Hyderabad is the capital city of the Indian state of Telangana in South India. Currently it is also the capital city for Andhra Pradesh, as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, an arrangement that is scheduled to last for a maximum period of ten y ears. On the banks of Musi River, it has a population of about 6.8 million and a metropolitan population of about 7.75 million, making it the fourth most populous city and six most populous urban agglomerations in India.
Established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad remained under the rule of Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly a century before the Mughals captured the region. In 1972, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, also known as the Nizams of Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad ultimately became a princely state during British rule, and remained so for 150 years, with the city serving as its capital. The city continued as capital of a new Hyderabad state after the Nizam acceded to the Indian Union in 1948.
In 1956, it became the capital of Andhra Pradesh, formed by merging Telangana region of Hyderabad state with the Telugu-speaking Andhra State. In June 2014, after Telangana state was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad became part of Telangana state and the joint capital of both states.
Relics of Qutb Shahi and Nizam rule remain visible today, with the Chariman – commissioned by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah himself- coming to symbolize Hyderabad. Golkonda fort is also a major landmark of Hyderabad. That legacy is also evident in the city’s distinctive cuisine, which includes Hyderabad biryani and Hyderabadi haleem.
The Qutb Shahis and Nizams established Hyderabad as a cultural hub, attracting men of letters from different parts of the world. Hyderabad emerged as the foremost centre of culture in India with the decline of the Mughal Empire in the mid-19th century, with artists migrating to the city from the rest of the Indian subcontinent. While Hyderabad is losing its cultural pre-eminence, it is today, due to the Telugu film industry, the country’s second-largest producer of motion pictures.
Hyderabad was historically known as a pearl and diamond trading centre, and it continues to be known as the City of Pearls. Many of the city’s traditional bazaars, including Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar, have remained open for centuries.
However, industrialisation throughout the 20th century has also attracted major Indian manufacturing, research and financial institutions, including the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, National Geophysical Research Institute and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Special economic zones dedicated to information technology have encouraged companies from across India and around the world to set up operations and the emergence of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the 1990s led to the title Genome Valley. With an output of US $ 74 billion, Hyderabad is the fifth-largest contributor to India’s overall gross domestic product.
The grand, tall, stately structure, popularly called Charminar, is globally recognized icon, an architectural grandeur, situated on the banks of the Musi River. Awesome, eye-catching, and arousing one’s sensual taste, the monument remains fresh in one’s memories for years to come. A tourist cannot miss out on such centuries old grandiose creation. On the east of it lies the enticing Laad Bazaar and the granitely based Makkah Masjid.
The grandeur Indo-Islamic architecture splendidly displays the Persian architectural streaks of forgone era of rich Muslim heritage, made up of limestone, pulverized, mortar, reflecting Mughlai architectural talent. The four minarets add to the aura of the Hyderabadi monument.
Enthralling, making you miss a heartbeat, and blink an eye or two is the Golkonda fortress citadel, which has an amazing acoustical system, whereby a clap of your hands can leave behind resounding noise that reverberates all-around you. The Quli Qutub Shahi exemplary refined shows through in the architectural designing of the Fort. You will certainly feel small standing in front of it, but the grandeur feeling in you will lighten up in order to feel as grand as the monument itself.The famous fort was a safe venue for the Kohinoor diamond as well as Hope diamond. The Golkonda fame for diamond mines is a popular and the Europeans definitely were attracted to this rich landmine.
Nehru Zoological Park
The Nehru Zoological Park, also referred to Hyderabad Zoo, was established in 1959 and was opened to public in 1963. The Park encompasses an area of 380 acres. It offers a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, where visitors can rest amidst lush greenery, well-manicured gardens and groves while watching exotic birds and animals in their natural habitat. The Park also hosts a lion safari, which is usually the highlight of the visit.The Nehru Zoological Park is has a breeding and rehabilitation programme for endangered animals and birds, and the Park has successfully bred many indigenous and exotic birds and animals, like Indian rhinoceros, Asiatic lions, tigers, panthers, orangutan, crocodiles and pythons.
This beautiful and compact urban park on Tank Bund Road in Hyderabad is an escape from the concrete jungle of the city. Located on the shores of Hussain Sagar, Lumbini Park is family-oriented with enough space for children to run around. In addition, the Park has several eating stalls and boating facilities. There are two shows of musical fountain in the evening which attracts locals and tourists alike.
It is refreshing to watch the musically synchronised water fountain. The other visual treats in the Park are its floral clock and beautiful landscape. The Park gets its name after a garden, which was believed to be the birthplace of Siddharth, the latter-day Buddha. It is a wonderful place to rest and relax after a tiring day’s work or sightseeing. The green oasis amidst the urban sprawl is definitely the Park’s major attraction.
