 gms
Onion: 3-4 medium size, finely chopped
Green Chilies: 3 – slit along the length
Oil: 3 tbsp
Ginger Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Red Chili powder: per your taste. I used 6 tsp because: 1. we like our food extra spicy and 2. when we use chintha chiguru we will need extra heat to beat the tangy taste.
Salt: 2 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala: a pinch
Chintha chiguru: 100 gms
Clean the meat of excessive fat, wash it in hot water and set it aside.
In a pressure cooker add oil, onion and green chilies. Cook till the onions turns translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste and mix it well.
Add meat, red chili powder, salt, turmeric powder and garam masala. Mix all the ingredients well. Close the lid and cook with the pressure on for three whistles in medium high flame and ten minutes on simmer.
In simmer phase, let it cook for 10 minutes even if the cooker lets out of couple of more whistles. This will allow the meat to cook properly.
Turn off the flame and let the cooker cool down.
Now remove the lid and add washed chintha chiguru to the dish. Cook for 5 minutes on simmer. The leaves will melt in no time. Super tasty and my personal favorite Chintha Chiguru Mutton curry is ready to be served with either rice or rotis.
It basically feels like driving within the city considering the distance. But we will know we are no longer in the city once we cross ECIL. The buildings will start to thin. We get to see farm lands – if we are lucky, we get to see these farm lands in use.
It was the spur of the moment trip for us. So we did not know it was Utsavalu season. And we definitely did not expect crowd and wait in the queue for 30 minutes for darshanam. There was absolutely no one to guide people who are visiting this place for the first time. We were told that this place does not darshanam tickets, that’s how we ended up in the queue. Once we entered the main temple, we found a volunteer who guided us to get special darshanam tickets that will take you directly into the garbha gudi. Those 10 minutes in the garbha gudi we so peaceful and special.
The temple in itself is in a secluded place. One side of the road leading up to the temple has farm lands and the other side a small stretch of pond. It must be serene place without the loud speakers blasting and the crowds milling about. Probably we will visit this place another time in the evenings. We narrowly escaped from getting a sunstroke yesterday.
I have seen people looking up at our custard apple tree with the same awe as this bird. Completely mesmerized with fruits hanging around all year round. I love this bird’s expression with it’s mouth hanging open and going crazy with happiness – thinking which fruit to attack first!
The only thing came close to relating for me was Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from Ice age movies with his eyes popping whenever he comes across an acorn!
This temple is built by the Odia community in Hyderabad and has picked up popularity since the last time I visited in 2017 with a friend. Back then, there were just a hand full of people in the temple for darshanam. Also, maybe we were one of the first few people to visit after it opened in the evening. It was quite early and the floor was hot from summer sun. I remember jumping leg to leg in the below picture when it was taken. 😅 Now they have put up shades around the main temple.
The temple had decent crowd over the last weekend. And it went through minor renovations. Even with the extended parking space, it was difficult to find a spot. The security was only concerned with vehicles not blocking the main entrance. Would be nice to have someone manage the parking lot to streamline parking.
It is free darshanam unless you go for special pooja. And it was peaceful darshanam too. No guards inside the temple to rush us out while we offer prayers.
Although our visit was spontaneous, it was one of the best evenings I have had in a while. And the weather was cooperating too – cool and cloudy with no rain.
I have procrastinated to post this video for months now! I have had enough with my laziness and here is the video finally!!
Our neighbors feed stray cats – they started with one and they now have a whole bunch of them and a litter for every female cat. It is now a cat colony living in our neighbor’s front yard.
All this started about a year ago. As I understand, the mother cat keeps moving their litter every few days to warm corners of the house. I guess the cats have had enough of our neighbor’s house. They started stowing their kittens in our house. We first found them in our kitchen under the stove. The kittens kept making tiny unrecognizable sounds through the night. Our maid removed them the following morning.
Next we found them on our kitchen loft and finally under our staircase. I safely removed them to our back corridor for their mother to find them.
They were adorable, no doubt. But the mess they left behind was not so adorable.
Google maps are reliable only so far in Hyderabad. It does not show on the maps if roads are closed for construction. While I have been to this end of the city, I have never driven to Old City. Could never remember the directions if my life was depended on it! Google maps worked for about 80% of the way. And thanks to the traffic police and the kind pedestrians of the Old City, I reached my destination without sweating much. 😊
I would advise people to take metro, if you plan to visit SalarJung Museum. If you do choose to come by your own vehicle, the premises have parking facility for both cars and bikes. The website says the entry ticket is INR 500 per person, but they are charging INR 50 at the counter and another INR 50 per camera phone or camera. Best to leave additional mobiles in your vehicle or they have locker rooms to store them.
The entire tour of museum will take about 3 hours if you maintain a good pace. This museum is much bigger than the Birla Museum and has much more art pieces on display. I went prepared with chips and fruit juices this time to keep up my energy. The museum also has a cafeteria. But it was a Saturday and the place was packed with tourists and school kids. And the place was smelly! One downside of SalarJung Museum is – it is not very well kept as Birla Museum. Unlike Birla Museum, this place has chairs in every room and in the halls to relax if we are too tired from walking.
