Hyderabad – An Experience to Remember!
Planning a visit to Hyderabad? Well, you may as well plan for a long trip as you definitely need quite a few days to visit all the places of interest Hyderabad has to offer! One of the most versatile cities in India, Hyderabad is certain to capture your heart, mind and soul.
Capital of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad was built along the banks of the river Musi by the fifth Sultan of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty, Muhammed Quli Qutub. Dedicated to his wife, Bhagmathi, he also later constructed the Charminar as a thanksgiving for saving his state from a deadly plague. All the sultans of this era were great lovers of architecture, arts and crafts. This city and its surrounding areas are dotted with numerous Monuments and Palaces which have stood as mute spectators of that glorious era, offering an insight into its rich culture and tradition. Today Hyderabad is known for its variety of experiences: from the narrow by lanes around Charminar to the grand six lane Outer Ring Road: from old historical monuments to the modern Hi Tech city; and from small shops selling bangles , surma and mehendi to huge and opulent shopping malls – Hyderabad has it all! Places to visit in Hyderabad include Monuments, Museums, Palaces, Lakes and Parks and of course the shopping centers, without which a visit to Hyderabad is never complete!
The most important place to visit is the Golconda Fort around which the whole history of Hyderabad revolves. It is an amazing and beautiful monument located about 11 kms away from Hyderabad. The construction of this fort was completed in two phases. The main fort was built in the 13th century by the Kakatiya kings while the fort we get to see now was built over a period of sixty years by Ibrahim Quili Qutub Shahi. This imposing granite structure has eight gates and eighty bastions spread over an area of seven kms. One of the most fascinating features of this fort is that if you clap your hands at the main gate of the fort below, it can be heard on top of the citadel which is on a 300 meter high hill. The sound and light show is another attraction which takes you on a tour of the history of the fort.
Think of Hyderabad and you think of the Charminar! Built by Mohammed Quili Qutub Shah in 1591, this landmark of Hyderabad stands regally in the midst of the small lanes of Laad Bazaar. One of the best architectural structures built by the Qutub Shahi kings, this monument has four grand arches facing the four different directions with slender minarets and spiral staircases. This monument looks even more beautiful in the evenings when it is illuminated.
Listed as one of the heritage building of India, Mecca Masjid is situated about a hundred yards from the Charminar and is the biggest mosque in South India. Construction for this mosque was started in 1617 by Mohamed Quili Qutub Shah and was completed by Aurangezeb in 1694. Bricks were brought all the way from Mecca to build this mosque, hence the name Mecca Masjid. This mosque can accommodate around 10,000 people at a time.
Qutub Shahi Tombs
Located close to Golconda fort are the Qutub Shahi Tombs which are the tombs of the seven kings of the Shah dynasty. The architecture is a combination of Persian, Hindu and Pathan cultures. This is the only place in the world having so many tombs in a single place and where all the rulers of a single dynasty have been buried in one place.
Salar Jung Museum
This museum houses one of the biggest one man collections of antiques in the world. Assembled by Salar Jung III, this collection includes artifacts, manuscripts, gems, antiques, and many other precious gifts that Salar Jung received from rulers and kings all over the world. The veiled Rebecca, the throne of Tipu Sultan, the double sided statue of Marguerite and Mephistopheles and the magnificent Musical Clock placed in the central courtyard are some of the few priceless object de art on display here.
AP State Museum
Situated on the premises of the AP state Assembly, this museum houses one of the six mummies found all over India. This mummy of a sixteen year old girl is around two thousand years old and is so well preserved that it has only one tooth missing! This museum also houses a Brahminical gallery, a bronze gallery and an arms and armor gallery amongst other interesting artifacts.
This beautiful temple of Lord Venkateshwara has been built using almost 2000 tons of pure white marble imported all the way from Rajasthan. Completed in the year 1996, this temple also has a Birla Planetarium on its premises which is of particular interest to students and stargazers!
Ramoji Film City
This magnificent picnic spot is built on more than 2000 acres of land, and doubles both as a picnic spot and a location for film shootings. Ramoji Film City also finds a place of pride in the Guiness Book of World Records as being the biggest integrated film city in the whole world. With over 50 studio floors and 500 set locations, this film city has the capability of holding 20 international and 40 Indian film shootings at the same time.
Close to the Hi Tech city is a man made village, Shilparamam. This arts and crafts village has on display handicrafts made by artisans from all over the state. Cultural events are held here throughout the year which encourages all forms of art; from painting, sculpting, theatre, dance performances and many others. Annual bazaars are organized where artisans from all over the country get a chance to showcase their talent.
Hussain Sagar Lake
One of the largest man – made lakes, the Hussain Sagar connects the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. This major tourist attraction boasts of a huge monolithic statue of the Buddha which stands in the middle of the lake on the rock of Gibralter. Adjacent to this is the Lumbini Park, famous for its laser show which showcases the history of Hyderabad. The road encircling this lake is a virtual entertainment centre with eateries and theme parks including the NTR Park, the Sanjeeviah Park and Jaal Vihar.
Apart from these places, Hyderabad also boasts of a number of Palaces built during the Nizam’s era, and which are famous for their Moghul and European style architecture. The Chow Mahalla Palace, The Paigah Palace and the Falaknuma palace are some fine examples.
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department organizes Heritage walks which are the best way to explore the rich culture of the city and which takes you on a journey into the past.
Shopping in Hyderabad
Known as the Pearl City, Hyderabad boasts of the finest pearls and most tourists find their visit incomplete without buying pearls from here. The first ever pearl shop was opened way back in 1906 and pearls were mostly imported from the Persian Gulf.
The narrow lanes around the Charminar is also an excellent shopping area for tourists and the most important buy here would be the bangles made of lac studded with colorful stones.
The final and most interesting finishing touch to this journey would definitely be the Hyderabadi Biryani, which is famous the world over. You could also pack a few boxes of the Karachi biscuits, another delicacy for which Hyderabad is well known, for your friends back home!