HYDERABAD TOURISM GUIDE
Map: Hyderabad Tourism, Andhra Pradesh, India
Location of Hyderabad : On The Deccan Plateau And Musi River, Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad is Famous For: Bangles, Minarets, Pearl Bazaar And Hyderabadi Cuisine
Recently Called: Second Silicon Valley in India
Importance: Capital City of Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad – Pride of Deccan
Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh is a bustling 400-year-old metropolis with an urban population of 4.2 million people approximately. Hyderabad is located on the Deccan Plateau and the Musi River, 650m above sea level. The physiography of Hyderabad is dominated by hills, tanks, forests, and rock formations.
Hyderabad – The City Of Two Aspects
The city is cosmopolitan, and is richly endowed with a variety of cultures. While Muslim people are concentrated more towards the old city like Charminar, Secunderabad has got a more contemporary look with a concentration of Anglo-Indians. The city of Hyderabad presents an attractive amalgam of old world charm together with the ebullience of growth and enterprise. Beautiful old edifices built in the medieval, Mughal, Colonial and Indo-Saracenic styles abound, rubbing shoulders with large glass and chrome temples of commerce.
The History of Hyderabad :
The history of Hyderabad begins with the establishment of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Quli Qutub Shah seized the reins of power from the Bahamani kingdom in 1512 and established the fortress city of Golconda. Inadequacy of water, and frequent epidemics of plaque and cholera persuaded Mohammad, the fifth Quli Qutub Shahi ruler to venture outward to establish the new city with the Charminar as its center and with four great roads fanning out in the four cardinal directions. Hyderabad’s fame, strategic location and Golconda’s legendary wealth attracted Aurangazeb who captured Golconda after a long siege in 1687. After this defeat the importance of Hyderabad declined and the city fell into partial ruin.
As the Mughal Empire decayed and began to disintegrate, the viceroy, Asaf Jah I proclaimed himself the Nizam and established independent rule of the Deccan. Hyderabad once again became a major capital city, ruled by successive Nizams of the Asaf Jah dynasty until the state was merged into the Indian Union in 1948.
Making Of The Twin City – Secunderabad
In 1798, a subsidiary alliance for military and political cooperation was signed between the Nizam and the British East India Company. Thereafter an area north of what is now the Hussain Sagar Lake was established as a cantonment. The area was named Secunderabad after the then Nizam, Sikander Jah. Both Hyderabad and Secunderabad grew together and have now merged. An imaginary line drawn across the Tank bund is still used to distinguish the two cities.
The Pearl City Of India
The city of Hyderabad is famous for its minarets and its pearl bazaar. Pearls from all over the world are said to come to Hyderabad because the artisans here are skilled in piercing and stringing pearls without damaging them. The city’s gypsy tribes called ‘Lambadas’ and ‘Banjaras’ are known throughout the country for their colourful costumes and Hyderabadi cuisine is much sought after.
Hyderabad is called as the second Silicon Valley in India after Bangalore. Hyderabad has a Software Technology Park with leading industries like Intergraph, UUNET, TCS, Wipro, Baan, Satyam, Park International, etc.
Hyderabad’s 400-year-old culinary history, like its culture, is unmatched by any other state in India. In fact Hyderabad was known for the spectacular way its aristocracy entertained. Of all the Muslim cuisine, Hyderabadi is the only cuisine of the sub-continent that can boast of a major vegetarian element. This has much to do with the local influences. Considering that the elite of the erstwhile Hyderabad state came from the north of India and was almost entirely Muslim, this is a little surprising. The nation’s vegetarians, of course, stand to gain by it.
Some of the salient features of Hyderabadi food are the key flavours of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. The key spice is chilli, which is used in abundance and is the reason for the sobriquet “Dynamite Food”. Other culinary delights of Hyderabad include ‘Gosht’, which is kid or baby goat, and is more or less, synonymous with Hyderabadi food. ‘Murgh’, which is chicken, is the second favourite. When it comes to gosht, Hyderabadis prize the meat of the male goat.
INFORMATIONS ON HYDERABAD IN ANDHRA PRADESH
HYDERABAD TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
Charminar is a majestic architectural monument standing at the heart of the old city of Hyderabad, built by Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah in 1591 supposedly to commemorate the eradication of plague from Hyderabad.
