While most people celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolates, flowers and candlelight dinners, a few city couples are ditching romance and roses for the love of Hyderabad by taking part in walks and storytelling sessions in and about the city in which they reside.
Interestingly, even Hyderabad was built as a token of love by young prince Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who fell in love with a young girl called Bhagmati. “It is rumoured that Charminar was built at the very location where Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah first saw the beautiful Bhagmati and fell in love. What better way to celebrate the day of love,” says Gopal Krishna, founder of Hyderabad Trails.
The four-day festivity Sheher-e-Ishq will comprise of storytelling sessions and walks around the historical monuments. “We will do a night walk at Charminar and another one at Koti Women’s College to share stories about Hyderabad’s tryst with love. With Sheher-e-Ishq, we are trying to not only celebrate love,” says Gopal.
Many of the city’s monuments have immortalised love. “Taramati Baradari has been immortalised through stories and the dancing pavilion built for her by Abdullah Qutb Shah, whereas Mah Laqa Bai Chanda was a courtesan in the court of the Nizam and famously in love with John Malcom, the then British Resident. Meanwhile, there’s a storytelling session titled Aashiqiyan Kahaniyon Mein at Nritya Forum of Performing Arts exclusively for couples, where five storytellers from the city will tell stories. “Hyderabad is one city which celebrates every occasion with equal fervour and this Valentine’s Day, we thought of sharing stories of love,” explains organiser Nitesh Pandey.