Some call it city of Pearls, some call it the City of Nizams, while others know it as home to best Biryani in world. Whatever be the reason, travellers have always liked touring this city. The city of Hyderabad is coming together of Royal past and modern day times. Located on the river Musi, this city is sprawled in every dimension both geographically and culturally. It is not just the grand museums and historic sites that’ll occupy your days, but city has plethora of things for everyone.
From Irani chai to tantalizing Indian spices, this city is a flavour that will strike hard. With 400 years of history in old city and another 400 years of future in Hi Tech city, Hyderabad offers a unique travel experience. Here are some of the top things to do in Hyderabad.
Charminar is unarguably the most iconic spot of the city of Hyderabad. It is often called as Arc de Triomphe of the East by historians. Charminar was built in the year of 1591. The monument has got its name from four minarets that comprise its structure. It was built in 16th century and it commemorates the shifting of Qutb Shah’s capital from Golconda to Hyderabad. It is estimated that total stone used in the Charminar structure weighs a whopping 14000 tonnes.
The other popular theory behind the origin of this monument is that the king made it to eradicate the epidemic of cholera that had engulfed the city. It was built with lime mortar and granite. It has four storeys with a mosque on top floor which offers spectacular views. Charminar is also known for the sprawling markets that surround this magnificent monument.
As per the legends there also is an underground tunnel between Charminar and Golconda Fort, but hasn’t been discovered till date. Some historians also believe that the four minarets of Charminar symbolize the first four prophets of Islam.
Golconda fort is an archaeological, architectural marvel that sits on top of granite hill which is only 11 km far from the city. Initially this fort was built in the year of 1143 as a mud fort, but was later fortified between 14th and 17th century. Golconda Fort was the capital seat of Qutb Shah Kingdom. The fort has 8 gates and 87 bastions, with surrounding walls rising up to 15 meters high. The main complex of the fort has palaces, mosques, and some other prominent buildings.
The history behind this fort goes like that a shepherds boy found an idol on the hill which led to the making of mud fort. This is the reason why it was earlier called as Shepherds Hill or Golla Konda in Telegu. When visiting Golconda Fort you must see the acoustic water system, Rahban cannon and Ramdas prison. When visiting here you must admire the iconic Fateh Darwaza.
In medieval times there was a flourishing settlement that adorned this fort. As per scriptures of Marco Polo, Golconda Fort was an important spot in the trade of diamonds and other precious stones along with other commodities.
Chowmahalla Palace was the royal seat of Asaf Jahi dynasty. The grandeur of this palace is a symbol of opulent life of Nizam’s. The palace is divided into two courtyards, North and south with four palaces Tahniyat, Afzal, Aftab, and Mahtab Mahal. The number of four palaces gave the name to this magnificent monument. The palace is adorned with marble floors and Belgian chandeliers, and every palace of the complex dazzles.
When visiting the Chowmahalla Palace you should be prepared to be spoiled with the sights of vintage cars, scenic gardens and the intricate baroque interiors. This grand palace has been the residence of Nizam’s since the 18th century. The palace is spread on whopping area of 12 acres, with courtyards, gardens, and fountains.
When visiting here if you want to experience the true charm of old world then you should admire the council hall and the Durbar Hall. Must see is the clock tower which is housed within the complex and has been ticking for past 150 years.
Makkah Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India that can hold up to 10,000 people at a time. It is made of bricks that came from the city of Mecca, giving it its name. The construction of Makkah Masjid was started in the year of 1617 and was completed in the year of 1694.It was built by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah. This mosque symbolizes the grandeur of the Quli Dynasty. You also have to take a note that at present only the followers of Islam are allowed inside.
The arches of mosque are inscribed with Holy Quran and interiors are decorated with Belgian chandeliers. The mosque becomes a sight to behold especially during the Islamic festivals when thousands of devotees come here to offer their prayers. Besides the complex of the temple you will also find a graveyard with tombs of many Nizams of Hyderabad.
The mosque is located pretty close to Charminar, making it easily accessible. You can wrap these two stunning touristy spots within few hours. The markets surrounding the mosque are also worth exploring and will adorn your itinerary.
Hussain Sagar is the largest manmade lake in Asia which is built on tributary of River Musi. In middle of Hussain lake is the statue of Lord Buddha in white granite which lights up in night offering mesmerizing views. The construction of Hussain Sagar started in the year of 1563. It was built under the command of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah. Do not assume Hussain Sagar to be a boring lake, as you can also indulge in boating, water skiing, and parasailing while here.
