Why Hyderabad’s love for Irani chai is turning cold

Irani chai was introduced to the citizens of this historic city by the Persian settlers in the 20th century.

When the K Chandrasekhar Rao government demolished the Telangana Secretariat buildings in Hyderabad last year to build a vaastu-compliant sophisticated complex, there was a ‘collateral casualty’ -- Irani chai served in the decades-old Tehran Cafe across the road.

For decades, the tea joint had served as the most favoured hangout place of the secretariat staff, sharing their personal and professional ‘haal chal’ over cups of Irani chai and Osmania biscuits. As the shutters came down on the cafe, it joined a host of many such chai joints in Hyderabad that have slowly disappeared into oblivion over the years.

Orient at Abids was another such Irani chai cafe, popular among intellectuals, budding poets, painters, aspiring writers and others. Revolutionary poet and communist leader Maqdoom Mohiuddin and several labour leaders used to brainstorm here over cups of tea. It also used to be the meeting point of journalists sniffing out not just the aroma of good chai but also ideas for their next big story.

Rich, aromatic history

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