One of India’s largest cities, and the Capital of the Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad is famous for its pearls, bidri work, bangles embellished with sparkling, semiprecious stones set in lacquer and, ofcourse, its symbol, the Charminar. This imposing monument with its four graceful 54-metre high minarets, was built two years after the founding of the city in 1591. It presents an enchanting appearance at night when the minarets are illuminated.
Before donning its present mantle, Hyderabad has been variously the capital of the Qytab Shahi dynasty, a centre of the Mughal Empire and the seat of the wealthy Nizams. Separated from its twin city, Secunderabad, by the Hussain Sagar Lake, the city presents a unique skyline, with modern buildings standing amidst fascinating 400 year old edifices.
Other Tourists Places of Hyderabad
The Salar Jung Museum houses over 35000 priceless objets d’art, the private collection of Nawab Salar Jung III, the Prime Minister of one of the Nizams. There are carved and inlaid pieces, jewels, ornaments, ivories, gem studded boxes, marble statues, rare manuscripts, miniature paintings, and exquisitely bejewelled swords and daggers of Mughal rulers. A visit to the museum is a must.
The largest mosque in South India, Mecca Masjid, was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694, taking 80 years to build. The bricks for the central arch are said to have been brought from Mecca, hence its name.
The legendary Golconda Fort, which was the earlier capital of the Qutab Shahi rulers, lies on the fringe of Hyderabad. It is a magnificent structure with many interesting features such as the remarkable accoustic warning system and the innovative water supply system that used ‘Persian wheels’ to raise water into storage reservoirs in the fort. The world famous “Kohi-Noor” diamond, which now adorns the British crown, was mined in Golconda.
Some of the other interesting places in and around the city are the Ramoji Film City, reputed to be one of the best equipped film studios in the world; 2500 million year old Deccan pre-historic rocks at Durgam Cheruvu, Jubilee Hills; the crafts village Shilparamam; the white marble Birla Mandir, dazzling in its ethereal beauty when illuminated at night; Qutab Shahi Tombs near the Golconda fort where seven of the Kings lie buried; and the Falaknuma Palace.
Puttaparthi, located about 400 kms from Hyderabad in southern Andhra Pradesh, is now internationally known as the abode of Bhagwan Shri Sathya Sai Baba. People seeking spiritual solace come to the ashram, Prasanthi Nilayam, from all corners of the globe.
Near Tirupati (about 570 kms south of Hyderabad), in the Tirumala hills, is one of the oldest and most venerated Hindu shrines in India, that of Lord Venkateshwara (Vishnu), or Balaji.
Hyderabadi food combines the influence of the Mughal court with the predominantly Hindu sub culture of Andhra Pradesh to produce a lighter food with a distinctive flavour, considered by many to be the ultimate in fine dining. The most famous are the Hyderabadi ‘biryani’ (a fragrant, layered rice, meat and dry fruit extravaganza), charcoal baked ‘rotis’, and ‘haleem’ (made of coarsely pounded wheat and spiced mutton gravy). Desserts include various kinds of ‘kheer”(rice cooked in milk and sugar to a thick consistency), ‘halwa’ and the famed ‘sheer khurma’, a delicacy made with dry fruits and dates.