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A thorough guide to the Nizam city!

Bangles in the By-lanes

Designer brands and chic accessories maybe ruling the fashion charts but they cannot hold a torch to the colorful ‘laad’ or lacquer bangles studded with precious and semiprecious stones that turn the historic Choodi Bazaar (Laad Bazaar) into a blingy kaleidoscope. Syed Maksood, a jewellery shop owner in the area says, “Glass bangles are imported from Faridabad and UP but the lac bangles are handcrafted in the karkhanas (factories) of the city. It takes around three hours and requires 6–7 people to make a single bangle.”

Further down the bazaar, shops selling black metal statues and decor items cast their spell on passers-by. These intricate objets d’art are available in every shape and size, and make a perfect gift or souvenir; however, the ‘black’ magic is dwindling according to Mustafa, an idol maker. “With plastic made statues and home décor items from China gaining popularity and with rising prices of raw materials, it has become difficult for us to have a stable ground in the market.”

‘City of Pearls’- the moniker for Hyderabad could not be more ironic. “Hyderabadi pearls are actually not produced in India – they are imported from China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and the US. It is China that dominates the pearl market. After being imported, these pearls are drilled in different parts of Andhra Pradesh. The local artisans pierce and string the pearls,” informs Sudarshan, a pearl dealer in Laad Bazaar. Right from the era of the Nizams, pearls have been brought into the city from the neighbouring island of Sri Lanka and from the Gulf countries. Yet the charm of the city adds that dash of something indefinable to these round globules that makes them a valued buy here.

Besides bangles and pearls, what dominates the walk down the street leading to Charminar is an array of little shops selling attar. Abdul Gaffar, who owns Royal Perfumes Centre informs, “These fragrances distilled from herbs and flowers have been symbolic of Hyderabadi heritage since the era of the nawabs and they continue to entice shoppers.”

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