Mecca Masjid is one of the largest mosques in India accommodating upto 10,000 worshippers. This is the biggest mosque in Hyderabad and lies within hundred yards to the southwest of Charminar. The constructions of this mosque was started by Sultan Muhammad Qutub Shah, the work continued during the reign of Abdullah Qutub Shah and Abul Hassan Tana Shah and was completed in 1694 by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Golconda fort is a majestic monument, which lies on the western outskirts of Hyderabad city. It speaks of a great cultural heritage of 400 years and is regarded as a place worth visiting.
Salar Jung Museum
The Salar Jung Museum is the largest one-man collection of antiques in the world. The museum exhibits over 35,000 objects of art like Chinese Porcelain, Aurangazeb’s Sword, and Daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jehan, Emperor Jahangir & Shah Jahan, Sculpture, Indian paintings & Persian carpets. Some of the highlights are the Veiled Rebecca, the translucent white marble statue by Bezoni, the Arms section, The Jade section & the Oriental Section.
Hussain Sagar is a large lake in the midst of the city and was constructed in 1562 AD. Also known as Tank Bund, it connects the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Built in the 16th century the lake was named to express the gratitude of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah to Hussain Shah Wali, who helped him to recover from illness.
The Jama Masjid is the oldest mosque in Hyderabad and is located at a few meters away from Charminar, in Hyderabad. Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah built it in the year 1597, after the completion of Charminar.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Joseph is located in the Gun foundry area and is perhaps the most beautiful in the twin cities.
St. Mary’s Church
St Mary’s Church is a famous church located in S. D. road, Secunderabad. Mother Mary is worshipped here.
Birla Mandir is a beautiful modern temple overlooking the south end of Hussain Sagar, in Hyderabad. It provides an excellent view over the city from the summit. This magnificent structure built entirely out of marble from Rajasthan, stands atop the ‘Kala Pahad’, the twin hillock of ‘Naubat Pahad’. Built by Birla foundation over a span of ten years, the main temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara or Venkateswara.
Located in the heart of Hyderabad city, on the panoramic hillock of Naubat Pahad, the Birla Planetarium is a tribute to the advances made in science and technology since the dawn of civilization. Late Mr. N.T. Rama Rao opened this beautiful dome shaped architecture, on 8th September 1985.
Falaknuma Palace (Star of Heaven)
The palace is one of the most magnificent of its kind in the country. Built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra Bahadur, it is located atop a 650m high hill, about 5-km from Charminar.
Hi Tech City
Hyderabad has been developed as a destination for Software Companies. The Hi Tech City, at the city outskirts, is been developed to create a favorable climate for these companies.
It is a beautiful Mughal-style building laid out along the Musi River near Afzal Gunj Bridge. Built in 1916 of local pink granite with red sand stone carved panels and columns at an estimated cost of 2 million rupees, it is perhaps the most striking work of the British architect Vincent Esch.
Qutub Shahi Tombs
About a kilometre from the Golconda fort are the tombs of the Qutub Shahi rulers. The tombs are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches. The galleries of the smaller tombs are of a single storey while the larger ones are usually two-storied. In the centre of each tomb is a sarcophagus, which overlies the actual burial vault in a crypt below. The domes were originally overlaid with blue and green tiles, of which now only a few pieces remain. It is open daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. Closed on Fridays.
Situated at Santoshnagar, these tombs belong to the ‘Paigah’ nobles (tied by blood and marriage to the Nizams) and are about 200 years old. These unique lime and mortar tombs are beautifully carved and have marble inlay work on them.
Chote Hazrat Ki Dargah
Chote Hazrat ki Dargah is situated inside Devan Devadi, in Hyderabad. Climbing 400 and more stairs takes you to a place of worship built during the period of the Asif Jahis. The row of arches on the hill leading to the top is a wonderful sight. The Dargah or mortuary was built in the memory of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of prophet Muhammad.
Michel Raymond, a French mercenary, was a military commander in the service of the IInd Nizam and also his close friend. His tomb lies in Saroornagar off the Vijayawada road about 3-km from the Eliphant Bridge, in east Hyderabad. A commemorative ‘Urs’ fair is held every year at his tomb, which is 7m high, made of black granite bearing the initials JR.
