HYDERABAD HYDERABAD, once grand seat of empire, home to IT juggernauts, somewhere in the middle of the south, one (legitimate) claimant to the world’s best biryani. Home to 11 million people, we thought Hyderabad was pretty cool.The Qutb Shahi dynasty's Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah established Hyderabad in 1591One of the grand relics of its past is Chowmahalla Palace, the seat of power and official residence of the Asaf Jahi dynasty (1720-1948).A big old fort looks down from the hills, and the Char Minar monument sits at its heart.Signs of the city's grand past are many.We peeked inside this palatial home, unaware that behind its imposing entry, a princess still called it home.The upkeep of royal homes is beyond the reach of India's many once-royal descendants.Maintenance is also an issue for lesser buildings throughout the city.Hyderabad is no ghost town of ruins. Home to huge part of India's IT industry, the city thrives and grows.The bazaar area around Char Minar is just one many where hustle is more than some 21st century hipster word.It did seem to sell an inexplicable amount of bangles.All manner of goods spill out of shops, or walk around under invisible vendors. The bird bazaar was pretty interesting.Bazaars, and many roadsides, are also places of smells and tastes.Hyderabadis are fully-fledged gastronomes."Mirchi", fried chilies, are one of her many famous street foods.You cannot come to Hyderabad and not eat biryani. Everyone has a favourite, an opinion, but an excellent recommendation is Chica.In between mirchi and biryani stops, take the time to see the sights, like the 15th century Golconda Fort.From its ramparts, you can see the city's growing pains, apartment blocks all around, where forest and farm stood not long ago.UNESCO listed, The Qutub Shahi Tombs are the resting places of the Deccan rulers of centuries past.The most elegant reminder of glory is Chowmahalla Palace, a complex of four palaces, gardens and museums, started by Nizam Ali Khan Asaf Jah II in 1769.There is a charge for mobile phones, but cameras are banned, which is why I don't have any pics of the cool vintage cars and motorcycles.The rear gardens of the complex are green and spacious, an escape from the noise.........which is something Hyderabad has in spades! This is a sliced-open auto-rickshaw fitted with keyboards and (cheap shitty) sound systems!It was doing its thing at this street festival, which may have been some kind of blessing for the youngster here, who will probably suffer permanent hearing damage.A tiny lane-way groaned with 100s of people, most of them monstering some drums, while partyers danced or bling-flicked rupees in the air.The goings-on moved to the main road. Speaker stacks, tonnes of lights, floats, more drums, fireworks and firecrackers. Madcap stuff.Hyderabad unveiled these kind of surprises around many corners.