Touring Hyderabad on a Weekend

Photo of Touring Hyderabad on a Weekend 1/3 by Abhinaba Chatterjee
Photo of Touring Hyderabad on a Weekend 2/3 by Abhinaba Chatterjee
Photo of Touring Hyderabad on a Weekend 3/3 by Abhinaba Chatterjee

If you are in Hyderabad on work or visiting with the purpose to travel, here is a guide of what you can cover on a weekend. Hyderabad is an old city and is a treat for history and food lovers alike. In this guide, I'll help draw you up a schedule with a good balance of both.

Saturday, the first place on your mind when you are in Hyderabad is Charminar. So I would say start the weekend with a visit to Charminar. Reach there around 8.30AM. The traffic is relatively less and so is the crowd. According to me its the best time to visit Charminar. Charminar opens at 9AM, so you can drop in at the Nimrah Cafe for a cup of Irani chai with osmania biscuits or walk down to Govind's bandi for some delicious dosas.Head next to the Mecca Masjid. If you climb to the top of Charminar you'll see Mecca Masjid. When at the mosque you can feed the pigeons on its courtyard. Walk around and you can also capture the Charminar from a unique angle.The Charminar and the Mecca Masjid together should take you about 1 hour. After you've seen both, head to the Chowmahalla Palace. The palace is also nearby, in walking distance, so ask the people around for directions. Or you can take an autorickshaw for Rs.20.

The Chowmahalla Palace is a glorious place, take time to walk around and see the displays. Its a fine peek into the lives of the Asaf Jahi kings. Don't miss the collection of vintage automobiles at the back, especially the royal Rolls Royce. It will be lunch time by the time you come out of Chowmahalla. If Biriyani is what you are craving for, then head to Shah Ghouse. Its advisable to take an autorickshaw to get there. In case you want vegetarian food or just anything non-Biriyani, head to Hotel Shadaab. Sometimes on Saturday and Sunday mornings there is a heritage walk conducted around this place. It is always better to be guided by someone who can tell you the history of the place.The next place to visit after lunch is the Salarjung Museum. The time you are going to spend at Salarjung Museum depends on your interests. The must see displays are Ivory gallery, Western Paintings, Walking Sticks Gallery and the Veiled Rebecca. You can decide your next stop based on how long you've spent in the museum and how tired you are. If you are early and fresh, I suggest make a trip to Paigah tombs. Take an autorickshaw and ask locals for directions. It isn't a place frequented by tourists; but if you love ancient architecture, you'll find this place quite intriguing.

Head next to the Birla temple. In case you aren't too religious, head straight to the Hussainsagar Lake. After a day of constant touring, spending the evening at Hussainsagar is quite a relaxing experience. For dinner, try out the fare at eat street alongside Hussainsagar Lake.SundayIf the world of film making draws you, or if you are travelling with family and kids and would love visiting a picnic spot, then go to the Ramoji Film City. It is slightly out of town and would definitely take up your entire morning. I wouldn't strongly recommend, though. The other options you can consider is visiting the zoo; you are never too old to visit a zoo :) In case you love photography, you can join me for a photowalk around the Charminar. It is a great way of exploring the place. There is also a flea market that's set up on Sunday mornings, you can pick up antique stuff or old currency notes and coins. Head to Tolichowki for lunch. The Yousuf Tekri Food Court at Tolichowki has a variety of eating options. But my suggestion would be try out the Arabic dishes which are a specialty of this place, especially Mandi, Muttabaq, Faham and Shawarmas. Vegetarians - there are options for you as well, but definitely not as much.

Post lunch, head to the Qutub Shahi Tombs. The tombs are't very far from Tolichowki and an autorickshaw or OLA will take you there. This is a majestic place! Some of the tombs and the baoli are undergoing renovation. Look closely and you'll still manage to find the intricate stone work and carvings. Do visit the tiny museum; it provides a great perspective of how the architecture evolved and history associated with the place. From the Qutub Shahi Tombs head to the Golkonda Fort. Here again I advise you to take a professional guide. The fort is mostly in ruins, hence you won't appreciate the grandeur of the place unless you are shown around. Do climb to the top of the fort and you'll be greeted by a panoramic view of the city skyline. Stay back for the light and sound show. If you feel a trip to Hyderabad is incomplete without a visit to Paradise, the place famous for Hyderabadi Biriyani, do visit one.

My personal recommendation will be to visit the Jewel of Nizam restaurant at the outskirts of the city. Do make a reservation for this place and also arrange for a car to take you and get you back from there. In case the Jewel of Nizam doesn't work out for you, then I suggest Kabul Darbar for some authentic Afghan fare. If you want vegetarian stuff, head to Chutneys or Bikanerwala.You can also plan Saturday a bit differently starting with Hussain Sagar. Follow it up with Salarjung, Lunch Break, Chowmahalla, Mecca Masjid and finally Charminar. This way you can also get to shop at Laad Bazaar and capture the Charminar at night. Whatever suits you!

One would wonder why I haven't mentioned the Falaknuma Palace as part of the schedule. A meal at Falaknuma requires you to make a reservation; its not a place you can otherwise visit. No doubt its a place worth visiting, but the exclusivity sometimes make it out of bounds. Finishing a 2-day trip with a dinner at Falaknuma is ideal, only if you get a reservation that is! And yes, the budget of this trip doesn't obviously include the cost of dining at Falaknuma :)

Great place for history enthusiasts. If you have the time and interest, I would suggest the audio tour.

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