Sanjeevaiah Park is a major recreation centre located next to Hussain Sagar, at the end of Necklace Road, in Hyderabad. It is named after the former President of India, Mr. Neelam Sanjeev Reddy. It houses a rose garden, rock garden and a floral clock.
Indira Park, a recreation park for children situated near lower Tank Bund, Hyderabad. It is named after the former Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. It is one of the oldest parks in the twin cities.
A couple of small rocky hillocks in the middle of Hyderabad beside the Hussain Sagar Lake are known as Naubat pahad and Kala pahad. (‘Pahad’ means hill and ‘Naubat’ means drum). It is said that the Mughals used to beat large drums to announce official proclamations from Naubat Pahad.
The Public Gardens are the largest gardens in the city. Within it’s premises are a number of important public buildings including the State Legislative Assembly, State Archaeological Museum, Jubilee Hall, Jawahar Bal Bhavan and Telugu Lalita Kala Thoranam – an open air theatre.
Nehru Zoological Park
Nehru Zoological Park is one of the biggest zoos in Asia with over 250 species. The lion safari park, natural history museum, pre-historical animals park, nocturnal birds, a children park with a train ride are other impressive sights. It’s special sections and amusement facilities are a popular draw.
FESTIVALS OF HYDERABAD
Shilparamam has become internationally famous for the Annual Crafts Festival that is being organised in the first two weeks of March every year since 1995. Lumbini festival is organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, in Nagarjunasagar and Hyderabad for three days from the 2nd Friday of December every year. Bonalu, Batkamma, Dasara, Ugadi, Ramzan, Sankranti are the major festivals celebrated in Hyderabad.
HYDERABAD EXCURSIONS / NEARBY ATTRACTIONS
Ramoji Film City
It is one of the most comprehensive and professionally planned film production centre in the world. Located at an hour’s distance from Hyderabad, it is spread over an area of more than 1000 acres. The place is popular among various film circles in the world not only for its visual feast but also for its multimedia and editing suit techniques.
Shilparamam is a crafts village at Madhapur, set amidst lovely rocks, rippling waterfalls and gorgeous lawns, about 14-km from Hyderabad. It was conceived over seven years ago with a determination to change the prevailing pursuit of culture as a leisure-time activity. It plays host to myriad traditions of arts and crafts of India.
20-km away from the center of Hyderabad is Osman Sagar. Popularly known as ‘Gandipet’, it is an excellent picnic spot with well-laid gardens.The major attractions of the place are the lake, the parks, and a road that gives a proper view of the lake from above.
22-km from Hyderabad, Himayat Sagar is a small tank named after Nizam VII’s eldest son, Himayat Ali Khan. It is parallel to Osman Sagar Lake, which is popularly known as Gandipet.
Near to Gandipet in Hyderabad is Elles World. It is an amusement park, the first of its kind in Hyderabad. Elles World offers several fun rides for Kids and Adults.
Located at Gandipet in Hyderabad, Ocean Park is one of the first theme parks started in the twin-cities. It is a unique amusement park for the entire family and has attractions like a kiddie’s pool, a 60ft high ride, the Slam Bomb, bumping cars and dry rides for people of all ages.
Treasure Island is a perfect vacation spot located at Gandipet, about 16-km from Hyderabad. Lush green trees, wide-open spaces, and humble cottages speak of the simple joys of holidaying. One can discover the beauty of spending time gracefully.
Mir Alam Tank
Mir Alam tank or Mir Sagar as it is sometimes called, is a large lake adjacent to the Nehru Zoological Park, in Hyderabad. It was once the major source of piped water supply to the city. Built by and named after Mir Alam, (Prime Minister of Hyderabad 1804-1808) this tank is a unique piece of engineering with a mile-long bund formed by 21 arches. Construction started on 25th July 1804 and was completed on 8th June 1806.
Located about 25-km from the heart of Hyderabad city is the picturesque Sanghi Nagar, an industrial suburb. Seen from several kilometres away is the Sanghi Temple complex with its 15ft tall sacred Raja Gopuram.
In the northerly direction from the city of Secunderabad is the Shamirpet Lake. It is a combination of a water reserve and a deer park where several species of deer can be seen in their natural habitat. An ideal spot for a picnic, with lush vegetation and a large water reserve makes Shamirpet worth visiting.
