The city of smiles, of lights, of a thousand faces, endearingly called the Pearl City, Hyderabad offers a variety of tourist attractions ranging from Heritage monuments, Lakes and Parks, Gardens and Resorts, Museums to delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience. Hyderabad offers a fascinating panorama of the past, with a richly mixed cultural and historical tradition spanning 400 colorful years. Many visitors never make it past the attractions in Old City, but you haven't truly seen Hyderabad until you have ventured out into the neighborhoods. The city is split into north, west, east, and south of the central district. There are differences in culture visible throughout the city.
LET'S TALK ABOUT CULTURE
In many senses, Hyderabad is the meeting ground between North and South India. The city has a culture that is distinct from the rest of Andhra Pradesh, showing Islamic influences and a courtly presence imparted from its period as the capital of the Nizamate. This is more evident in the old city. The new city resembles many provincial state capitals in India. Secunderabad is more cosmopolitan, as the Cantonment area is located in this part of the city.
Due to a recent influx of young men and women from various parts of the country for better job opportunities, Hyderabad's culture and attitudes have taken a turn towards "modernity". However, it is good to keep in mind that the city is still a deeply conservative place and to dress appropriately, especially in the old city.
Note that people have a very indifferent attitude towards time and a very laid-back attitude.
Some recommended places to visit in Hyderabad
The first tourist attraction that comes to mind when you think of Hyderabad is Charminar, which is located in the heart of the city. Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah constructed this monument in the year 1591. The architecture of Charminar reflects the Cazia style. The idea behind constructing the monument was to ward off a deadly epidemic, which claimed many lives during that period. The four minarets are 48.7 meters tall. There is a mosque and 45 prayer spaces inside Charminar. The shopping area around the monument offers products for cheap rates.
2. Golconda Fort
A place you cannot afford to miss during your tour of Hyderabad is Golconda fort. The name Golconda finds its root in “Golla Konda”, which means Shepherd’s Hill. The fort was originally constructed during the period of the Yadava Dynasty and later it was under the control of many other dynasties namely the Kakatiya Dynasty, Bahmani Dynasty from whom it went into the control of Qutb Shahis, and later Mughal Dynasty. The Golconda fort dates back to the 13th century. The acoustics effects are excellent in the fort. If you clap your hands at Fateh Darwaza, the sound can be heard at Bala Hissar, which is located a kilometer away. The royal palaces and whispering walls are some of its main attractions.
3. Makkah Masjid
This ancient mosque is more than 400 years old and was built by the founder of Hyderabad, Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah. He laid the foundation stone and planned the whole city around this mosque, making it the centerpiece of the same. The central arch of the mosque was built from the soil especially bought from Mecca and one of the rooms here is believed to have the hair of Prophet Muhammad. A visit here is recommended for people of all faiths for its historic, religious and architectural importance.
4. Old City
A major tourist spot and the heart of Hyderabad, the old city of Hyderabad has been an important part of the city since it was first founded. All the major monuments in the city like Charminar, Taramati Baradari, Makkah Masjid, and many more are located in or in the vicinity of this city. The famous Laad Bazaar known for pearls, traditional jewelry is also here and along with The Madina Market, this place is a shoppers paradise. This is also the birthplace of biryani and therefore the Hyderabadi cuisine here is to die for.
5. Salarjung Museum
Salarjung Museum was founded in the year 1951. The museum has stunning collections and most of them were from Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, famously called Salar Jung III. The collections are exhaustive and could be classified as Indian Art, European Art, Art of the Middle East, Far Eastern Art, and a section for children. The collections include antiques from various parts of the world. Indian sculptures, bronze statues, Persian carpets, Chinese porcelain, jade carvings, woodcarvings, and many more. This museum has the distinction of having the largest personal collection in the world.
6. Qutb Shahi Tombs
A series of seven tombs belonging to the rules Qutubuddin Dynasty, Qutb Shahi Tombs are a major heritage site in Hyderabad. Built-in the 1500’s, this site draws many tourists for its unique architecture, which happens to be a mixture of Hindu and Persian styles. The whole structure rests on a raised platform and has intricate stonework on the arches. Interestingly, these tombs are unique for being the burial ground of a whole dynasty.
7. Hussain Sagar Lake
Yet another popular tourist spot in Hyderabad is Asia’s largest artificial lake named Hussain Sagar Lake. It connects Hyderabad and Secunderabad, called the twin cities. It was excavated during the period of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah in 1562 AD. The statue of Buddha in the middle of the lake is 16 meters tall. Boating facilities are available here. You could take part in watersports namely boating, skiing, cruising and parasailing. Apart from Hussain Sagar Lake, even the surroundings entertain as you can find NTR Gardens, Sanjeevaiah Park, Lumbini Park, and so on.
8. Birla Mandir
Birla Mandir is situated at the southern end of Hussain Sagar at the top of the hill. This beautiful temple built using white marble offers a stunning view of the lake and the city. The construction resembles the architecture of South Indian and Oriya temples. The amazing construction makes you want to revisit this place. A tour to Hyderabad is complete only if you visit Birla Mandir.
9. Chowmahalla Palace
Located at the heart of Hyderabad, Chowmallah Palace has been standing tall for 200 years. It was the official seat of Nizams during their glory days and all-important ceremonial proceedings were held here. The palace is divided into three parts which are Southern Courtyard, Northern Courtyard, and Khilwat Mubarak. These three parts have their unique features and their intricate exteriors and opulent interiors are some of the things to look forward to while visiting. In 2010, it won the prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation.
10. Ramoji Film City
Ramoji Film City has the Guinness Book Record of being the world’s largest film studio. The lavish gardens and open spaces have been featured in many Indian films, the most recent example being Bahubali, which was shot extensively here. A tour of this film city is an experience on its own and therefore, Ramoji Film City is one of Hyderabad’s main attractions.
HOW TO REACH HYDERABAD
The nearest airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad.
Being the headquarter of South Central Railway; Hyderabad is well connected with all major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru, Kochi, Kolkata. There are railway stations at Nampally and Kachiguda. Trains leaving from these two stations can also be boarded at the Secunderabad railway station.
Regular services of state roadways and privately owned buses from the bus stand of the city are available. Roads are well linked with important cities and states. You can also hire rented cars or taxis to your desired destination.
Hyderabad has a lot to keep you engaged throughout your tour. Whichever part of Hyderabad you are in, you would love the cuisine served, as it is a combination of Mughal, Persian as well as Telugu cuisines. If you love spicy food, you would love the food served in all parts of Hyderabad. A city bustling with activity offers you everything from active tourist spots to serene locations, from where you can view the magical landscapes.