With the 16/17 season now well underway after the Kaspersky Riga Masters, the tour once again turns to incredible India for the third instalment of the Indian Open.
Staged in the southern city of Hyderabad, the World Snooker tour sees 64 of the world’s best players battle it out for £50,000 top prize in the country where the sport was invented over 140 years ago.
The inaugural event in 2013 – the first ever ranking tournament to be held in India – saw Aditya Mehta reach the final on home soil, only to be beaten 5-0 by China’s Ding Junhui in New Delhi. His eighth ranking title, Ding also became the first player to win back-to-back ranking titles in the same season since Ronnie O’Sullivan during 02/03. Mehta was the first Indian player to reach the final stage of a ranking event, having beaten the likes of Mark Williams, Stephen Maguire and fellow countryman Pankaj Advani en route.
After a year’s absence, the tour turned to the city of Mumbai in 2015, where the Grand Hyatt Hotel saw Wales’ Michael White win his first ranking title in tremendous style, thrashing Ricky Walden 5-0 in the final.
So before heading out to our latest stop on the ever-expanding pro tour, we take a look at some of the things you might not know about one of South Asia’s most culturally rich cities.
- Dubbed ‘The City of Pearls’, Hyderabad has historically earned its reputation as India’s main hub for the diamond, pearl and gemstone trade, and up until the 18th century was the only global trading centre for large diamonds
Hyderabad’s iconic Charminar mosque, constructed in 1591
- The city has a population of 6.7 million people, making it the 4th most populous city in India
- The city is home to the world’s tallest monolith of Gautama Buddha, measuring 58 feet and weighing around 450 tonnes. Located on the banks of the Hussain Sagar lake, the statue was commissioned by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Rama Rao after a visit to the Statue of Liberty in New York inspired him to build a standout landmark in his city. It took 200 sculptors 2 years to build it
The city is home to the worlds tallest monolith of Buddah
- Hyderabad’s industry has seen massive growth and innovation in the service industry, with the city’s HITEC City hub leading the way in Information technology, engineering, health informatics, and bioinformatics, and is one of the largest and most influential in India
- Hyderabad is surrounded by 140 lakes – many man-made for reservoir purposes – with Hussain Sagar being the largest at 5.7 square kilometres in size
- With a tropical wet and dry climate, the year average temerature is 32.3º. The summer months are extremely hot and humid with maximum temperatures soaring up to 40 °C. Players during the Indian Open can expect highs of around 31ºC, with lows at a cosy 22ºC
- Whilst the city might be know for it’s precious stone and – more recently – it’s IT sectors, the film industry is very much at the core of activity in Hyderabad. Covering 2000 acres, The Ramoji Film City is the largest integrated film city in the world, also boasting a popular tourism and recreation centre, containing both natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park. The Telgu film industry (Tollywood) is the 2nd largest film industry in India with around $250 million turnover a year
- With over 140 variations worldwide, Hyderabad is famous for the Hyderabadi Biryani – a popular Indian dish with rice, spices and chicken or goat. Invented during the Nizam period, this dish is well known globally
- Hyderabad’s famous Charminar mosque (pictured on World Snooker’s promo material) was built at the centre of the city in 1591 to mark the end of the deadly plague that swept through Hyderabad. After he pleaded to Allah to end the plague that was destroying the city, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah promised to build a mosque on the spot from which he prayed
- One of the world’s most famous and priceless diamonds, the Koh-i-Noor originates from the Hyderabad area from the 13th century, held at the famous Golkonda Fort vault. Having changed hands numerous times in South Asia, the diamond eventually fell into the hands of Queen Victoria after the British conquest of the Punjab in 1849. Today, the Koh-i-Noor is part of the Crown Jewels on display in London.