An Ethnic Rajasthani Village at Kompally on Medchal Highway, just 11-km away from Secunderabad. Visitors can experience the true Rajasthani life style. In the evening the whole village is lit up with 2,000 lanterns and village fair goes on with complete zest. Boating, Camel/Horse ride, Puppet show, Rajasthani folk, music and dances along with Disco and Rain dance, and swimming pool are the main attractions here. It is also the corporate suitable structure with the floating public of nearly 550/600 per day and in the weekend up to 1,000 and above.
The famous Shrine of Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswami stands on the Yadagirigutta hill, in Nalgonda district, about 64-km from Hyderabad. Yadagiri has become a place for picnics, for the devotees residing in Hyderabad. Many people come here to spend a day or two on the top of the hill to enjoy the scenarios and drink and dip in the fountain of sanctity, which the hill offers.
SHOPPING AT HYDERABAD
Bangle Shopping In Lad Bazaar
The street leading from Charminar to the square on the west called the ‘Chowk’ is known as Lad Bazaar. One of the oldest shopping centres in the city, the Lad Bazaar is an amazing mix of the ancient and the modern – an embodiment of Hyderabad. Indeed, there is no better place in the city for the lady to indulge herself.
Lad Bazaar is said to have been founded by Ladli Begum, the wife of Mir Mehboob Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad. Yet, another version has it that it was called Lord’s Bazaar or the bazaar meant for nobility. Lad Bazaar is a later day evolution of the same name.
The Bridal Treasures at Hyderabad
Known as the ‘Bridal Bazaar of Hyderabad’, Lad Bazaar is truly a treasure trove of charming articles of beauty and utility that has a lot to offer to every visitor. It’s shops offer a mixed bag of henna, bridal wear and cosmetics. But the real draw is the exquisite range of stone studded lac and glass bangles, the pride and joy of the women of Hyderabad.
Buy glass bangles in the traditional jewel-like colours of red, blue and green, or in the more modern hues of orange, pink and mauve. One can also get glass bangles spangled with gold, or Hyderabad’s specialty the shellac bangles crusted with semi-precious stones and tiny bits of mirror or gems. These bangles studded with stones and glass glitter in the daylight and allure many women into purchasing them. The entire street jostles with carts of colourful lac bangles.
Festive Season Galore at Hyderabad
During the Ramzan season, the bazaar is at its festive best at night with the area surrounding Charminar well lit and full of bustle. People are out shopping during late hours of the evening and it continues very late in the night, especially during the last days of Ramzan. The shopping goes on amidst traffic congestion and wafting fragrance of perfumes (‘Athar’), fine aroma of hot-spiced kababs and spicy tea and the flutter of the feathered friends in the bird market behind. A walk through this bazaar is an exhilarating experience with its rich riot of colours.
Bargain to get your favourite varieties at even half the originally quoted price. The Mehboob Chowk, a torpid looking quadrangle with an imposing tower in the middle marks the end of Lad Bazaar.
The Pearl Specialty
Hyderabad is synonymous with pearls. Cultured pearls studded in gold and silver jewellery of exquisite design are a specialty. A cultured pearl strand is must-have in every woman’s jewellery wardrobe and can be worn with everything from a business suit to a cocktail dress to jeans. Shopping for pearls in Hyderabad can be easy and even enjoyable. Areas like Abids and Basheerbagh are flooded with pearl shops.
Prime Shoppers Stops of Hyderabad
One can also shop gold-coated articles, cosmetics, and crockery. Black metal ware and wood crafted articles, which are sold in Lad Bazaar, are designed and made here. The highly praised heavily sequined skirts, bags and belts set with sparkling mirrors and tiny beads of ‘Banjara’ gypsies is yet, another attraction here.
Charkaman and Mitti-Ka-Sher are the surrounding areas of famous for antique jewellery in ‘Kundan’ and enamel, old ‘Bidri’, beautiful tapestries, silver, crystal and pearls. Darushafa is well known for the tissue thin silver leafy sheets that are used to decorate Indian sweets and Bidriware.
