Hyderabad may seem like a city which won't be on your must-see list. However, the city was the center for much Medieval history and the place where diamonds were first, and only, mined. The fairytale city is filled with stories of love, war, conquest and mysteries which make for the best things to do in Hyderabad.
Today, Hyderabad is the capital of two states, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The history of Hyderabad which includes both the Mughals and the Nizams attracted literates and thinkers to the city bringing culture and art with them both of which are visible throughout the city. The city also is the home to special economic zones with internet companies, biotech companies and other manufacturing, financial and research institutions. Today, Hyderabad is India's fourth largest city with about 7 million people, and the fifth contributor to the country's GDP.
Ideally 2 or 3 days is enough to explore the city but if you have a bit longer, you can explore the adjacent area on day trips from Hyderabad. I however, was visiting my friend hence 5 days weren't too. But here is a list of places i think you must-see when in Hyderabad.
SALAR JUNG MUSEUM:
The Salar Jung Museum is the third largest museum in India housing the biggest one-man collection of antiques in the world. The range of artefacts and art pieces dates back to the 1st Century. The museum is named after Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, former Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, who spent forty years of his life amassing a priceless collection which was originally exhibited in his palace, Diwan Deodi, and then moved to the present location in 1968. The painting exhibit is marvelous.
Open from 10am to 5pm and closed on Friday.
The Chowmahalla Palace was the official residence of the Nizam when they ruled Hyderabad. Construction of the palace started in 1750 but took over a century to complete. It was built as a replica to the Palace for the Shah of Iran.
The Palace won the Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation in 2010 after restoration by the current Nizam opened it back to the public in 2005. Fancy having your wedding here?, the Palace is also available for private functions.
Open from 10am to 5pm and closed on Friday.
Your Trip is incomplete if you haven't visited the Char Minar. Possibly the most iconic place of the city, Charminar, gets its name from the word for four towers in Urdu. The towers are ornate minarets attached by four arches with outdoor balconies and they face each direction. The area is filled with buzzing market stalls selling jewelry, especially gold bangles, vegetables and fruit, clothes and Pearls, a trade Hyderabad was known for. Bargain you might get a good deal.
You can climb up one of the towers through a narrow and steep set of stairs to the first floor for a glimpse of the market area, the Masjid Mosque and the main trade arteries. Usually its full of couples trying to find a cozy corner.
Opens from 9am to 5,30pm daily
TAJ FALAKNUMA PALACE
Remember where Salman Khan's sister got married! Yes this place the Falaknuma Palace, today is a fairy-tale Taj Hotel. Originally the residence of the Nizam, the Palace was leased to Taj Group who undertook a serious renovation project to turn the palace into a grand and ostentatious representation of how royalty used to live. This is possibly the best preserved piece of Nizam architecture and its a stunning hotel to stay at or even just to visit.
The hotel offers guided tours of the property with the Palace Historian on Saturday and Sunday at 4pm including high tea. Which is absolutely not to be missed. Tickets can be booked through the Tourism Office here. Or contact the hotel directly to book The Champagne Palace Walk that starts at sunset with legends, love and war. Don't miss the Palace Library, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle.
You could walk the 4km to the Fort but it is much better to take a tuk tuk or cab as the roads are not suitable for walking easily.
Golconda Fort was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (1518-1687) and the center of major wars and legends. The fort is today in ruins but it is well worth a visit to explore the beautiful past.
The Fort is well known for its magical acoustics which are leveraged for a daily 1h evening show of lights and music that tells the history of the fort (you could probably miss this, it's boring and long without any light proper effects) If you go, bring repellent, the fort is known for mosquitoes that are invincible to the repellent. Don't believe me, on every 2 tickets purchased you are been given a repellent free. However wear clothes accordingly.
Hussain Sagar Lake
Asia's largest artificial lake is right next to Birla Mandir and can be explored on a boating trip. It was constructed in 1562 AD during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah. Built on the tributary of River Musi to provide irrigation and water to the city until 1930 and it is one of the top things to see in Hyderabad.
The lake is open from 8am to 10pm.
And when you go don't forget to hog on every kind of Biryani. Love the post tag your pics on #nomadneha