Hyderabad is a city of forts, palaces and biryani. Highly influenced by the various Nizams, it is one city which is rich and diverse in culture and history. Surrounded by picturesque monuments, and filled with the aromatic fragrances of delicacies, Hyderabad is one of the grandest metropolitan cities. Here are the top 15 things to see and do in the city of pearls.
Hyderabad’s most famous establishment, the Charminar, is the finest example of Indo-Islamic architecture with Persian influences. Built by 5th Sultan Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, this monument was constructed to commemorate the end of the plague. In Urdu, “Char” means four, and “Minar” means tower. Each tower has 149 steps with 12 landings. Each arch of the Charminar opens up to different streets. Thus, these roads reflect the culture and history of the city of Hyderabad. It was built at the intersection of the historical trade route connecting the markets of Golkonda with the port city of Machilipatnam. Indeed, it is a sight to see at night.
2) Golkonda Fort
The Golkonda fort is an epitome of the “Nawabi” culture. Also called as the “Shepherd’s Hill”, it is one of the most beautiful and elegant monuments of Hyderabad. The Golkonda fort is commonly known for its diamond market. It contributed some of the well known diamonds to the world such as the Kohinoor. The fort is widely appreciated for its architecture ,and is a classic example of style at its finest. It is full of grandeur ,and is one place that cannot be missed from your things to see.
3) Hyderabadi Biryani
Biryani is an evergreen classic that is known to all.Perfectly cooked meat and rice combined with the aromatic and exotic spices, it is sure to give you an experience that you will cherish for a long time. The Nizams of Hyderabad were famous and widely appreciated for their nuances of biryani. The preparation of biryani requires precision and technique. When cooked well, it can be paired with mirchi ka salan, Raita, and bhagare baigan. Doesn’t this make your mouth water and make you feel hungry?
4) Chowmahalla Palace
The next stop on this colossal journey is the Chowmahalla Palace. A luxurious 18th century palace, the Chowmahalla palace emanates finesse at its greatest from white marble floors to its glistening Belgian-crystal chandeliers. The palace was once the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, and a place where the Nizams banqueted their royal guests. The name “Chowmahalla” means 4 palaces. The opulent dwelling has 4 garden courtyards, which contribute to its name. The palace is an exhibition of various artefacts of the Nizami life and culture, and also contains the 1911 yellow Rolls Royce.
5) Makkah Masjid
Considered to be one of the largest mosques in India and the world, the Mecca Masjid, also known as Makkah Masjid, is an epitome of the Muslim culture. It is a popular tourist attraction not only to devotees but also to everyone. Composed of 15 intricately designed arches with baroque engraving of verses of the Quran, the Mecca Masjid replicates the culture and style of the Qutub Shahi dynasty through its architecture and decorations. A fine example of this is the cornices along with the floral motifs throughout the mosque. Beautifully constructed, this mosque is a symbol of spirituality and calmness.
6) Salar Jung Museum
As we know, India is an accumulation of various cultural influences from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. To commemorate the ethnic diversities that make up India, the Salar Jung Museum was established. Considered to be one of India’s three National Museums, this museum displays the antique collection of Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, and stands as one of the largest antique collections owned by one man. The museum is home to the rarest of antique from exquisite paintings to dazzling jewels. A place full of rich history and culture, this is a destination that will leave you enchanted about the unknown treasures of India.
7) Laad Bazar
Every place you visit, it is necessary to collect a souvenir which serves as a memory. The Laad Bazar is one of the oldest markets of Hyderabad. Derived its name from the word “Lacquer”,the bazaar is home to delicate and attractive bangles and other accessories. The Laad Bazaar is located on one of the four roads that branch off Charminar. The bazaar is a place where one can find artificial jewellery, silverware, saris, paintings, spices, perfumes etc. If you are on a shopping spree, the Laad Bazar is the perfect place for you.
8) Birla Mandir
It is one of the top temples of Hyderabad which is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara of Tirumala Tirupati Temple, and is entirely composed of white marble, which was brought in from Rajasthan. As it is located on the top of a hill, commonly known as Naubat Pahad, the temple is palatial, and is a picturesque view to every passerby. The temple is a combination of both North and South Indian cultures. The temple tower or the “Gopuram” depicts the prominent features of South Indian temples, and the Jagadananda Vimanam built on top of the sanctum resembles the Oriya style of temple architecture. The temple is a beautiful and magnificent resemblance of Hindu culture.
9) Khubani Ka Meetha
Like all cultures’ dishes are incomplete without a signature sweet dish, no Hyderabadi meal is complete without the acclaimed delicacy : Khubani Ka Meetha. Freshly picked apricots mixed with sugar, garnished with a dollop of fresh cream, this is a dish which will be cherished for a very long time. This sure is the perfect and delicious way to end a meal.
10) Double Ka Meetha
Another flavourful dessert, this is popular during Ramzan. Double ka Meetha or Bread ka Meetha is one dessert which is cooked in every household. The luscious combination of freshly baked bread with milk and sugar, and garnished with exotic dry fruits creates a whole new experience. A rich piece of culture in every bite is the perfect way to describe this delicacy.