One can find dye merchants, lacquer workers, silver smiths, all actively engaged in practicing their craft. The street echoes with the calls of pavement vendors selling bangles, hair-clips, dates, sweet meats, shoes, festive clothes, etc. It is amusing to watch young, good looking ‘burkha’-clad women coyly look away as the bangle sellers slip bangles on to their delicate wrists.
Of course, if one talks about buying pearls, Charminar is the best place. There is an entire street which only comprises of pearl shops named – Patther Gatti. Lad Bazaar also has good number of pearl shops, known for their vividness and exquisite quality. Suraj Bhan Jewellers, Basheerbagh; Jagadamba Pearls (Basheerbagh and Secunderabad); Mangatrai Pearls, Basheerbagh; are some of the shops which have exclusive sections for pearls. Secunderabad too has its share of pearl shops.
Natural and cultured pearls can be bought in a variety of sizes and qualities at fairly reasonable prices. The price for natural pearls ranges from Rs 20 per gram to Rs 80 depending on the quality. A good string can cost from Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 and more. Pink and grey natural pearls and cultured pearls are a little more expensive. Besides, if one has the uncanny knack of bargaining, Hyderabad is the best bet.
HYDERABAD PEARLS – CITY OF PEARLS
The city of Hyderabad is known for its minarets and its pearl bazaar. Hyderabad pearls have long been cherished and famed for their quality and lustre. Mention the name of pearls to anyone in the jewellery trade in India and the name that pops up to mind is Hyderabad. The city is a one-stop-destination for the rare, luminescent, soft, tear drop pearls. Wide range, price and superior quality are some of the factors, which make the city a true pearls paradise. From cultured pearls to the rare ‘Basra’, the city has all of them.
A Royal Heritage
The pearl trade was prospered here for centuries under the royal patronage of the Qutub Shahi kings and the Asaf Jahis. Legend has it that pearls were showered on the people by the kings at the time of ceremonies as gifts. The affluent lifestyle beckoned many a craftsman from distant parts of the world, especially the Arabian Gulf where the rare original pearls are found in abundance. Hence, Hyderabad became the one-stop-destination for pearls.
In Chandanpet village situated just outside Hyderabad, almost the entire population is engaged in the delicate art of drilling pearls. They have practiced this skill for generations, making Hyderabad one of the largest drilling centres in India. Once the pearls are drilled, they are boiled for about four days to bleach them and rid them of their dark.
Pearls originally come in different colours and hues, and are then bleached white or a shade of cream. Silver, black, gold and pinks are also gaining increasing interest. In fact, a deep lustrous black pearl is one of the more rare finds in the pearl industry, and so are expensive. The real Basra pearls (come from Persian gulf) are also available, but only with bigger merchants dealing exclusively in pearls.
There are three types of pearls, Natural, cultured and imitation-
Pearl’s made without man’s assistance. Natural pearls have become so rare and expensive, that for the vast majority of people cultured pearls are the only option.
Cultured pearls are those that come from an oyster that dies after the pearl is removed. They tend to have a larger core or nucleus.
In most cases, a glass bead is dipped into a solution made from fish scales. This coating is thin and may eventually wear off. One can usually tell an imitation by biting on it. Fake pearls glide across your teeth, while the layers of nacre on real pearls feel gritty.
Lustre and size are generally considered to be the two major factors that determine a pearl’s worth. Lustre for instance, depends on the fineness and evenness of the layers. The deeper the glow, the more perfect the shape and surface, the more valuable they are. Size on the other hand, has to do with the age of the oyster that created the pearl (the more mature oysters produce larger pearls) and the location in which the pearl was cultured.
A good quality white pearl reflects a lovely sky blue colour under ultraviolet light, while a poor quality one has a greenish or mustardish sheen. Black pearls that have a green sheen and baroque (irregular shaped) pearls that reflect a rainbow of colours are also amongst the more valuable varieties.
HYDERABAD PALACES – A CITY OF PALACES
Hyderabad is to cities what Taj Mahal is to buildings – a monument to love. Its founder, Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah founded the fabulous city in 1591 and named it after his beloved, Bhagmati. Royalty has always been an integral part of Hyderabad. So it’s not surprising that amidst fourteen thousand shops, mosques and other buildings there were fourteen magnificent palaces. Some were even storey high and had roof gardens.
