Royal, rustic, romantic are just a few terms to describe Hyderabad, but one has to be present here to truly experience the exotic enchantment of this historic city.
The piercing calls of the muezzins from the minarets of mosques. The peal of temple bells accompanied by smells of incense. The mesmerizing fragrance of musky Attars (perfumes). Appetizing aromas from Tandoors (ovens), Dekchis (huge pots) and brewing Irani Chai (tea).
Teeming crowds flowing in and out of twisting, narrow by lanes. Hyderabad, the vibrant rainbow of cultures and potpourri of faiths, is unique and glorious.
Hyderabad – the territory of the richest man in the world, the Nizam, is also rich in history, arts, architecture and culture. Like the Kohinoor diamond which was mined here, the city is multi-faceted and a shining example of valued traditions. More than 400 years of history is preserved and exists along with the ultra modern infrastructure. Known as the City of Pearls, it is now globally famous as an IT hub. Enigmatic, vibrant and alluring, Hyderabad has a mystic charm attached to the various historic monuments, mosques, minarets and museums, which abound here.
Founded in 1591, the history of Hyderabad is rooted in romance. Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah of the Qutub Shahi dynasty fell in love with Bhagyamati, a Banjara (tribal) girl and married her. Initially the city was called Bhagyanagar, but after her conversion to Islam she became Hyder Mahal, hence the present name Hyderabad.
The Qutub Shahi kingdom, which took over the rule of Hyderabad (1512) from the Bahamani kings, was followed by the Mughal rule (1687) under Aurangazeeb. After the fall of the Mughal Empire, the Asaf Jahi kingdom came into power under Asaf Jahi who established the Nizam lineage. By this, the power of the Deccan kingdom grew in strength and area. The Nizams became amongst the richest rulers in the world. The different dynasties along with British influence added variety to the culture and cuisine of the region.
To the modern tourist, Hyderabad offers unrivalled excitement and excellent entertainment that includes Heritage, Nature, Wildlife, Cultural and Shopping sites. A seamless 360 degrees of activity makes time fly yet the aura of timelessness lends tranquility to the ambience.
The hospitality at Hyderabad is unmatched and the laid-back “Nawabi” style of living is totally relaxing. The range of yummy foods, the availability of various types of accommodation, the plethora of places to visit, astounding and affordable shopping options offering pearls, gems, handicrafts, fabrics, garments, branded merchandise and the different colours of culture & festivals make Hyderabad one of the most memorable tourist destinations.
Built in 1591 by Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah as a talisman to stop a deadly epidemic, the Charminar offers a panoramic view of the city from its four (char) minarets that are about 49 m high.
This mascot of the city was built, in an Arabic style of architecture, with lime and mortar. Within the Charminar is a mosque. A temple is at the base of one of its minars.
(2) Golconda Fort:
Originally a mud fort founded by the Kakatiya Kings of Warangal during the 13th century, Golconda attained glory under the Qutub Shahi dynasty (1518 to 1687). This is where the priceless Kohinoor diamond was found. One of the famous forts of India, an added attraction here is an enchanting sound & light show in the evenings. The newest attraction is the GPS video tour, 1st of its kind in the country. It brings alive the vivid image of the history and times of the glorious era. By taking the tour you not only have access to credible information authenticated by historians but also get to witness historic recreation of mega events and festivals, visuals of cordoned areas. In short, you literally ‘live through the time’
(3) Mecca Masjid:
Mecca Masjid owes its name to the presence of the bricks in the structure, which were brought from the holy city of Mecca. The second largest mosque in the country, it has within its periphery the graves of the families of Asaf Jahi kings. The stately architecture consists of single slab granite columns and five arches each on three sides. Construction started under the Qutub Shahi kings but was completed.
(4) Qutub Shahi Tombs:
Nowhere in history has an entire dynasty of rulers, been buried at a single site other than the Qutub Shahi Tombs. Just a km away from the Golconda Fort, the tombs were designed and commissioned by the Qutub Shahi rulers themselves.
Built in an Indo-Persian style, the structures have a square base with domes that have pointed arches.
(5) Osmania University:
Indo-Saracenic in style with huge Moorish arches, the main block, the Arts College of Osmania University, is an amazing structure. The premier University of the state and one of the oldest (1918) in the country. The institution has been named after Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan. With flowing lawns and a picturesque landscape garden, the campus is surrounded by various colleges dedicated to different streams of education. A large library is housed in a stately building.
