Hyderabad is a gem of a city, famous for its flavor-packed biryani and historical attractions. It is also known as the City of Nizams and has pockets of old-world charm. The modern side of the city is referred to as Cyberabad, filled with tech companies and mimicking the likes of Silicon Valley.
When you travel to the city, you want to explore all its personalities, especially the oldest parts of town. In our Hyderabad travel guide, we shall take you through more details about this majestic city, starting with its history.
Hyderabad has a rich past, in the literal sense, the city was fabulously wealthy! This was mainly because it was a pertinent center for the diamond and pearl industry. That’s why most people still refer to Hyderabad as the City of Pearls. Golconda mines in Hyderabad also produced some of the largest diamonds the world saw including those on the divine Koh-i-Noor and the Blue Hope diamond. Being tied to this industry made Hyderabad a very important trading location as well.
You must also know that the city’s history is two-fold. From the year it was founded in 1591, the region was ruled by the Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly 171 years. During this dynasty’s reign, the kingdom of Golconda became a huge market for diamonds and pearls. Indo-Islamic architecture developed during this period as well. You must visit the Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Taramati Baradari, and Khairtabad Mosque as these are living breathing structures of Qutb Shahi architecture.
Post the Qutub Shahi dynasty, Hyderabad was ruled by 7 Nizam rulers from roughly 1724 to 1948. All Nizam rulers had a huge influence on the culture and architecture of Hyderabad. You must know that Mir Osman Ali Khan was the last and richest Nizam ruler of Hyderabad. In 1937, he was also featured as the world’s richest person. During his rule, Hyderabad saw plenty of development. As you explore the city you would see his name on several hospitals, courts, and universities.
Hyderabad also has a twin city by the name Secunderabad, named after the third Nizam. Secunderabad was the quarters for the British military officials. Today, Hyderabad’s twin city has a huge occupancy of the army and air force.
Coming back to the Nizam rulers, you must know that they were also referred to as Asaf Jahis. They lived lavish royal lives and contributed in big ways to the fame that Hyderabad received from around the world. You can get a glimpse into the city’s glorious past by visiting some of the Indo-European styled palaces and mansions built by them. A few prominent ones that you can check out are -
There’s a mix of both Islamic as well South Indian influences in Hyderabad as the city lies in Telangana, a state in the Southern part of India. The best way to experience the melting pot of culture in Hyderabad is through its cuisine! The food here is to kill for and is probably why the city has rightly earned the title of creative city of gastronomy by UNESCO. Ramzan, Ganesh Chaturthi, and Diwali are times when the city comes to life. Do consider planning your trip to Hyderabad during these festivals if time permits you to.
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Hyderabad is among the largest developed cities in India and getting here is a breeze. The city is well-connected with major metropolitan cities and you can travel here in the following ways -
You would need to book a ticket to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport if you plan to fly to the city. The airport is just an hour away from the city center. You can take a prepaid cab from the airport to get to locations within the city. You could also opt to take Pushpak Airport Liner which is an express bus that covers a route of the important points in the city.
The three major railway stations in Hyderabad are - Hyderabad Deccan Railway Station, Secunderabad Railway Station, and Kacheguda Railway Station. From the three stations, most tourists prefer to get off at Secunderabad as it is in the heart of the city. From the station, you’ll easily be able to get a rickshaw, taxi, or bus for your onward journey.
The city of Hyderabad is well-connected to most metropolitan cities and its national highways ensure you have a smooth road journey to the city. The closest cities from where you can plan a road trip to Hyderabad include Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai. Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and other private bus companies also operate buses that will get you to Hyderabad.
You can plan a visit to Hyderabad anytime between October and March. Most tourists and visitors avoid traveling to the city in the monsoon season as it can potentially interfere with plans. You can consider a trip even during the monsoon season but come well-prepared.
To get an opportunity to see the city in a full-fledged festive mode, you must time your trip according to its important festivals. Here are some of them -
Make sure you check the exact dates for any of these festivals as they keep changing and don’t have permanent dates.
It’s fairly simple to get around in Hyderabad, you can take the Hyderabad Metro which is the second-longest operational metro network in India. If you’re going somewhere nearby, you can also opt to take a rickshaw or a taxi. You can also book yourself an Ola or Uber when you don’t feel like traveling by public transport.
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"Hyderabad is a destination for history buffs".