In 1687, the Mughal Emperor, Aurangazeb after his conquest of the Golconda, went around the city was struck by the height and grandeur of the palaces. This new dynasty founded by the Governor of the Mughals in 1724, was blessed by a hermit. And the last seven generations added to the palaces already existing. As a result, Hyderabad became renowned for its magnificent palaces.
The best place to start one’s royal journey is here. The first of the palaces was built to the south of the Charminar by Salabat Jung in 1756. Called Chowmahalla – the complex of four palaces, it is believed to be a replica of the Palace of the Emperor of Iran. In the north was the Darbar hall where the Nizam held state receptions. The British Viceroys were entertained here. The ministers and other dignitaries were received in the palace to the south. The Nizam’s personal estate and officers were located in the eastern palace. The Prince of Wales, who visited Hyderabad in 1921, described the enchanting gardens and palaces as a part of ‘Arabian Nights’.
There are a number of other smaller palaces in this complex, which have exhibits including all types of carts like monkey carts, donkey carts, camel carts, and other carts. And a dining table which can seat a 100 guests. So one can well imagine the kind of spread laid out.
Here’s an old palace with new touches. The Purani Haveli was acquired and improved upon by the second Nizam after his accession in 1762. Built in the European style, the central buildings were beautiful period furniture. Some other buildings were added to it later. The fifth, sixth and seventh Nizams were born here.
Meet a dandy – the sixth Nizam who lived here all his life. He was highly fashion conscious and never wore the same dress twice. He had a double storey, 73m, long wardrobe – the longest in the world. It was reached by a hand-operated lift.
Whims and fancies are a part of royalty. The last Nizam moved away from the old city when a newly built mansion by one Kamal Khan in the new city, caught his fancy. However, the initials of the owner ‘KK’ were inscribed on various parts of building, including the furniture. Instead of changing the initials, the Nizam named the palace as ‘King Kothi’ and lived there till his death in 1967. A must see on one’s royal tour.
PALACES OF THE NOBLES
What the dukes were to the royalty in England, the Paigahs were to the Nizams. The highest order of nobility, the Paigahs were the only family into which the Nizams intermarried. They also built numerous palaces. Presently, the two Paigah palaces have been partially converted into clubs – the Country Club and the Chiran Club. The palaces built by other nobles were called ‘Havelis’ or ‘Deodhis’. Malwala palaces were one of them.
Every traveller’s dream- the historic Falaknuma Palace stands on an elevated site about 4-kms north of the Charminar. It was built in the late 19th century by the Paigah, Nawab Viqar-ul-Umra. Walk into a palace, which is a masterpiece from start to finish. Designed by an Italian architect, the marble used was specially imported from Italy. It is said that the sixth Nizam, on a visit to the palace praised it. According to custom, it was promptly presented to him.
The breathtaking view and the priceless collection of paintings, Jade, statues and English furniture are pure magic. Nobody lower than the viceroys of India ever stayed there. And when the viceroys came to stay, the Nizam himself placed some of his diamonds as paperweights. Now a leading group of hotels are planning to turn it into a five-star hotel.
For those who want more of the royal experience, there are other important palaces, which include the Asmangarh Palace, Basheerbagh Palace, and Diwan Deodhi – Palace of the Salar Jung family.
Peep into the royal past. In the ‘Bella Vista’ there lived the most beautiful belle of her time – the daughter of the last Caliph of Turkey and the wife of the Crown Prince of Hyderabad.
The Paigah tombs are an excellent example of Indo Saracenic architecture. Built with lime and mortar, the tombs are beautifully decorated with marble inlay work. These tombs are truly a living testimony to the majesty of the past.
HILL FORT PALACE
Imagine staying in a hotel, which was once a palace. The hill fort palace was built in 1915 by one of the nobles of Hyderabad. To add to the romance, there’s a picturesque view of the Hussain Sagar Lake. The aura still remains, bringing out the poet in every traveller. This is little wonder because the junior prince who stayed here in the hill fort palace was a poet and his nocturnal courts have become quite a legend. His wife, the niece of the last Caliph was a famed beauty. Today, this hotel is being renovated and redesigned as a new heritage hotel.
