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From the time you enter through the gates of the Taj Falaknuma, the grandeur and the elegance is going to leave you spellbound. A palace which has enthralled many dignitaries in it’s 122 year history isn’t just to be seen. It’s an experience of a lifetime to carry back with you. It’s not everyday you get a chance to walk through beautifully handcrafted history. A history so rich that it even made the Nizam of Hyderabad fall in love with the palace. We were glad to be part of the special Invite for the Tour & Hi Tea Celebrations.

The Falaknuma Palace was constructed by Vikar-ul-Umra, the then prime minister to the Nizam of Hyderabad. It was handed over to the Nizam of Hyderabad as a nazar (offering) by the prime minister to use as a palace to entertain his guests. The story goes that the Nizam had initially come to the Faluknama Palace to stay only for 2 days. He fell in love with the palace so much that he continued onto stay there for a month. Faluk-numa literally translates to “Mirror of the sky” in Urdu.

Here in the post below we take you through the walls of history of the Taj Falaknuma as it gears up for it’s 5th anniversary celebrations on the November 13th. Through it’s ornate paintings, magnificent rooms, the opulent staircase, the huge palatial grounds as it towers over the city of Hyderabad and the grandeur that is Falaknuma.

Soon as you enter through the palace gates and ushered in, a battery operated cart takes you all the way to the palace grounds. This is a followed by a welcome drink as you’re left to soak in the magnanimity of the palace.

Welcome Drinks - Green Tea Mocktails

Welcome Drinks - Nimbu Sherbat

The palace historian Prabhakar awaited to take us through the journey that is Falaknuma Palace. A walk around the palace grounds unravels the story in layers. The palace grounds are filled with peacocks which have made it their home. They also have a stable housing the horses and a horse-drawn carriage that you can use for special occasions.

Palace Lawns (3)

Palace Lawns (2)

Palace Lawns (1)Horse Drawn Carriage


Electrical Lamps

As you gradually move into the palace, the first entry is to the Taj Khazana, where some of the splendid, intricate rare treasures, paintings and finest collections of the Nizam are housed.

Taj Khazana

Cherubs Fountain

Intricately Carved Peacocks

A Bookshelf


From the Taj Khazana room, you are further led into the inner chambers which house the inner area and meeting rooms of the Nizam. Considering that the Falaknuma Palace is resemblance of sky on earth, you’ll find a lot of architecture and paintings are done to resemble celestial and sky objects. From angels and cherubs to birds and even dragons. The Library is a replica of the one at Windsor Castle and has one of the finest collection of books in the world. In fact the Nizam of Hyderabad was so rich that he used the Jacob diamond as a paperweight.


Nizam's Desk

Library (2)

Glass Painting


Tree Of Life

The marble figurines supported by balustrades have been delicately carved. They have candelabras at regular intervals.


Staircase (2)

Staircase (1)

Staircase (3)

Top Of The Stairs (3)

Top Of The Stairs (1)

Top Of The Stairs (2)The Falaknuma Palace was one of the first palaces in India to get electricity. The electrical systems have been designed by Osler and has one of the largest electrical switchboards in India. It also has the largest collection on Venetian chandeliers.

Chandeliers (3)

Chandeliers (2)

Chandeliers (1)The pride of the Taj Falaknuma is it’s famed dining hall table which has seen many royalties, noblemen and dignitaries dine in. The dining table can seat up to 100 people with the tableware being made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added.

Grand Table (3)

Grand Table (1)

Grand Table (4)

The High Tea is one of Taj Falaknuma’s highlights of the day. The nobility that comes with watching the sun set over Hyderabad from the terrace balcony. The menu at the High Tea is vast and elaborate. Featuring a eclectic mix of Hyderabadi, Indian and Continental, there is something in it for everyone. There are the healthy juices, shakes, cold coffees and lassi. Then come the huge variety of sandwiches, bruschettas. But the Hyderabadi Indian section of the High Tea is worth checking out. They at any moment in time have the Lukmis, Bun Maska, Keema Buns and lot more which are specific Hyderabadi specialties.

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (6)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (12)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (11)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (9)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (8)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (7)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (5)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (4)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (2)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (3)

High Tea At Taj Falaknuma (1)

And the talk before of dining in royalty. Below pictures are a testament of the opulence of the terrace as you face out to the city of Hyderbad and the sky merges with the horizon in the distance. These pictures cover the balcony and the Jade Room where the artworks of local artists are displayed.

