Hyderabad City Guide
The southern Indian city of Hyderabad is the capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. This sprawling, lively and somewhat traditional city is often referred to as the ‘city of pearls and minarets’ as the city has a rich historical past dating back nearly 400 years. Hyderabad is located on the banks of the River Musi and is dotted with several historical landmarks, which give a tourist on a visit to Hyderabad an insight to its rich ancient legacy.
The cultural heritage of Hyderabad is often associated with its erstwhile wealthy rulers who were known as Nizams. However in recent years, Hyderabad has come to be associated with the Indian IT industry and the city is home to a burgeoning Information technology and IT enabled services industry that is the main revenue generator for the state of Andhra Pradesh. Besides the IT industry, Hyderabad also hosts several other growing industries like the pharmaceutical, entertainment and business process outsourcing industries, which render it as an important business hub.
All this vibrant economic activity along with renowned landmarks like the Charminar, the Qutub Shahi tombs and the Golconda fort have firmly established Hyderabad on the tourists and business travelers’ map.
Where to stay in Hyderabad
Hyderabad offers a wide variety of hotels that can be found in its many diverse neighborhoods.
Banjara Hills is Hyderabad’s most prominent neighborhood that hosts some of the city’s most opulent luxury hotels. This neighborhood is primarily a residential neighborhood and also hosts some of the most highly acclaimed international restaurants in the city like Gallopin Gooseberry, Flame, Southern Spice, Fusion 9 and Our place. Banjara Hills is located in the western part of Hyderabad and is a choice accommodation option in Hyderabad that is equally popular with business and leisure travelers.
Hitec City as the name suggests is Hyderabad’s Premier IT facility that hosts several IT parks. Hitec City hosts the offices of several global IT corporations like Microsoft, IBM, Toshiba, Oracle, Wipro and many more. This neighborhood additionally hosts several mid-range hotels and other accommodation options like service apartments and extended stay hotels that cater to the needs of the many business travelers, who visit Hyderabad on work.
Places to see in Hyderabad
This world famous landmark of the Charminar gets its name from its four towers for char translates as four while minar translates as towers.
The Charminar is a 56 m (185 feet) high arch, which has four minarets, elaborately carved balconies and a small mosque. This landmark is situated in the midst of the city’s bustling bazaars and was built in the year 1591 by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shahi to commemorate the end of a plague. The Charminar is often considered to be a symbol of Hyderabad.
Located near the landmark of Charminar is yet another attraction of Hyderabad, the Mecca Masjid. This mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. Its construction was begun by a Qutub Shahi king, Abdullah Qutub Shahi in 1614, but was completed only in 1687 by the Mogul emperor Aurangazeb when he annexed the Golconda Kingdom.
Yet another popular site of Hyderabad is its Golconda Fort which extends over 5 kilometers and is known for its 18 meter high walls. These walls have eight huge gates and 87 bastions which were once used for cannons. The fort which is located on a hill is populated with the ruins of palaces, assembly halls, stables and barracks.
Also located within the fort are the seven tombs of Hyderabad’s Qutub Shahi’s rulers who reigned over the city in the 16th century. The fort is known for its fantastic acoustics as sounds made in the Grand Portico can be heard in the Darbar Hall located quite a distance away. A sound and light show is presented at the fort every evening and it is extremely popular with tourists. A visit to the Golconda fort is definitely highly recommended on any visit to Hyderabad.
The Hussain Sagar Lake
The Hussain Sagar Lake is an artificial lake that was built by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali in 1562, during the rule of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah. This lake was originally built on a tributary of the River Musi to meet the water and irrigation needs of the city however today it extends of 6 km and sports a huge monolithic statue of Gautama Buddha in its midst. This statue was erected in 1992 and it soars to a height of 17.5meters.
Ramoji Film Industry
If you want to get acquainted with South Indian film industry then your sight-seeing itinerary in Hyderabad should include a trip to the Ramoji Film City which is the world’s largest integrated film studio complex. This complex which attracts hordes of fans daily is spread over 2,000 acres and hosts both natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park that has enough attractions to enthrall both the young and the old.
Venkatsewara Temple and Birla Planetarium
Other attractions on the tourist trail of Hyderabad are the Venkateswara Temple which is a white marble temple that was constructed by the Birla Foundation( which belongs to one of the most prominent industrial houses in India) and the Birla Planetarium. Both these attractions are located atop the city’s Naubat Pahar Hill and afford gorgeous vistas of the city.
Old Palaces, buildings and museums
Af you are a lover of the arts and have an interest in antiques then Hyderabad’s many ancient antique filled buildings like the Salar Jung Museum, Purani Haveli and Chowmohalla Palace are highly recommended attractions on any visit to Hyderabad.
Best time to visit Hyderabad
Hyderabad like much of India’s Deccan plateau has a climate that can best be described as semi-arid and the city experiences scorching summers that generally extend from late February to early June.