Hussain Sagar is surrounded by gardens named Sanjeevaiah Park, Indira Park, and Lumbini Park, which makes it an ideal location for hanging out or a quick picnic. Hussain Sagar is not just an amusement spot, but it also has significance in the history of Hyderabad. It was used as a source of water for irrigation for ages until 1930.
Hussain Sagar is an ideal travel spot for couple travellers. The best time to visit Hussain Sagar is in evenings, or in night. You will also find many eateries around it that will come of much help after touring the spot and satisfying your hunger pangs.
Salar Jung Museum
It is one of the only three national museums of India, and biggest one man collection in the world (by Salar Jung). Yes that might sound a little unreal, but all the item showcased in this museum were collected by one man. The museum is home to more than 43000 artefacts from various categories, 9000 manuscripts from various genres and 47000 printed books. The museum has total of 38 galleries with historic treasure from all over the world.
Some of the collections that need to be watched out for in Salar Jung Museum are paintings by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the sword of Aurangzeb, daggers of Shah Jahan, and wardrobe of Tipu Sultan. Some of the most admired collection of this museum are musical clock from 19th century that comprises of 350 parts, and Veiled Rebecca.
Some of the galleries that comprise the Salar Jung Museum are named as Founders Gallery, South India Bronzes, Indian Sculptures, Indian Textiles, Jade Gallery, Bidri Gallery, among many more. When visiting this museum, do keep aside least half a day.
Qutub Shahi Tombs
Qutub Shahi Tombs are located in the Ibrahim Bagh. They are built with a blend of Indian and Persian style of Architecture. They consist of tombs of 7 rulers of Qutub Shahi dynasty. The material used in the construction of the tombs is grey granite. They all have false ceilings, two tire terrace, central pillars, a dome at top, and ornate arches in stucco decoration. Qutub Shahi Tombs are some of the oldest structures in the city of Hyderabad.
Formerly the Tombs were built by the rulers of Qutub Shahi dynasty, but later they were renovated by Salar Jung III in 19th century. In total there are seven tombs in the complex. The smaller tombs where are present in the complex comprise of one storey, while the bigger tombs of the complex comprise of two storey.
In present times, the site of Qutub Shah Tombs is also the venue that hosts the annual Deccan Festival. The best thing about visiting this touristy spot is that the crowd here is less and you can peacefully admire this historic site.
Ramoji Film City
Ramoji Film city was incepted and built by Ramoji Rao, in the year of 1991. Ramoji Film City is one of largest film studios of the world. It also holds Guinness world record for having capacity to hold up to 50 film units at the same time. Ramoji Film City has many sets like Hollywood sign, London Street, airport, Japanese gardens, hospital, villages and temples. It is a fun filled must visit spot, especially if you like watching films.
The Film city is spread across a whopping area of 2500 acres. While visiting the film city you can also witness live film shootings and can also click a selfie with your favourite film star if they are shooting here. If you are travelling with kids then you will also like the toy train concept of Filmy Dunia that will take you through many themed set ups.
It is not just the replicas of various worldwide locations that comprise Ramoji Film City. Here you will also get to binge on some delicious food in many of its restaurants. Some of them are, Super Star Restaurant, Hollywood Restaurant, and Dil Se Restaurant.
Falaknuma Palace sits on the top of 2000 foot high hill. It is often referred to as Mirror of the Sky. Falaknuma Palace consists of 22 halls and 220 rooms. It was once used by Nizam as Royal Guest house. It is made of marble, has a rosewood dining table that can accommodate 100 people at same time and there are many gardens inside the palace complex. If you want to witness the grandeur of those times and see the lavish living of Nizams then this place is a must visit.
Inside the Falaknuma Palace you will find Venetian chandeliers that have enchanted the visitors of this palace since the time they were installed here. Inside the palace you will also find plethora of souvenirs that the Nizams of this palace have collected over the years from all across the world. Interestingly the palace also has a collection of unique holy Qurans.
The palace is also popular for housing a jade collection which is one of its kind in the world. The ball room of this palace is also popular for housing a two-ton manually operated organ which is the only one of its kind in the world.
Birla Temple of Hyderabad sits on 280 foot high hill which goes by the name of Naubhat Pahad. It is estimated that close to 2000 tonnes of white marble was used to construct it. Interestingly it took around 10 years to complete the construction of this magnificent temple. Birla Temple is inspired by Rajasthani, Dravidian, and Utkala architectural styles. The temple has 11 foot statue of Lord Vishnu. It also has shrines of other Hindu deities and Lord Buddha.
The temple has shrines of Brahma, Shiva, Hanuman, Ganesh, Shakti, Lakshmi, Saraswati, and Sai Baba. The beauty of this temple gets heightened in nights when the lights are turned on. The Birla Temple of Hyderabad is also known to offer picturesque views of Hussain Sagar from the top. During the construction of this temple the idea was also to build a place ideal for meditation.