High Tea Area (15)

High Tea Area (14)

High Tea Area (13)

High Tea Area (12)

High Tea Area (10)

High Tea Area (11)

High Tea Area (9)

High Tea Area (8)

High Tea Area (6)

High Tea Area (5)

High Tea Area (4)

High Tea Area (3)

High Tea Area (2)

High Tea Area (1)

The Taj Falaknuma is impressively beautiful in the night as all the lights slowly light up to reveal it’s splendor.Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (3)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (4)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (2)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (1)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (5)

Taj Falaknuma Lawns In The Evening (6)As we leave the Taj Falaknuma, we don’t leave with just an experience but with an everlasting memory. It’s truly a piece of eternity created on earth.

Palace Outer Side (3)

Palace Outer Side (2)

Palace Outer Side (1)

There are no videos allowed inside the Taj Falaknuma and we rightfully stand by that decision too. An individual visit is what you’ll need to feel the magnificence and majestic beauty of the Taj Falaknuma. Here is a small video below of the palace as it slowly fades out into the distance as we take leave.

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

As part of the ongoing 5th Anniversary celebrations of the Taj Falaknuma, Colombian Saxophonist Dumbira enthralls visitors during High Tea.

The Hookah Lounge - Taj Falaknuma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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For those who have been following us on Instagram and our Facebook page, know the number times that we’ve been to Goa in the recent few months. Yes Goa is the perfect vacation you need from work and otherwise. But there is so much to Goa to be explored. The culinary food history is a delight worth exploring. The Xacuti, sorpotel, cafreal from the Goan cuisine to the Bhaji and Solachi kadi of Hindu Saraswat cuisine.

Pao And Prawns Rechaed

The state has had many settlers over history that it has evolved it’s cuisine too along with it. But the unifying factor for all Goans is the Pao (Pão). The art of making Pao was a legacy brought in by the Portuguese. Every neighborhood has it’s one or two bakeries which make their usual two rounds of the day to sell bread. Most of the bakeries that I visited to watch the art of making pao, usually do them in two shifts. In the first shift they make throughout the night so that they can do the rounds early morning for people to have with their breakfast and lunch. While the other is in late afternoon, just in time for dinner.

Katriche Pao

Poi (Healthy Wheat Pao)

Pao Loaves

So this time in Goa we formed our very own Pao trail. To visit the bakeries and watch how the pao, poi, katriche pao, etc…are made. Now finding the bakeries are quite hard unless you’re a local. Nestled inside small villages, winding alleyways makes for quite an adventure to locate a bakery in Goa. A lot of the poders sell the bread in the Mapusa, Anjuna and other markets which are frequented by tourists. But upon asking for directions to their bakery, they politely declined.A Poder Out To Deliver Pao In The Morning (Pic Courtesy Goa Tourism)Near the Saligao Church, you’ll see a lot of peddlers standing around on the bridge selling bread. As I got to chatting with one of the poders, he finally did give me directions to one. Winding away from the touristy side of Goa, is it’s countryside. As I made my way, stopping to ask for directions through a lot of alleys completely broken away from the main road, came an extreme narrow path between two houses and right behind them all was the bakery. It was pitch dark even at 9 in the night and a small light shone at one corner of the bakery. The bakers told me to come back at 12 midnight as that’s when they’d start their next batch.

View From The Window Of The Bakery At Night

Pao Dough

Dough Ready To Be Put In The Kiln For Baking

Poder Making Pao In A Kiln

Everything had gone quiet by 12 midnight except the bakers pushing their stuff one after another into the oven. There are more than 14 types of bread made by the bakeries in Goa. The most popular of them are the poi (whole wheat), pao (cube) and the crispy undo. Many of the Goans favor the undo with their morning tea. It gives a lovely crunch even after being dunked in the tea. For the rest of the day it’s the pao. The poi is whole wheat variant of the pao and actually recommended for people with health problems.

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

A video posted by FoodDrifter (@fooddrifter) on

The kaknam (bangle bread) looks so similar to a variation of donuts. But the hardwork gone into making a katriche pao is commendable. They have to design each of the shape with scissors and then after attaining the perfect shape, it’s pushed for baking. The bakeries only make enough to sell out for the day. They key necessity for them is to provide Goans their daily bread, but FRESH.

Pao Loaves

Without the pao many of the Goan dishes would not be complete. The Xacuti, Sorpotel and cafreal taste so much better pao than with Roti/Rice. The next time you’re in Goa, take a break away from doing the normal and become a local. The travel tales, the vibe, the conversations over pao are incomparable. Goa truly is incomplete without it’s pao.


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Hampi is one of the trips you need to take in a lifetime. The entire town of Hampi is dotted in ruins of the Vijayanagara Kingdom on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. It’s classified as an UNESCO World Heritage site. For a tourist to be living among of the ruins of what was once a mighty kingdom, has a charm of it’s own.

