Hyderabad: The City Of Pearls

When back from Hyderabad, people ask two things -"biryani khaya kya? Humare liye pearls khareeda kya?" (Did you eat biryani? Did you get pearls?).There are a lot of sightseeing to be done here along with eating (especially Hyderabadi Nawabi cuisine)and shopping to your heart's content. So, let's get straight to some of the famous places you would love to see when in Hyderabad.


Charminar


Constructed in the year 1591, it literally means 4 pillars and is undoubtedly one of the most recognised monuments in India. 5th ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah built this monument after shifting his capital to Golkonda to the newly formed city of Hyderabad. This monument also was built as a commemoration to the eradicated of plague which was prevalent during that time and also to commemorate the Islamic millenium year 1000 AH. Each of the four sides have one grand arch each, facing directly the street in front. A mosque is situated in the western end of the open roof. Remaining area served as a royal court. To, the west of Charminar lies Laad Bazaar, to the south-west is Makkah Masjid & to the north is Char Kaman (arches).


Laad Bazaar


Literally meaning 'Lacquer' and as the name suggests, this Bazaar is famous for its lacquered bangles, semi-precious stones, pearls and imitation jewelry. Laad Bazaar is located on one of the four roads emanating out of Charminar. This is one bazaar, which you should not miss if you have an intention of getting some good gifts for your loved ones. You'll love the designs and the sheer number of shops dotting this 1 km stretch



Golconda Fort



It is a citadel built by the Kakatiyas and the area was the capital of the early Qutb Shahi rule. Golconda was a trade hub for diamonds and has produced some world famous diamonds like Kohinoor and Daria-i-Noor. It is also called the 'Shepherd's Hill' as a local boy found an idol here and informed the king. The Kakatiya king then built a mud fort there encircling the holy spot. 200 years later, the area came under Bahmani sultanate including the fort and the fort was further extended to the present structure by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans. The fort fell into ruin in the year 1687 after an eight month long siege by the Mughals. Golconda has 4 main forts with an outer wall extending to around 10 km with many royal apartments, halls, mosques and temples. The fort also contains the tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans, made of beautiful carved stonework. Just a few metres away from Golconda fort is Taramati Baradari. It is believed that the 7th ruler of Golconda, Abdullah Qutb Shah built this sarai as an ode to his favourite courtesan Taramati.


Hussain Sagar Lake



Built by Quli Qutb Shah in 1563, seperates centre of Hyderabad from Secunderabad. It is fed by Musi river and is about 32 feet deep. Visitors flock here to do sailing and boating. In middle of the lake is statue of Gautam Buddha, made of white granite rock, was installed in 1992. The statue is illuminated at night and is a beautiful sight to behold. The lake is spread around an area of 5.7 sqkm. From time to time, beautification work and widening of road around the lake has happened. This is one of the important landmarks in Hyderabad. Adjoining the lake is Lumbini Park which has various attractions like musical fountains, boating and laser auditorium.


Birla Mandir



The temple built on an 85 m high hillock called Naubath Pahad was opened to public in the year 1976. This structure is visible from Hussain Sagar lake and the temple has been built using 2000 tons of white marble. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Venkateshwara and also houses shrines of various other deities like Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman. This temple is well connected by TSRTC buses, Hyderabad Metro and MMTS. If you are driving, it is advisable to park your car at the foothill of Naubath Pahad and walk upto the temple as the parking is scarce.


Salar Jung Museum


One of the three national museums of India, this was once the private collection of the Salar Jung family. After the death of Salar Jung III, the prime minister to 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the museum was endowed to the Indian Government and was thrown open to public in 1951. The museum houses collection of paintings, textiles, ceramics and furniture from various parts of the globe including India. Salar Jung III spent substantial part of his income in collecting these artefacts. Museum was shifted to its present location in 1968 at Dar-ul-Shifa. In 2003, the museum was declared a manuscript conservation centre. The museum has 2 floors with 38 galleries with exhibits on different subjects in each gallery. Apart from galleries, there is a library, reading room and a cafeteria.