(6) High Court:
Designed by Vincent Esch a British architect in a Mughal style, this stately structure was built in 1916, opposite the Osmania Hospital with the Musi River flowing in between. The red sandstone used gives it a solid indomitable appearance.
(7) The Nizam’s Museum:
A collection of the memorabilia, mementos and gifts presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee Celebration are housed in the Nizam’s Museum. It’s located in the Purani Haveli, a 250 years old palace. The collection consists of the gold burnished throne used during the Silver Jubilee in 1937, gold model of the Jubilee Pavilion, a golden Tiffin box studded with precious stones and an excellent filigree of a mahout atop an elephant. Also on display are silver models of all the prominent buildings and 3 vintage cars, a 1930 Rolls Royce, a Packard, a Mark V Jaguar and various other antiques.
(8) Salar Jung Museum:
The envy of global collectors, a treasure house of antiques and an amazing display of art – the Salar Jung Museum is the largest single man collection in the world. Compiled by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, the collection is mind boggling not only in number but also in the variety of items. Some of the unique items are, the Veiled Rebecca, Marguerite& Mephistopheles (a two sided sculpture), the Sword of Aurangazeeb, gem studded daggers of Emperors Jahangir & Shah Jahan and Queen Noor Jahan, etc.
(9) Andhra Pradesh State Museum:
Predominantly consisting of a collection of Heritage and Historic significance, this museum contains a Buddhist gallery, Brahminical & Jain gallery, Ajanta gallery, Arms & Armoury gallery, Numismatics gallery, antiques, art objects, etc. This museum is adjacent to the Contemporary Art Museum, both are located in the Public Gardens.
(10) Legislative Assembly:
Sparkling white, with a combination of Rajasthani and Persian architectural designs, the Legislative Assembly complex, is located beside the emerald green lawns of the Public Gardens. Originally known as the Hyderabad State Town Hall and built in 1913, the only addition has been the imposing bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi.
(11) Birla Planetarium / Birla Science Museum:
Perched atop the Naubat Pahad, overlooking the Legislative Assembly, the Birla Planetarium is a favourite amongst lovers of astronomy. Equipped with advanced Japanese technology, the planetarium is the most modern and first of its kind in India. Adjoining the planetarium is the Science Museum, which showcases India’s growing science and technological advancements.
(12) HITEC City:
The modern technology hub of Hyderabad, a zone for IT/ITES MNCs, HITEC City is situated at Cyberabad. This area with its towering, spacious office spaces is the face of modern Hyderabad.
(13) Chow Mohalla Palace:
‘Chow’ means 4 in Urdu, signifying the number of palaces that are designed in Mogul and European styles of architecture. Built between 1857-1869 in several phases by the Nizams, these palaces offer a glimpse of the royal lifestyles. Three of these palaces are single storeyed whilst the main palace is a double storeyed structure.
(14) Paigah Tombs:
A stunning fusion of Islamic & Rajputana styles of architecture with hints of Persian, Turkish and Greek art forms, these are the tombs of the several generations of the Paigah nobles. Located at Pisalbanda on the outskirts of the Hyderabad, these structures, spread over 30 acres, are unique specimens of extraordinary workmanship that is clearly visible in the wonderfully inlaid mosaic work and is compared to the Taj Mahal for the sheer splendour of artistry in white marble.
(15) Raymonds Tomb:
General Michel Joachim Marie Raymond served as the Commander for the 19,000 strong Nizams army. Having come to Hyderabad in 1786 A.D, he was greatly admired for his gallantry. This tomb was built after his death in 1798, on a hillock at Saroonagar.
(16) City College:
Located near the Muslim Jung Bridge across River Musi, this college was built by the Nizam VII in 1929. With more than 100 rooms and several spacious verandas, this 2 storeyed structure has identical facades on both the Eastern and Western sides. The ‘Greater Hall’ here can accommodate 1000 people.
(17) Asman Garh Palace:
Built in 1885 by the Paigah noble Sir Asman Jah, this palace derived its name Asman (sky) Ghar home, because of it being located at a height on a hillock. This castle like structure with granite turrets and arched windows has been designed in the Gothic style of architecture, and at present houses an archaeological museum.