Freitag, 26. September 2008

Last Hyderabad post

Our time in India has come to an end - we have moved to Sydney.
I will miss:
Abhideep, Apurva and Bhavna and their kids, and many other nice people we met through Google,

my German class, especially the hard core consisting of Aakanksha, Genevieve, Soumya, Yogesh, Ricky and Zareen. They were so much fun to be with, taught me a lot about Indian culture and became real friends.

Kshitij, hotel manager of the Balaji Residency, who very sweetly offered to teach me Hindi. He turned out to be a very good teacher and also taught me a lot about Indian culture. If I'd met him sooner, I'm sure I would be fluent by now!
He just told me the good news that he now has a healthy baby girl. Congratulations!

everyone at the Jayabheri apartment complex who made us feel at home and took good care of us, especially Ismail and all our drivers, Shyam, Visu and Lakshmi and their family, Ramarao and many others,

the kids at the Diya orphanage who were such a joy to be with. For more details on them please see the post "Charities" (especially if you feel like donating some money!),

all the friendly people we met on our travels who talked to us, helped us, shared their food with us and made us feel so welcome,

and all the weird things about India that make life so interesting. I'll miss some more than others, of course.

I will also miss the sight of women in beautiful saris and salwar kamiz.

Fortunately, I won't need to miss the good weather and Indian food because we should be able to get plenty of both in Sydney, too.

Goodbye, Hyderabad! Hallo, Sydney!
(Picture taken in the Blue Mountains not far from Sydney by Steph. That's Steph's hat, too.)

Montag, 8. September 2008


In case you have been wondering what to do with your spare money, I'd like to draw your attention to two charities.

First of all, the Diya orphanage in Hyderabad.

The orphanage is for HIV-infected children and is run by the Freedom Foundation. They also run a small adjacent hospital (and many other charitable projects in India). For more information on the Freedom Foundation, please see

Some Googlers and their partners go there sometimes to play with the orphans since they don't get a lot of visitors otherwise. Douwe and I went a few times, too, and had a lot of fun with the children.

In the name of the children, I'd like to thank my sister Nicola for donating a big box of toys! They were much appreciated.

Unfortunately, the orphanage will have to move soon because the property owner won't renew their lease (there are a lot more profitable things you can do with ground in Hyderabad).

Another very good cause is the Rainbow Primary school in Hyderabad, a school built for poor children living in a slum.
Even though state schools are free in India, many poor parents don't send their children (especially their daughters) to school since they can already earn a little money instead. At this school, the children receive a free lunch which is sometimes all it takes to make the parents send them there. A pre-school is being built, too.

Expat My teaching an English class for teachers at the school.

These kids do not go to the school (yet?), they are just hanging out and being cute.

Freitag, 5. September 2008

Ganesh Chaturthi in Hyderabad

Suddenly, the streets were full of people selling brightly coloured statues of Ganesh

in preparation for Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival in the god's honour.

People had erected a statue of Ganesh in the parking lot of our apartment complex. On the first day of the festival, we went there to check it out.

We were welcome to participate in the activities. A chanting priest doled out perfumed rice to throw at the statue, passed some holy fire around, gave us some sweet yoghurt to drink and collected donations. In the end, we got a whole meal - rice with vegetables, some sweet dessert and a banana.

My Hindi teacher had mentioned a huge Ganesh statue in the city - the biggest of all! We had to see that one, too.

There was a bit of a fun fair nearby, with a hand-activated merry-go-round.

Dressed up for the festival? Maybe, maybe not. Indian ladies and girls don't need a special occasion to wear festive clothing. Even beggars often wear pretty clothes and jewellery.

Shiva and (much smaller) Parvati - Ganesh's parents. Shiva is holding a sword - probably a reminder of how he cut off his son's head so that it had to be replaced with the head of an elephant. (In his defence, he didn't know it was his son at the time. A misunderstanding.)


Fort Daulatabad on the way from Ellora to Aurangabad. After a day of climbing hills and exploring temples, the 45 minute climb to the top didn't seem very appealing, so we skipped it. Which was probably just as well since it started to rain - a lot.

In Aurangabad, we visited Bibi-ka-Maqbara. It was built in 1679 by Aurangzeb, son of Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal. A lot smaller than the original, it's also referred to as mini Taj.

Built as a tomb for Aurangzeb's wife, it also served as a nice shelter from the rain for us and a lot of Indian tourists.

We amused ourselves the usual way by taking pictures of each other.

A little more solemn: a Muslim family.


After Ajanta, we went to Ellora. It has many rock temples similar to those of Ajanta, but there are not only Buddhist, but also Hindu and Jain temples.

The Kailashanatha temple is really breathtaking. It's huge, and it's hard to imagine that people cut it all out of massive rock.

Inside the temple complex.

Baya weaver weaving a nest from grass.

A professional photographer asked us to pose with his customers, well aware of the mysterious penchant of Indians for having their picture taken with us.

Printing the photos on the spot.

Jain temple

We, on the other hand, have a mysterious penchant for posing with elephants.