Kalyani Nawabs of Bidar
The Kalyani Nawabs of Bidar came to Hyderabad sometime in the 18th century. And set up their haveli in what’s today known at the Kalyani Nawab ki devdi. According to blogger Serish Nanisetti, whose written about the Kalyani biryani in his blog here firstname.lastname@example.org. One of the Kalyani Nawabs, Ghazanfur Jang married Sahibzadi Kamal-un-Nissa Begum, the second daughter of Asif Jah III, the third Nizam of Hyderabad. The Kalyani Nawabs were from the present day Basavakalyan. After the marriage in 1802, Ghazanfur Jang set up his devdi or haveli near Shah Ali Banda in Hyderabad. Basavakalyan or Kalyani was located on the fringes of the erstwhile Hyderabad State. It’s funny how the Hyderabadi biryani has travelled to the neighbouring areas of Hyderabad, evolved in it’s own way. And has come back into Hyderabad in it’s evolved state. This stands true for the Rayalaseema Nattukodi biryani, the Andhra Konda biryani. And the Kalyani biryani from Bidar.
The devdi of the Kalyani Nawabs stands today in a state of ruin. It’s quite evident whomsoever in our government has been given the charge of restoring ‘n maintaining our historical sites. Has ‘n is making a hash out of it. Isn’t it high time to rename the Archaeological Survey of India as the Archaeological Restoration of India ‘n work accordingly. I’m sure they’re doing stuff, but it just ain’t enough.
In 1948, the Indian government took over Hyderabad State in what was named Operation Polo. Post 1948 were tough times for the nobles of the Hyderabad state. And many of ‘em fell on to hard times. The Kalyani Nawabs were one of such. Over a period of time, the cooks of the devdi, would’ve left ‘n taken up jobs elsewhere or started their own bhandis or roadside stalls. A gentleman by the name Dawood started his own bhandi, making ‘n selling biryani according to the recipe as he knew it. The biryani was made with small cubes of beef, regular spices, onion ‘n loads of tomato. It was supremely tasty. It’s popularity grew. And sometime in the 50’s, Dawood set up a permanent stall behind the dargah in Murgi Chowk, near Charminar. Now there might have been other cooks who might’ve come out from the Kalyani biryani school of thought. And might’ve set up shop too. But there’s no one who became as popular as Dawood. And he aptly named his shop Kalyani biryani. That’s what he did best.
Many people believe that the Kalyani biryani is the beef version of the Hyderabadi biryani. It’s not. The Kalyani biryani’s very unlike the regular Hyderabadi biryani. It has a distinct tomato-jeera-dhania flavour. And not as rich as it’s Hyderabadi cousin. It might not have saffron ‘n other expensive spices that’re the hallmark of the Hyderabadi biryani, but’s still quite tasty. I feel it’s unfair to call the Kalyani biryani as the poor man’s Hyderabadi biryani. What I really like about the Kalyani biryani’s that it’s unpretentious. Unlike the commercial versions of the Hyderabadi biryani. The Hyderabad of today, is of course, far more affluent than what it was in the 50’s. And the relevance of the cheaper Kalyani biryani has probably gone down. But it’s still pretty popular in the outskirts of Hyderabad ‘n the less affluent Muslim areas of Hyderabad. And of course, still pretty dominant in Bidar.
Dawood’s shop in Murgi Chowk is a pale shadow of what it used to be. He passed away some years ago. His sons now run it. The place’s now not that well maintained. And falling apart. But everything in this biryani shop’s exactly how it was 30-40 years ago. And the Kalyani biryani’s still pretty decent. But the locals of Murgi Chowk do tell me that it used to be much better. If you’re a food ‘n a history buff. It might be worth a visit, inspite of the current state of the place. The sense of history that you get from this place is amazing. But don’t go with very high expectations. I hope the people who run this biryani shop understand the legacy that they have ‘n make an effort to transform the place. May the force be with them!!
Address ‘n details
Address – Behind the dargah at Murgi Chowk.
Timing – 12 noon to 830 pm.
Pricing – The Kalyani biryani’s priced at Rs.35 per plate.
Location on Google maps
View Kalyani Biryani – The original shop in a larger map
About Chowder Singh’s Hyderabad local food guide
This guide has references to Chowder Singh’s favourite street ‘n local food in Hyderabad ‘n offbeat eating places. Along with original photos ‘n location on Google maps. Kindly note that Chowder Singh pays for all his meals. There are no listings against freebies or payment. And absolutely no going around looking for free vada pav. If you’ve been to or have feedback on the Kalyani biryani. Please do share your experiences. Either in the comments section below. Or in the Chowder Singh facebook group.
Here’s the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/chowdersingh/
Also, please remember that the pricing of dishes that I’ve mentioned, are when I’ve visited. They might change over a period of time. I’ve still included these as a general guideline. And, please do remember that I write mostly about street food. I try ‘n write only about those places, which not only serve good food, but seem to maintain good hygiene practices. I suggest, for safety’s sake, it’s always better to eat at a street food place which’s busy. Also, neat ‘n clean. If they’re making an effort to keep the place clean, you can be reasonably sure that they’re also making an effort to serve hygienic food. But I’d say always go by your own instinct. And if you’re not sure, but still like to try, then have only the cooked stuff that’s still warm. Safer that way.
Happy hunting the original Kalyani biryani ‘n chow-chow!