We get why many would fall for the idea that Hyderabad is most enjoyed by those that have a special love for old-world architecture. But the city has so much to offer besides its grand architecture.
You can sample gastronomical delights and travel to Hyderabad just for its lip-smacking food. Hyderabadi biryani, haleem, keema samosa, kebabs are some of the mouth-watering delicacies that you have to try out once here.
If you’re not that much into exploring historical sites, you can have a ball of a time at Ramoji Film City. Spend time visiting the film sets here and enjoy the amusement parks. The city also has green spaces like the Nehru Zoological Park and Kasu Bramhananda Reddy (KBR) National Park that you can include in your itinerary. The amazing architecture of Hyderabad is only one facet of what the city has to offer travelers. You can build your itinerary to explore the city’s markets, food, and parks besides seeing the historical sites.
The Qutb Shahi Tombs is a burial ground of the rulers from the Shahi dynasty. The whole ground is huge and there’s much grand architecture to admire here. The place is extremely quiet and if you do plan to visit, avoid being too loud as it disturbs the peaceful aura.
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The Charminar is among the main heritage attractions and the biggest landmarks associated with the city of Hyderabad. The area around the Charminar is crowded with people, street vendors, and shops selling anything and everything. When you’re tired of the market bustle, you can head to the first floor of the Charminar to look at the chaos from atop.
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As we mentioned, the Nizams ruled over Hyderabad for 224 years and if you wish to reimagine the kind of royal lifestyle they lived, you can visit the Salar Jung Museum. It could take you half a day to explore the place as it's that huge. The displays here also include sculptures, paintings, armors, weapons, clocks, handicrafts, and many more artifacts. The place is maintained brilliantly as well.
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Love looking at vintage paintings, cars, and architecture? You will have a blast at the Chowmahalla Palace. The entire palace screams royalty from the artifacts to the crockery. You’ll also fall in love with the open garden with a fountain and the vintage cars here. The entry fee to this beautiful palace is just INR 80 per person.
Golconda Fort is another prime attraction in the city and a massive fort to explore. When you’re here make sure you clap your hands at the Fateh Darwaza (the entrance). If you do so, the echo of your clap will be heard at the Baradari (the highest point of the fort). Test this out for yourself when you’re here.
How Can I Spend 2 Days In Hyderabad?
If you just have 2 days in Hyderabad, you can spend most of your time in the Old city. Visit Charminar, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Golconda Fort on your first day. On your second day spend some time by Hussain Sagar Lake and Salar Jung Museum.
How Can I Spend 4 Days In Hyderabad?
4 days is plenty of time to explore Hyderabad and all it has to offer. You can cover as many sights as in the old city on your first two days. You can explore Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, and Taramati Baradari. Do try to fit in a visit to Salar Jung Museum and Chowmahalla Palace as well. You can spend the next two days exploring places slightly different from architectural structures such as Ramoji Film City, Nehru Zoological Park, KBR National Park, and the Buddha on Hussain Sagar Lake.
How Many Days Are Enough For Hyderabad?
2-3 days are enough to see most of Hyderabad but it can feel rushed. If you’d like to give the city more time and travel at a slow pace, it is better to dedicate at least 4-5 days to the city.
Is It Worth Visiting Hyderabad?
Hyderabad is a modern city that has an old-world charm. The architecture in the old city is mind-blowing, full of grandeur and royalty. You also must come to Hyderabad for the food! The Nizams that ruled Hyderabad were big fancy foodies and the flavorsome meals you try here are going to be proof of that.
What Should I Not Miss In Hyderabad?
Some of the prime attractions in Hyderabad that you cannot miss include the beautiful Charminar, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Salar Jung Museum, and Golconda Fort.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Hyderabad?
The best time to visit Hyderabad is in the winter. The weather gets cool and humidity decreases, which makes it more pleasant to explore the city.
Is Hyderabad Safe To Visit?
Hyderabad is among the most developed cities in India and the people here are extremely hospitable. It is safe to visit but you must take certain precautions as you would while visiting any big metropolitan city. Pick your accommodation in a part of town that is well-lit and lively. Avoid being in sparsely crowded parts of the city.
What Is The Famous Food Of Hyderabad?
Hyderabadi Biryani is one of the most popular dishes in the city. It’s full of flavor and cooked differently from Biryani elsewhere. When you’re here, you should also try delicacies such as keema samosa, haleem, kebab, and phirni.