Unlike other Hindu temples, this one doesn’t have bells, so the kind of peace you will get here is unmatched. The temple is open to visitors during all days. Just close to the temple are Birla Science Museum and Birla Planetarium that can be wrapped up in a single visit.
Lumbini Park is the spot to unwind in city of Hyderabad. Lumbini Park is spread across an area of whopping 7 acres. Lumbini Park is located close to Hussain Sagar, making it easily accessible for tourists and locals alike. The must see in Lumbini Park are the giant clock at entrance embellished with flowers, rocks, cactus, and then there is musical fountain with laser light show. The musical fountain of this park will get you tuned with top Hindi or Telegu songs.
In the laser show you can see the 3D view of the city of Hyderabad. Lumbini Park is popular for being rich in flora and fauna. Lumbini Park is a must visit if you are travelling with kids. They are going to absolutely like it. There are separate wave pools and toy trains installed in the park especially to keep the kids entertained.
To best enjoy the laser show and the musical fountain you must visit the park in the evenings or late evenings. Lumbini Park is a great spot if you are looking to break free from the monotonous city life and roaming about in the shopping malls with handbags.
Purani Haveli is a single storied European piece of architecture that was once the residence of Peshwa of Qutb Shah. It was originally built in the 16th century but two centuries later it was renovated to give a European touch. It was during the 18tyh century that it became the residential palace for the Nizams’ of Hyderabad. In present times it serves as a Nizam museum and architectural spot. Inside the Royal Haveli you will also find a 1930 Rolls Royce in their car collection.
The courtyards, verandas, decorated archways symbolize the royalty and grandeur of by gone days. The Purani Haveli is also home to the world’s longest wardrobe. The wardrobe is 240 foot long and occupies two storeys. The Haveli is also home to a wooden elevator which is the oldest hand cranked wooden elevator in India.
The palace also houses many artefacts that are made of gold and silver, like models of important monuments of Hyderabad. The collection that is housed in this Purani Haveli is a must see if you have interest in museums and antique collections.
Snow World was the first ever snow themed park of India and is a fun filled spot of the city. The theme park is spread across an area of whopping 2 acres. Interestingly the snow in here is made of mineral water. In snow world you can try ice skating, ice boarding, snow slides with bumping car and toboggan rides. It is not just the locals that visit this place, but people from across the country along with international travellers visit this theme park.
Snow world also has sections with igloos and simulated polar animals. The best time to visit this theme park is during the winters. If you have kids travelling with you on a trip to Hyderabad, then this spot must be on your itinerary. It is estimated that there is more than 200 tonnes of artificial snow inside the snow world at a time.
Snow World is estimated to be capable of housing more than 2000 people inside the premises at any given point of time. The average temperature that is maintained inside the snow world at any given time is minus five degree Celsius.
Laad Bazaar is one of the oldest markets of city, which had its presence and existence right from the times of Nizam’s and Qutb Shah. The Laad Bazaar is popular for bangles made of Laad or Lacquer. This market starts from Chaarminar, and spreads up to a kilometre. In Laad bazaar you will also find shops selling traditional wares, zarri clothes, embroidery, pearls, and semi precious jewellery. In Laad Bazaar you can also buy the popular ‘Soorma’ or natural kohl of Hyderabad.
It is estimated that this market is home to more than 150 workshops that specialize in the making of Lacquer bangles. It is estimated that there are over 350 shops that sell these Lac bangles. If you are visiting this market then you should be ready to do some haggling. The better you are at this skill, the more you are going to enjoy shopping over here.
During festive times this market is bustling with visitors, and people flock from all across the city, all across the state to buy bangles from here. Recently this market has also gained traction from the Middle Eastern countries, from where it receives bulk purchases.
This opulent mansion once served as the embassy of East India Company. Many architects also find it similar and an architectural attempt to copy the White House of Washington DC. If you want to get a hang of colonial charm in the city of Hyderabad, then this is the place where you should be headed to. Koti Residency is built on the banks of Musi River and is surrounded by lush greenery from all sides. The facade of this colonial monument is adorned with 40 feet high Corinthian pillars.
Koti Residency was designed by Lieutenant Samuel Russell of the Madras regiment. It is built in the neo classical style of architecture from the outside. In its former days, Koti Residency was the place where the British officers posted in the region were housed in. As per the locals, the chandeliers used inside the premises were sourced from the palace of King William IV.
Inside the residency you will also find painted ceilings. From the inside the Durbar Hall of this residency is a must see. It briefly also has served as Women’s College of Osmania University which was also known as Koti’s Women College.