Established and developed essentially as a British Cantonment, Secunderabad the twin city of Hyderabad largely differs from it in its social, cultural and architectural demeanor. Even the lifestyle and the ethos of the civic and its very atmosphere are distinct in their real sense. The locals used to refer to Secunderabad as ‘Lashkar’ which means ‘the army’. The population of this cosmopolitan city mainly comprises of native residents, British, Anglo Indians and Parsis. Due to the presence of British from its foundation till of late, Secunderabad is a more modernized and liberal city as compared to Hyderabad. A number of English style cinema halls such as Plaza Cinema, Sangeet etc, several western style restaurants and western style shopping centers, Secunderabad Club, etc predominantly reflects the British influence over the city of Secunderabad.
The ambiance and overall impression of Secunderabad is more of a lethargic kind as this is principally a residential area. There are fewer governmental offices and corporate establishment are not as thriving and flourishing as they are in Hyderabad. However, the city is endowed with a number of educational institutions and shopping centers. The cultural identity of Secunderabad as a ‘Lashkar Encampment’ has been retained by the army camps and railway institutions. Secunderabad Parade Ground and Gymkhana host numerous outdoor events, republic day parades and other fairs. The city owns an auditorium named ‘Harihara Kalabhavan’ that serves as a venue for various cultural programs organized here.
Secunderabad Festivals: Other then the traditional Indian festivals such as Diwali and Holi, Secunderabad is particularly recognized for its local festivities including Makar Sankranti, Deccan Festival, Lumbini Festival, Ugadi, Vinayak Chaturthi and Christmas.
Makar Sankranti celebrated for three days in the month of January is a harvest festival of Andhra Pradesh. The first day is celebrated as ‘Bhogi’, the second as ‘Sankranti’ and the third as ‘Kanuma’. On the day of Sankranti the sun is believed to be entering the ‘Makar Rashi’ (Capricorn). On this day people organize doll show and offer the alms to the poor. On the day of Kanuma the agrarian communities of Secunderabad express their gratitude towards their cattle by decorating them and letting them rest. Cockfights, Ram fights and bullfights are organized at the time of Makar Sankranti in Secunderabad.
Deccan Festival is basically a platform for showcasing the tradition and culture of Secunderabad. Art, crafts, conventional Andhra cuisine, invaluable items including pearls, bangles and other jewellery, etc. are exhibited and sold at Deccan Festival. The cultural programs arranged at the time of Deccan Festival specially attract the tourists from every corner of the country.
Lumbini Festival celebrated for three days starting from the second Friday of the month of December is an annual festival that commemorates the Buddhist Heritage of Andhra Pradesh.
Ugadi is the Hindu New Year that falls in the month of April. It is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra, the first month of Hindu calendar.
Vinayak Chaturthi is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. This day is celebrated with incomparable devotion and fervor in Secunderabad. The largest idol of Lord Ganesha, more than 30 feet tall is enshrined at Khairatabad in Hyderabad and worshipped for ten days. On the 11th day, the idol is carried to the Hussain Sager Lake in a grand procession and immersed into the waters of the lake.
Christmas is the Christian festival celebrated with a lot of merriment and enthusiasm in Secunderabad that portrays the British influence over Secunderabad culture. The entire city is marvelously decorated and the Anglo Indian Balls are organized.
Apart from the above mentioned festivals, Secunderabad also celebrates its annual fiesta ‘Bonalu Jatra’. This festival is celebrated by the Telangana Hindus at the time of Ashada Jatra in monsoon. Even though the Secunderabad culture differs from the Indo-Islamic culture of Hyderabad, Muslim Festivals such as Ramjan Idd and others are also celebrated here with equal dedication and enthusiasm. Other than the festivals, Secunderabad is also fond of classical Indian dance and music. Carnatic Music is one of the most loved music forms while the classical dances like Kuchipudi and Perini represent the rich cultural heritage of Secunderabad.