The Nizams built Palaces and the nobles built Havelis and the British Built Residency’s. In 1798, the British resident requested the Nizam for a grant of some 60 acres of land for building his own residence. The resident presented a sketch of the area map on a large sheet of paper. Unfamiliar with the principle of scale, the Nizam thought that the resident was asking for his whole kingdom and rejected the request.
Again the resident prepared the plan on a paper the size of a visiting card. This time the Nizam granted the request readily and the resident built a magnificent mansion for himself. To top it all, the Resident married a local Muslim lady and built a special ‘Rang Mahal’ for her. The residency was considered the best British mansion in India – next only to the Governor-General’s Residence in Calcutta. At present the residency houses the University College for Women.
Among the smaller mansions there is the Bhagwan Das Pavilion, which is built entirely of wood on the pattern of Tipu Sultan’s Bungalow in Seringapatnam.
It is not only the palaces and havelis, which are distinctive. The majesty of the state is also reflected in a number of buildings built by the last Nizam in the early 20th century. It includes public buildings, the University, the High Court, the Osmania Hospital, Library and more. As one crosses the now tamed Musi River, which separates the old city from the new one, it’s like a transition from the medieval to the modern – a taste of two worlds in one city.
THE MOUNTAIN OF LIGHT
Get a glimpse of royal extravagance. The Koh-e-Noor (the mountain of light), diamond, which now adorns the royal British crown was mined here. Originally it weighed 765 carats. When it was first presented to the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1656, it was valued at 216,000 rupees. Besides that, the ‘Regent Diamond’ was also mined here. Originally weighing 410 carats, now it is only 137 carats and is kept in a museum in Paris. In addition, the ‘Nizam Diamond’ and the ‘Great Table’ also belonged to this area. When the sixth Nizam purchased the famous ‘Jacob Diamond’, he landed in a lawsuit.
The Nizams were impulsive buyers. They didn’t buy articles. They bought shops. One such wooden pavilion bought by the sixth Nizam from Burma can be seen at the entrance of the Falaknuma Palace.
And if one wants to indulge in shopping here’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Discover royal pearls, jade, and other exquisite jewelry, which will take one’s breath away.
HYDERABAD TOURIST INFORMATIONS
HOW TO REACH HYDRABAD
Hydrabad is an important centre in the air transport network of south India. There are flights in either direction between Hydrabad and Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Nagpur, and Vishakhapatnam. Hyderabad has an international airport too.
The twin cities of Hydrabad and Secunderabad are extensively covered by the railway network connected with Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai and other cities in India. Hydrabad is well connected by rail with all the important places within the state also. The city bus service operates from the railway station.
On the crossroads of National highways 7 and 9, Hydrabad is well connected. Buses of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation and Private buses operate to all centres in the region.
Local Transport at Hydrabad
Places in and around the city can be visited by joining the tours organised by the Andhra Pradesh Travel Tourism or by any other local mode of transport like buses run by State Transport Corporation, Taxis, and Auto rickshaws.
Hyderabad is fairly warm throughout the year and does not receive much rainfall in the monsoon. Temperatures do, however, marginally come down in winter and December nights are quite cool over here.
Though the climate is suitable for visit anytime of the year, the best season is between October-February. June to November are monsoon months and these months are loaded with rains and are accompanied by lovely weather. The temperature during summers is 42 degrees during summers and in winters it may fall to a minimum of 12 degrees.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
Hospitals in Hyderabad
Apollo Hospital, Jubilee Hills
CDR Hospital, Himayatnagar
Osmania Hospital, Afzalgunj
Gandhi Hospital, Secunderabad
Andhra Mahila Sabha, Vidyanagar
Cure Well, Lakdikapool
Government Tourism Offices in Hyderabad
Andhra Pradesh Travel & Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, Tank Bund Road.
Govt. Tourist Office, Chandra Vihar Complex, Mozamjahi Road
Govt. of India Tourist Office, Sandozi Building, Himayatnagar
HYDRABAD GENERAL INFORMATION
Temperature Range (deg C):
Summer- Max 42*C, Min 28*C
Winter- Max 25*C, Min 12*C
Rainfall: 89 cms.
Clothing: Light Cottons in summers and woollens in winters
Languages Spoken: Telugu, Hindi, English, and Urdu
STD Code: 040
Guntur (142 km)
Sanghi Nagar: 25-km