The summer months are then followed by the monsoon season, which usually takes over the city from late June to early October. The rains are immediately followed by the winter season, which usually lasts from late October to early February.
The winter season is unarguably the best time to visit Hyderabad, for in the absence of the searing heat, you can actually enjoy wandering around its many wonderful historical sites and crowded bazaars, which offer numerous sight-seeing and shopping opportunities.
Getting around in Hyderabad
Hyderabad is easily accessed via its swank Rajiv Gandhi International Airport located 22 miles north of the city. This airport is currently thought to be the best airport in India and welcomes a whole host of domestic and international carriers.
The fact that the Hyderabad airport is served by a plethora of global carriers makes getting to Hyderabad from anywhere in the world quite easy. In fact Fare Buzz often announces tempting cheap flight deals for Hyderabad, so if you are currently in the market for a cheap fare to Hyderabad, you must explore the many cheap air tickets that Fare Buzz has on offer for Hyderabad.
The public transport system in Hyderabad consists of airport coaches, public buses, auto rickshaws and metered taxis. The metered taxis in Hyderabad cannot be hailed in the street but need to be ordered on the phone via a centralized number.
In addition to these various modes of transport, the city also offers chauffer driven car rentals which are supplied by renowned car rental agencies as well as private taxi operators who have a presence at the Hyderabad airport and within the city.
If you wish to rent a car for the duration of your stay in Hyderabad, then Fare Buzz can definitely be of assistance for its portfolio of travel deals also includes affordable car rentals for Hyderabad.
Moreover, these Hyderabad car rentals can be easily booked via Fare Buzz’s regular booking platforms when you make your other travel bookings for the city of Nizams.
Where to shop in Hyderabad
The erstwhile royal city of Hyderabad is renowned as a center for handicrafts. Konadpalli toy figurines, kalamkari paintings, rose-wood carvings, products festooned with bidri work and banjara embroidery, lacquer bangles, stone carvings, brass ware, silver wares, handlooms and silk textiles and rice pearls are some of the many handicrafts that are native to Hyderabad. These beautiful products thus serve as appropriate souvenirs from the city and are much coveted by visitors.
So where in Hyderabad do you go souvenir shopping? Hyderabad offers many options for souvenir shopping at its various locals like the Mangatrai Pearls and Jewelry store, the Kalanjali Lepakshi Handicrafts Emporium, the National Handicrafts Emporium, Chitra Handicrafts and Mangalam Handicrafts.
Apart from these souvenir shopping destinations, the bustling city of Hyderabad also offers countless shopping options at its pulsating bazaars and modern, product-filled malls and shopping centers. Much frequented shopping destinations in Hyderabad include Laad bazaar and Sultan Bazar and modern malls like GVKOne mall, Lifestyle mall, Babukhan Mall, Hyderabad Central Mall, MPM mall, Brand Factory and more.
Additionally, if you happen to be in Hyderabad on a weekend, you should try and visit the city’s weekly antiques market which is held on Pathergatit Road in the Charminar area of the city. This bustling open-air market features vendors who have on offer myriad interesting antiques and antiquities like old-world cameras, hurricane-lamps, jewelry, coins and more.
Where to eat in Hyderabad
Hyderabad has a reputation as a ‘foodie destination’ in Indi. The city is renowned for its rich native cuisine which originated during the time of the nizams (the royal monarchs of Hyderabad). This food of kings as Hyderabadi cuisine is often referred features various meat heavy dishes like biryani (slow-cooked rice and meats), kebabs (marinated and grilled meats), haleem (a dish that features meat and broken-wheat slowly cooked together for hours) and a variety of vegetarian side dishes like Baghara Baigan (eggplant) and mirch ka salan. Hyderabad hosts numerous eateries that serve the city’s rich, indigenous fare but some of the ‘best’ Hyderabadi restaurants in the city include establishments like Paradise, Hotel Shadab, Banne Nawab's Four Seasons Hotel and Shah Ghouse Biryani.
However, Hyderabad’s culinary landscape is not limited solely to ‘nizami’ fare and as a prominent city in Southern India; its repertoire also includes much Southern Indian cuisine. If you are desirous of sampling Hyderabad’s spicier Southern Indian offerings you can visit restaurants like Southern Spice and Chutney’s, both well-reputed eateries that offer the gamut of Hyderabad’s Southern Indian fare.
Nightlife in Hyderabad
The burgeoning city of Hyderabad offers a very lively nightlife scene that is dominated by pubs, lounge bars, live-music bars and nightclubs. New establishments are launched frequently and the list of city’s ‘best’ nightlife haunts seems to change frequently. Some of the popular night spots in Hyderabad currently include spots like Sicca (a whisky club at the Park hotel), Carbon, Kismet, Ahala, Liquids again, 10 Downing Street, Bottles and Chimney Club, Torque, Touch, Underdeck, F Bar and Lounge and 99 Megahertz.