11) Ramoji Film City
This is one of the largest and glamorous film studios in the world. It serves as a major film making facility, and is one of the favourite spots for many filmmakers as it includes beautiful and luxurious sets including Japanese gardens, London streets, airports, hospital, railway station etc. The opulent studio includes a bird and botanical park for nature lovers. Indeed, it is a beautiful and wonderful experience for every individual as it has something for everyone from children to adults.
12) Qutub Shahi Tombs
This is another example of the rich history of Hyderabad. These tombs are a collection of 7 tombs belonging to the 7 out of 8 rulers of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Known to be one of the oldest monuments of Hyderabad, they enrapture visitors with architectural precision and excellence, displaying a beautiful marriage between Indian and Persian influences. One of the most important tombs is that of Sultan Quli Qutub-ul-Mulk, who is the founder of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty. Shaped in a dome, mounted on a cubical bases with exquisite ornamentation, the structural beauty of these tombs still attracts many visitors from around the world today.
13) Hussain Sagar
Situated just 2 km away from the main city, Hussain Sagar is one of the notable destinations in Hyderabad. Serving as an interlink between the twin cities, Hyderabad and Secunderabad, this lake is considered to be of the largest artificial lakes in Asia. Bordered by Indira Park to the east, Sanjeevaiah Park to the north, and Lumbini Park to the south, the lake displays a rare setting in the middle of a busy city. In the middle of the lake, one can find a huge statue of Lord Buddha composed of white granite and situated on the “Rock of Gibraltar”. This is a wonderful and scenic sight to see, especially at night. Furthermore, the lake offers something for all age groups from boating, parasailing, water skiing etc. Overall, cruising at the lake makes the visit more enjoyable and pleasant.
In today’s bustling and fast-paced city, it is necessary to come and give value to our traditions and culture, as it is an integral part of who we are. That’s exactly what Shilparamam is: a rural set-up to give you the ethnic and traditional experience amidst the busy life. Shilparamam is an exhibition of traditional village art and handicrafts which serves as a tribute to the craftsmen of Telangana. The verdant and ornate Shilparamam sculpted with woodwork, clothes, jewellery and local crafts that date back to each region of the country, showcases a plethora of artistic ethos. It is indeed a manifestation of the diverse tribal and local culture of Hyderabad.
15) Nehru Zoological Park
If you are a nature and animal lover, this is the perfect place for you. The Nehru Zoological Park, named after the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, is home to an extensive and diverse range of flora and fauna. The special trait of this zoo is that it is one place where open enclosures are established in order to replicate the natural and serene habitat of the animals. A vivid and picturesque experience, the zoo serves as an excellent photography spot especially for wildlife photographs.
16) Lumbini Park
Situated near Hussain Sagar, Lumbini Park is named after the birth place of Lord Buddha. The park is a famous tourist attraction spot. The park is constructed over 3 hectares of land. Boating is one of the prominent activity to do in the park. There are various fun rides for kids and is a great place for family and kids. There is a multimedia fountain installed in the park that plays spectacular animations daily for the audience. The show features various historical and cultural elements of the city with amazing animations and sound.
17) Paigah Tombs
Paigah Tombs also known as Maqhbara Shams al-Umara are one of the major wonders of Hyderabad. The tombs belong to the Paigah Family who were the loyalist of the Nizams. The tombs have intricate carvings and beautiful floral designs and the tombs are 200 year old. The tombs are made in Indo-Islamic architecture style with combination of Rajputana and Asaf Jahi style, infact the decor includes Persian and Deccan style too. The tombs will surely make you startled after you look at the exotic designs and patterns carved.
18) Taramati Baradari
Situated at Ibrahim Bagh, The Taramati Baradari is popularly related with the romantic story of the Sultan of Golkonda Abdullah Qutb Shah and the Courtesan. It is believed that the Sultan has named the Baradari after his favourite courtesan Taramati who was a Kuchipudi Dancer. The Baradari has an open air auditorium with a capacity of 1600 people and a theater with capacity of 500 people. There are restaurants that offer you variety of international and national cuisines.
19) Maula Ali Dargah
Located on the top of the dome shaped Moula Ali hill in Hyderabad, The dargah was built by Sultan Ibrahim Qutb Shah. It is the only Dargah dedicated to the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, Maula Ali. There are 400 stairs to reach the Dargah. The Dargah attracts a lot of pilgrims and tourists every year. It is also among the 11 heritage sites in Hyderabad declared by the Heritage Conservation Committee of HUDA.
20) Mount Opera
One of the most famous theme park of Hyderabad , Mount Opera attracts a lot of people especially kids and families. The park is constructed on over 55 acres of land and is located at the top of hill. The park has a lot of thrilling rides including boat rides and rain dance. There is an open theater that is used for organizing various events for children such as skits. There are various restaurants and dhabas where you can munch on after enjoying in the park.
21) Chilkur Balaji Temple
Located on the banks of Osman Sagar Lake, the Chilkur Balaji Temple is one of the oldest temple in Hyderabad. It was built over 500 years ago and the temple is dedicated to the deity of Lord Balaji Venkateswara with along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi. It is believed that the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled here and that is why the temple witnesses huge amount of pilgrims. Live talks are held, mantras are chanted to motivate the devotees and provide a positive and peaceful atmosphere.