This fascinating and contemporary temple in Hyderabad is located on top of Kala Pahad, towards the southern point of Hussain Sagar. The temple was constructed in 1976 by the Birla family, which is a renowned family of industrialist in India.
Birla Mandir is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, but there are two other deities in the temple – Padmavati and Andal. The beautiful structure is built from white marble, which was brought all the way from the state of Rajasthan. The architecture of the temple is its highlight, as it is a synthesis of South Indian and Oriya architectural styles. The Rajagopuram of the temple is built using the South Indian style of architecture, while the tower over the main shrine is built using the Oriya style of architecture. The temple has some spectacular sculptures depicting scenes from the Hindu epics, Mahabharat and Ramayana.
Salarjung Museum started out as a private collection of Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, who was the prime minister for the Nizam. After relinquishing his post, he turned his attention to his passion of collecting antiquities and paintings from across the world. When he died, the Indian government took over his collection, which was known as one of the largest private collections in the world. The museum was opened to the public in December 1951.Today, the Salarjung Museum is known world over for its fascinating displays and collection. There are more than 43,000 paintings, 47,000 books and 9,000 holographs. In addition, there is an entire section devoted to Indian art which proudly displays stone sculptures, bronze idols, painted textiles, wood carvings, miniature paintings, weaponry and metal utensils amongst others. The Museum has a huge art collection from the Middle East, Far East and Europe. The Clock Room of the Museum has an awe-inspiring collection of around 300 antique clocks.
The majestic stand-apart Mecca Masjid rolls your eyes on account of its majestic appeal, situated close to the Chowmahalla Palace, Charminar and Laad Bazaar. The artistic taste of Muhammad Quli Qutub, the fifth ruler of the Qutub Shahi commissioned the bricks from holy Mecca. Today, it is the religious center to offer prayers for the devout Muslims.The ramparts of the mosque are made of granite and are in form of inverted conches that are located on walls that are ornamental in form. It is decorated with Belgian imported crystal chandeliers. The devotees sit around the artificial pond and experience a feeling of serenity. Ancient relics and floral motifs add to the aura of the times when the Mecca Masjid was built.
Sprawled over an area of 2,35,000 feet, the Imax Theatre is an air-conditioned multiplex located at the premises of the Hussain Sagar Thermal Power Station. The theatre was constructed after the thermal power station was demolished.
Today, the Imax Theatre is one of the hottest spots in the city of Hyderabad. It has a 5-screen multiplex, multinational fast food chain outlets, food court, shopping mall in two levels of the complex and a gaming zone.
This was the first IMAX Theatre in South India and boasts of a 12,000-watt digital surround sound system, 95-foot screen and 635 seats. It is also the world’s largest 3D IMAX screen. It also is the first green theatre in India, after it installed a 100 KWp solar voltaic power generation system on its rooftop.
The Andhra Pradesh State Archaeological Museum is located in the capital city of Hyderabad and is renowned for this collection of metal and stone sculptures that date back to mediaeval and ancient Andhra. Some of the sculptures belong to the Satavahana and Ikshvaku eras. All the sculptures are exhibited in five galleries. In addition, the Museum has a beautiful collection of Ajanta and Deccani paintings.
There is even a modern art gallery where visitors can enjoy paintings and sculptures from contemporary artists of the city. The Museum was established in 1920, during the reign of the seventh Nizam. It is considered to be one of the best archaeological museums in the country. Some of the fascinating exhibits include an Egyptian mummy, a Buddhist gallery, coins dating back to the Satavahana period, Roman coins, replicas of the Buddhist murals from the famous Ajanta, arms and armour gallery, Buddhist and Jain relics and bronze figures from the Vijayanagar and Chola dynasties amongst others.
Nizams Silver jubilee Pavillion
Located close to Purani Haveli, in the Old City, the Nizam’s Jubilee Pavillion Museum showcases the marvellous and grand items that the last Nizam of Hyderabad was presented for the silver jubilee celebrations of his reign in 1936. The Pavillion houses several gifts and mementoes, such as a 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and Mark V Jaguar. In addition, there are beautiful replicas made out of silver of prominent city landmarks, citations in Urdu praising the H.E.H. Mir Osman Ali Khan, a gold tiffin box with diamond inlays, gold burnished wooden throne that was used for the celebrations, silver coffee cups with diamond studs and a silver filigree elephant with a mahout that visitors can enjoy at the Nizam’s Jubilee Pavillion. The Pavillion is open from Saturdays through Thursday, from 10 am until 5 pm.