The entry ticket has the floor maps of the museum to guide us. I will only mention the art I liked the most to keep this post short. Well, as short as I can😅 . Most pieces are standard museum art: Spice boxes, goblets from 18th & 19th Century, Miniature arts, Huge Vases, fancy Nawabi jugs, Filigree art, war equipment, ivory carvings, wooden furniture, wooden carvings, Wooden screens used for changing clothes.
The carpets display was worst smelling room apart from washrooms! That could be because the carpets go through treatment to keep them in good condition. Even though we have seen horses and elephants with jewellery in period drama movies, it was funny looking at just the jewellery without the horses and elephants. There were few tadipatralu in Sanskrit on display – extracts from Bhagavat Gita and Ramayana. I liked the tapestries in Egyptian and Syrian gallery. I loved the cute little dice pieces in the Jade gallery. And the floor to ceiling ornate mirrors in the European glass gallery! European Clock gallery had hundreds of clocks in all shapes and sizes. Some of them reminded me of Cogsworth from the movie – Beauty and the Beast.
Art pieces I loved the most: cigar stand in the shape of old train engine, prototype of olden day’s car carriage, the crowd pleaser – veiled Rebecca. This sculpture was a beautiful mystery. How the artist could have made the face and veil on the face with marble is a wonder! Ivory chess pieces of Rajasthan, Wooden carving of Garuda – this took me back to Tirupati. Loved the silver Candelabra stands – they were tiny and cute! And the porcelain letter box in Utility Ware gallery. The second crowd pleaser: Double statute of a man in the front and a woman in back – depicting and a German drama.
Overall, the tour was part educational and part entertainment for me. I recommend this place for history geeks.
Museums and art galleries are not everyone’s cup of tea.
Even if I did know this fact, it became painfully clear while I was at the Birla Modern Art Gallery, Hyderabad. People were just walking by the paintings like they were walking in the park. Not bothering to look at the finer details of the paintings, the artist name or the title of the paintings.
While I don’t claim to know art all that well, I made an attempt to understand what the artists were trying to convey through their paintings. It was most disappointing thing to see how this place was under appreciated and 75% of the time these halls were empty.
My personal favorite pieces from this collection are 1. Painting of three beautiful Nizam women and 2. A life size bronze sculpture of a serving girl. Beautiful thing about this sculpture is her eyes follow you around in the room. At that point in time, I was the only one in that hall and I was scared beyond my wits! With goosebumps adding to the eerie effect. But to create a bronze sculpture with effects like these back in 18th century was a marvel! Beautiful in a scary way!
Some of the excavated idols were displayed in the lawns of the property and along the way to science museum.
Birla Science Museum
This museum has four levels:
Ground level of the museum is scattered with a bunch of science projects/experiments. Pre-teens, teens and science geeks will be attracted to these projects. This level also has the oldest camera taking up an entire room on display, they also have first three generation computers on display. It was fascinating to watch big machines taking up so much space as computers versus the laptops we are using these days. Some optical experiments including concave and convex mirrors were fun. I was getting dizzy after watching few experiments, so skipped the rest.
Basement level is dedicated to the archaeological art. Some of the sculptures are too old and their forms were harder to decipher. The entrance to section was literally like a cave! I refused to enter it alone at first when the security guard showed me the entrance 😂. Then he helped me see the halls just beyond the entrance and the people walking about. This level had some more excavated idols on display – some in impeccable condition and others in unrecognizable condition.
The white marble art collection was like feast to the eye! The intricate designs of idols and the fine details on each piece was beautiful! And the black granite gopuram and dwaram – the precision with which they were sculpted. I have no words to describe how beautiful it was to watch them!
This level also has a collection of rare Chinese vases – huge vases!, Plaster of Paris sculptures, collection of perfume bottles in all shapes and sizes from 18th century, Thala Patralu in Sankrit transcripts, Porcelain figures collection from England. This last part is literally a doll collection and not everybody’s cup of tea. I have seen a bunch of young men running out of this section like their hair was on fire 😂. I suppose it wont hurt to appreciate art in the form of tiny doll figurines. They were beautiful set of dolls – calling to the little girl inside me😄. The museum had a strict no photographs policy. Otherwise, I would have taken thousands of pictures of these beautiful art!
The second level had a re-created model of submerged Dwaraka and model of Antarctica with tiny penguins! The rarest collection of pashmina carpets with the beautiful designs were a sight!
And the last floor is dedicated to Dinosaurium. They have skeleton of a dinosaurs on display along with other fossils and remains of dinosaurs. By the time I reached this floor (3 hours later) I had very little energy and patience to read the history and other material on display. I became the park walker by this time I was complaining about at the beginning of this article😅. Since other people were taking pictures with the skeleton – I thought I would need one too. 😄
It had been an educational tour for me. If only I had carried snacks to keep up my energy, I would have done justice to the last floor with Dinosaurs.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, Art galleries and Museums are not for everyone. But if you do want to brave them – go prepared to spare at least few seconds per painting and art to appreciate them.
Here are my this year’s Sankranti Muggulu. I have tried new ratham muggulu this year. One I am very happy with! The other, I am still deciding how I am feeling about it. On the bright side, it does look like a miniature ratham. So I am taking that as a win.