Tungabhadra River

To navigate Hampi, it’s important to keep one small thought in mind especially for a foodie. The Tungabhadra River bifurcates the town. While one bank accommodates the temples and hance non-vegetarian isn’t allowed on this side. But once you take the ferry to the other side of the river, everything is allowed. Being a Temple-town, alcohol isn’t sold in Hampi but you can carry your own booze and also some smaller hotels do provide beers on the other side of the river.

In this post we take a look at what to and where in Hampi.

  1. Mango Tree: Mango Tree was a landmark by itself. It was once nestled beneath a huge mango tree, boasting of river views which is still unmatched. But a lightning struck taking away the iconic mango tree but the spirit of the restaurant still lives on. Now situated in the bazaar lane right in front of the Virupaksha Temple, Mango Tree continues on to serve delightful thalis.

Meals At Mango Tree

  1. Gowthami Guest House: Our favorite is to live of the other side of the bank of the river. Gowthami Guest House is one of the must visit hotels in Hampi. They grow their own produce and the chefs in the kitchen are mostly travelers looking to make a living to fund their journey. This has benefits. One the food is as authentic as possible. And two, the food is even more tastier with their organic produce.Gowthami Guest House
    An Israeli Menu
    Teas At GowthamiMust Try: They make the most amazing Pasta and especially go for the ones with Pesto Sauce. German baked goods with lots of cheese. An Israeli Laffa which is almost like the shawarma but packed with even more ingredients inside. And yes don’t forget their relaxing teas. They truly give meaning to the word Chillin’. They also have some delicious breakfast with options like German Bread, Hash Browns and many different kinds of omlettes.Alfredo Penne At Gowthami
    Breakfast At Gowthami
    German Cheese Bread
  1. German Bakery : The first bakery soon as you embark to the other side of the Tungabhadra is the German Bakery. It’s just an extension of a house and he closes shop pretty fast. He makes really good Rum Balls and German Cake. You can find all kinds of bread, cookies and cakes. But you need to be in time before they are polished off.German Bakery
  1. Laughing Buddha: This is a tiny terrace seating on the first floor of a housing complex. It feels very makeshit and is mostly crowded for the Hookahs and one of the few places which serve Beer. But do order their Shipudim Plate. It’s an Israeli platter of Pita Bread, Fries, Fresh Hummus, Barbecue Garlic Chicken Nuggets and fresh salad.Shipudim Platter

The essential thing to remember in Hampi is that you’re there to relax and soak in history. Take a walk among the ruins or among the sugarcane fields. Hampi is also one of the largest producers of sugarcane and it is a whole other feeling to sink your teeth into fresh sugarcane. And for some light munching by the river, there are always some local products like the below one.

Hyderabadi Biryani Flavor Snacks

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The city of the Nizams, the place that houses the elegant Charminar and the ‘Land of the Biryani’. The mammoth food options we get around in Hyderabad is well known. The best way to explore the Hyderabad Food in the city is to go local. Eat the dishes the locals eat, explore the hidden gems like never before and go street smart in terms of food.

We decided to put together a list of the most iconic dishes, for a one day city tour of Hyderabad. Right from the breakfast to ending with a late-night post-dinner, the list is quite extensive. If ever to cover Hyderabad in one day, these are the routes that you should take to go along on a spectacular food journey. We list out the 15 must do things in Hyderabad to be covered in a day.

1. The Butter Dosa And Tawa Idli Bandis: Yes thelas elsewhere are known as Bandis With an insane amount of Butter, Cheese and Paneer going into making each Dosa, know that you’ve started on a gastronomic journey. Ohh, and did we forget to mention that the filling too is Ghee Upma. Stop counting the calories and feel that smooth, crisp Dosa melt in your mouth, that extremely butter pan-fried idlis infuse happiness with each bite. Find your way to Govind, Laxman, Pragati & Ram ki Bandi for the best dosa’s & Tawa Idli’s. To see the first hand action in making the Butter Dosas and Tawa Idlis, watch the video.


2. Paya, Nihari, Kheema: These breakfast dishes would be a sin if not indulged in the right way. Most of the iconic hotels like Shadab, Alpha start to serve breakfast options since early morning. A plate of Bheja Fry, Palak Gurda, Nihari and Paya can be quite fulfilling.

Breakfast At Shadab

3. Irani Chai With Osmania & Tie Biscuits: To soak in the beauty of the Charminar early dawn with a cup of Irani Chai, overlooking all its splendidness is a must-do on the list. Many Irani Chai shops are located all over the city, but best had at the historic Nimrah Café right opposite the Charminar. Best enjoyed with Osmania and Tie Biscuits, dipped in and slurped.