The breathtakingly beautiful Chowmahalla Palace was once the centre of Hyderabad where the Nizams entertained their royal visitors and official guests. It was used for accession ceremonies as well as other ceremonial functions. The Chowmahalla Palace complex is fusion of different influences and architectural styles. The construction of the complex was initiated by Salabat Jung in 1950, but it was completed during the reign of Afzal ad-Dawlah, Asaf Jah V, who was the fifth Nizam of Hyderabad. It is believed that the Palace complex was inspired by the Shah of Iran’s palace in Tehran.
Shilparamam is an art, craft and cultural village located in Madhapur, Hi-Tech City in Hyderabad. It is spread over an area of 65 acres and was setup in 1992. The village pays homage to the natural beauty and rich and vibrant cultural heritage of India. It is a place for artisans and artists from across India to come and showcase their skills in art, culture and craft. Right from beautiful Indian pottery to woodwork, jewellery, local craft of different regions, traditional clothes and weaves, Shilparamam is a kaleidoscope of the diversity existing in India. The village holds year-round festivals to showcase ethnic art, craft and skill of rural artisans from all corners of India. The grand sculpted portals, lush gardens, cascading waterfalls and natural rock formations within the village are equally appealing. Shilapramam is open all days from 10.30 am to 8.30 pm and there is a nominal entry fee for adults and children.
NTR Gardens is a beautiful urban park located close to the famous Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad. It is spread over an area of 34 acres and is dedicated to the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, N.T. Rama Rao. The lush greenery and the fountain located at the entrance plaza can be a gorgeous escape from the concrete jungle of the city. In addition, there is a monorail system that can take visitors around the garden, which has spacious pathways, family entertainment centre, souvenir shops, play area for children, a Japanese garden, a car café, fruit restaurant and much more. The imposing entrance plaza with its fountain, the three petal-shaped pools and the Nandi Bulls adorning the garden precinct are eye-catching and sublimely beautiful.
Located in the capital city of Hyderabad, the Public Gardens is a popular park in the city. It is renowned for its beautifully landscaped gardens, lawns and pathways. In addition, the park also houses many prestigious institutions, such as the State Legislature, Andhra Pradesh State Archaeological Museum, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Indira Gandhi Auditorium and an outdoor theatre known as Telugu Lalitha Kala Thoranam. The Public Gardens also houses a children’s park, Contemporary Art Museum and the Health Museum. Its outdoor theatre is a popular venue for fashion shows, film festivals and beauty pageants. There even is an ancient mosque located within the Public Gardens that is worth checking out.
The Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City, abbreviated more commonly as HITECH City, is located in the western part of Hyderabad, in Madhapur. It is the largest information technology park in the country and offers superlative and state-of-the-art IT services, telecom, engineering consultancy and other related domains. Within HITECH City there are number of IT parks, and each of these parks offer modern premises to major technology and engineering companies from India and around the world. In the City, there are number of shops, fine dining restaurants, fast food outlets and stores.
Ramoji Film City
The Ramoji Film City has the honour of being in the Guinness World Records as the largest film studio complex in the world. It was established in 1996 by the Ramoji Group and is sprawled over an area of 1,666 acres. It offers world-class filmmaking facilities. Many films in English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Malayalam and Kannada have been shot here along with television serials and commercials. Besides its top-notch film making facilities, Ramoji Film City is also a popular recreation destination. It has a 5-star as well as a 7-star hotel at the entrance and once inside, visitors are mesmerised by the different film sets and Hawa Mahal, which is a miniature replica of the Golconda Fort.
The Hussain Sagar Lake has become synonymous with Hyderabad just like the city’s delicious biryani. Located about 1.5 kilometres from the heart of the city, Hussain Sagar is a manmade lake that connects the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The centre of the lake is dominated by a huge granite image of Lord Buddha. This idol weighs a massive 350 tonnes and stands at a height of 16 metres.
Locally referred to as Tank Bund, Hussain Sagar Lake was made by Hussain Shah Wahi on tributary of Musi River in 1562. This was during the reign of Quli Qutub Shah. Today, the Lake is popular with the locals as well as visitors who want to enjoy the natural beauty, the refreshing breeze and an opportunity to enjoy yachting and boating.
Snow World is an amusement park located along the shores of Hussain Sagar Lake and next to Indira Park. The park is spread over an area of 2 acres and opened its doors to the public in January 2004. It boasts of 200 tonnes of artificial snow on a specially designed layered flooring. Every day the top layer of the snow is removed and additional 2 to 3 tonnes of artificial snow are laid on the floor.
The snow is manufactured using patented technology from Australia and the water used is passed through a filter four times, so that children are not harmed if they consume it. The park has an step-wise acclimatisation system for visitors which starts from 20 degrees Celsius and gradually falls to -5 degrees Celsius. The visitors are given a cup of steaming soup and protective clothing to help them acclimatise to the drop in the temperature. The Cryo Zone, which is the internal area of the park, is maintained at a steady -5 degrees Celsius.