Falaknuma Palace



Located around 5 km from Charminar, this palace was originally owned by the Paigah family and later acquired by the Nizam of Hyderabad. Palace was built by Nawab Sir Viqar-Ul-Umra, the prime minister of 6th Nizam. This palace has a lot of Italian influence as after a tour of Europe, the nawab decided to build a European styled residence. The palace was also used later by the Nizam as a guest house for the royal guests. The palace has 60 rooms and 20 halls. It also houses artefacts belonging to the Nizam. The palace was a private property of the Nizams and was not open to public until 2000. Entry to this palace is only through Telangana Tourism - Nizam Palaces Tour and is ticketed which includes a specified itinerary.


Chowmahalla Palace



This is almost a 200 year old palace which means 'Four Palaces' and was built between 1857 to 1869 during the rule of 5th Nizam, Afzar-ud-Daulah. It is said to resemble Shah Palace of Iran. The total remaining area of this palace spread is around 12 acres. The palace was thrown open to public visits in the year 2005 and is closed on Fridays and national holidays. The southern courtyard has four palaces by the names Afzal Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal and Aftab Mahal. Chowmahalla palace has Clock tower, Council Hall and Roshan Bungalow inside it which was named after Roshan Begum, mother of the 5th Nizam. The clock tower has been ticking since the time the palace has been built. Beautiful lawns, fountains and intricate pillars make this palace an enchanting place to visit. There is an entry fee to this palace which is priced at Rs. 50/- for an Indian adult, Rs. 10/- for children below 12 years and Rs. 200/- for a foreign tourist.


Ramoji Film City



Spread over 1000 acres, this is an integrated studio complex. If you have a script and money with you, you can come out with a film completely processed. Visit to Hyderabad is incomplete without having visited this place. If you love films, this is the place to drop in, as one can see film sets, props, parks and natural beauty. Opened to public in 1996, this place attracts over 1.5 million tourists every year. Film City has 6 hotels inside the complex, 47 sound stages and permanent sets ranging from railway stations and airport sets. There is a central kitchen for providing food to various film units shooting in the complex at any given point of time. Till now, the complex housed the famous Baahubali sets and it was one of the star attractions. This is a ticketed complex and a visit to this place takes your whole day literally as there is so much to see.


Durgam Cheruvu



Very recently developed by Telangana Tourism, this place is bang opposite Inorbit Mall. The rock formations here are believed to be around 2500 million years old. The area around the lake has recently been spruced up to attract tourism with artificial waterfall and a fountain. Durgam Cheruvu bridge is another attraction which is a cable bridge which comes to life in the evening with beautiful lighting and a wonderful view of this lake from the bridge. Durgam Cheruvu bridge connects Jubilee Hills to Financial District. One can enjoy a beautiful stroll on the sidewalks of the bridge to witness the wonderful view


Sri Jagannath Temple


Built by the local Oriya community in Hyderabad is an exact replica of the original Puri Jagannath temple in Odisha. The sanctum sanctorum houses idols of Lord Jagannath with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subadhra. This temple is a visual marvel in the evening as there is a spectacular light show depicting the origin of Lord Jagannath and his pastimes. There is an annual Rath Yatra organised and this temple is also constructed in red sandstone.


Chilkur Balaji Temple



This temple is also called Visa Balaji Temple. A 500 year old temple is situated besides Osman Sagar Lake close to Vikarabad Road. The temple gets its name from a popular belief that whoever visits this temple to pray for a visa, he/she will surely get it. Lord Venkateshwara Balaji along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi is the presiding deity of this sacred temple. According to a legend, the temple was built by a devotee who was suffering from health issues and could not go to Tirupati Balaji temple which he used to do earlier. Lord came in his dream and instructed him to find the idol of the lord along with Sridevi & Bhoodevi and build a temple. The temple does not have a Hundi or the collection box.


One can also check out the parks in Hyderabad - Lumbini Park, KBR Park, NTR Gardens, Biodiversity Park and spend time with your loved ones for a quiet evening stroll.


So, yes, eat Biryani to your heart's content and digest it with going around places in Hyderabad. Soak in the true Nizami culture, some authentic Hyderabadi dishes and oodles of shopping!


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