Irani Chai at Nimrah

4. Andhra Thali: An afternoon can’t be the same without tasting the specialty Thali. Spicy, Tangy and Sweetness, all on one plate. The rest is up to you, if you wanting to slurp the rasam away to glory. The most authentic ones being the local messes like Kakatiya, Sri Kanya or Harsha Mess.

Andhra Thali

5. Hyderabadi Biryani: No day in Hyderabad is complete without Biryani. The quintessential Hyderabadi dish has had many a conversations and love affairs happen over a plate of Biryani. Bawarchi, Shadab, Café Bahar, Mohini, Sohail are to name a few the best places to entertain the taste buds to some authentic Biryani.

Hyderabadi Biriyani

6. Dum ka Chai: With the sun almost setting, little is known about the Dum ka Chai than its famous counterpart Irani Chai. The Black Tea is put under heavy heat – dum before mixing with milk and being served. Head over to Café Iqbal in Goshamahal for a cup of Dum ka Chai.

Dum ka Chai

7. Pathar ka Gosht: its hard thinking that meat can be made over a hot stone like the ancient times. But this city sticks to the tradition of Mutton prepared over a slab of hot stone and the outcome is pure juicy sin. Head over to Dine Hill and Bade Miyan in Tankbund for savoring this dish.

Pattar ka Gosht

8. Munshi Naan with Marag: A walk around Purani Haveli and you’ll a line of shops making Munshi Naan, made right in an underground hearth. Best had with a gravy like Marag or fresh kebabs, this Naan can be found in mostly 4 different shapes with the Char Koni being the most famous of them. A masterpiece which hasn’t left the borders outside of the Old City. For more about Munshi Naan you can watch the video

Munshi Naan


9. Bagara Rice with Dalcha and Khatti Dal: a part of almost every Hyderabadi household, these dishes are extremely hard to come by in hotels and restaurants. Nonetheless some of the oldest eateries still do have it on the menu like the Café Iqbal, Shadab, Sohail etc.

Bagara Khaana

10. Qubani Ka Meetha and Kaddu Ka Kheer: No meal is complete without Desserts. Hyderabad doesn’t lack behind when it comes to dessert discoveries. The Qubani ka Meetha (Apricot soaked in Sugar Syrup and Nuts) and Kaddu ka Kheer (Bottle-Gourd Kheer) are some of the must haves.

Qubani ka Meetha

11. Double ka Meetha: To think the important status that this sweet enjoys after a meal is mind-boggling. A bread based sweet, a counterpart to the Shahi Tukda, it’s impossible to miss if going the traditional Hyderabadi way.

Double ka Meetha

12. Badam ki Jali: Lost in history and not quite well-known, the Badam ki Jalli is near impossible to find. Even the most local people will be unable to guide as to where this is found. In a quaint little neighborhood of Aziz Bagh, the Badam ki Jalli is made by a few families only on special order. Pic Courtesy: Badam ki Jali FB Page

Badam ki Jalli

13. Jauzi ka Halwa: Right on the main junction of Nampally, you’ll find a small shop outlet in the name of Hameedi. Made with Jauzi (Nutmeg) and heavily laden with Ghee, the last Nizam had loved it so much that he sent a letter to name the shop after the nickname of one of his sons.

Special Jauzi ka Halwa

14. Famous And Bilal Ice Creams: Seasonal Fruits and along with it comes the seasonal Ice Creams. The oldest of the city’s dairies produce them freshly made from natural fruits and do make it a point to ask, what’s new on the menu miyan?

Bilal Ice Cream

15. Mandi At Barkas: Barkas is an area completely cut-off from the main city. Known for it’s Persian and Yemenis population, they’ve combined both the food cultures together. A late night long drive and then settle over a huge plate of Laham or Faham Mandi at Mataam-Al-Arabi, Yum Yum Tree and the likes and you’ll be licking your fingers dry. Post 12 AM is the best time to head out to these place, once the late night hunger kicks in.

Mandi At Barkas

The lineup covers the most iconic of dishes as seen through a local point of view. Hyderabad as a city has a lot more to offer when explored. But a walk down the lanes brimming with kebabs and Biryani and you sure are going to be beginning a journey, with lots of memories and more food journey to come back.

If ever in the city during the holy month of Ramzan, when the entire city of Hyderabad is all decked up with festivities and a lot more, having to taste the Haleem should figure high on the list. The Iranians might have invented it, but Hyderabad is where it’s soul lies. Some of the city’s outlets too serve Haleem throughout the year, but most of the city folks swear by having it only during this month.

Haleem At Cafe 555

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