A multitude of influences has shaped the character of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Its palaces and buildings, gardens and streets, all seeped in history, with an architectural individuality, makes Hyderabad an enchanting city.
Maintaining its oriental culture, it is one of the few cities where the ebb and flow of life, co-exists with a wealth of colorful variety as in the bazars, lanes, and localities of historic Hyderabad. Seat of the fabulously wealthy Nizam?s, the lifestyle of Hyderabad and landscape is changing with time.
Cars have shoved aside clip-clopping horse-drawn carriages. Elegantly tiled houses, Flyovers cress-cross busy intersections, giant archways and many-windowed homes, no longer dot the skyline. The laid-back metropolis is now a science city.
From Nawabs and pearls, to the worlds hi-tech happening point, the city's journey, is as fascinating, as it is rich and diverse. Established by Muhammad Quli Qutab Shah in 1593, Hyderabad developed as one of the main centers of Islamic culture.
It left its indomitable stamp with the beautification of the Golconda Fort, from where the world-famous Kohinoor diamond was discovered. The splendor of this city, matched the elegance of the Mughal cities of Delhi, Agra or Fatehpur Sikri. The rulers built many memorable monuments, which include the world-famous Charminar.
But it was under the royal line of Asaf Jahi kings, better known as the legendary Nizams of Hyderabad that the state reached its zenith, in terms of size and power.
Hyderabad has an ancient civilization and culture. Like all great cities, Hyderabad faces an avalanche of industrialization. A revolution in etiquette is under way, recasting values. The yuppie ethos, has invaded the city and western haute couture is slowly being preferred, over the sherwani and burqa.
This is the city that has even been the home of a Miss world. Fortunately, gourmets have not let the Deccani cuisine, the Hyderabadi biryani in particular, pass into legend.
The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh has two major influences. The Mughals and the Nizams brought with them the tasty biryanis of spiced meat, vegetables and rice, haleem (pounded spiced wheat with mutton) and kebabs. Some of the best haleem is found in the Old Town around the Mecca Masjid. The Andhra style combines vegetables with spices, particularly chilli and mustard. Nahari and roomali rotis are also popular. The famous bhaghere baigan (eggplant in a spicy poppy and sesame seed sauce), and mirchi-ka-salan, despite their fire are worth trying.
Other than Deccan food, Hyderabad has two other equally popular parallel cuisines: spicy non-vegetarian Andhra cuisine with its fish and mutton dishes, and the primarily vegetarian Telugu Brahmin food - uttapams, dosas, idlis and vadas. Don't forget to try out the kachi biryani and qubaani ka meetha.
Shopping for art and crafts can be done at the Andhra Pradesh Emporium, Kalanjali, on the Nampally High Road. Check out the rice pearls at Charminar. In case you're worried about being cheated, visit the state emporium. Central Cottage Industries Emporium in the Minerva Complex on the Sarojini Devi Road is also a good place to buy crafts. Lac bangles and various other accessories can be bought near the market at Charminar. A shopping experience unique to Hyderabad is the 'Khada Dupatta', a salwar kameez with a 4.5 m dupatta!
Hyderabad boasts of a rich cultural heritage. This is reflected in the great number and variety of fairs and festival it celebrates. While many of these are common to the rest of the country, some are unique and typical to the city and state.
Ugadi: The Telugu New Year is celebrated in March/ April, houses are cleaned and painted and a toran of mango leaves is strung in front of the main door.
Muharram: The day of martyrdom of the grandsons of the Prophet is celebrated with piety. On the 6th and 10th day of Muharram people of all religions pay respect at Chote Hazrat Dargah, inside Devan Devadi.
Bathkamma is special to the Telengana region. During the month-long festival, Goddess Bathkamma's idol is worshipped and it is immersed at the end of the month.
Deccan Festival is a cultural festival held in the city around the 25th of February.
Mrigasira is a festival held in June/ July to mark the onset of the monsoon.
Pandit Motiram-Mainram Sangeet Samaroh is a festival of Hindustani classical music held in the last week of November.
Lumbini: Organised from the second Friday to Sunday of December every year at Hyderabad and Nagarjuna Sagar to highlight and celebrate the Buddhist heritage of Andhra Pradesh.
Hyderabad, the capital of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, is located on the Deccan Plateau on the banks of the Musi River.
IA, AI, Jet and Gujarat Airways have flights to Hyderabad. The Begumpet Airport is well connected to all major towns and cities. Airport: Begumpet Airport is north of the Husain Sagar Lake on the Sardar Patel Road.
The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are connected to all parts of the country. The Rajdhani Express comes in from Delhi, Bombay Express comes in from Mumbai and the Charminar Express from Chennai. Railway station: There are three railway stations ? Secunderabad, Hyderabad (also known as Nampally) and Kacheguda. Secunderabad is the main station. Railway enquiry is at Tel: 131.
Buses ply to other towns in the state and to other major cities like Aurangabad and Nagpur. Private bus companies have super deluxe video coach services to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Tirupati and Nagpur. Bus terminus: The main bus stand is the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (AP-SRTC). The other bus stands are the Jubilee Bus Stand and the Koti Bus Stand.
The temperature ranges from 22?C to 42?C in the summer and from 12?C to 22?C in the winter.
At the heart of the walled city and lined by lively bazaars, the Char Minar, (four towers) is a 56m-high triumphal arch, built by Quli Qutub Shah, the 5th Sultan of Golconda, to commemorate the end of a plague in Hyderabad. Elegant balconies, stucco decorations and a small mosque adorn this structure. This is one of the oldest mosques in Hyderabad. From the minars, there is a panoramic view of the city. An underground path is believed to connect Charminar with the Golconda fort. Markets and many other structures surround Charminar, which adds to its grace. The structures here show mixed Indian and Mughal architectural styles. The monument is now permanently closed.
King Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah built this lake in 1562, the largest of the lakes of Hyderabad, around which the city is spread, in gratitude to Hussain Shah Wali.
It is one of the most beautiful legislative houses in India. This white and elegant building is located amidst one of the best-laid gardens in the country. The architecture and grace of the house, automatically attracts attention.
It is one of the most magnificent fort complexes in India. Crenellated ramparts constructed of large masonry rocks surround the citadel, built on a granite hill 120 m high. The forts acoustics are remarkable: sound of hands clapping in the Grand Portico can be heard in the Durbar hall at the top of the hill. An hour-long light-and-sound show is held daily.
This is an Indian version of the Albert Museum in London. The third largest museum in India, the artifacts are kept in 36 huge halls, painstakingly collected by Mir Yusaf Ali Khan, (Salar Jung III), the prime minister of the Nizam of Hyderabad. It contains over 35,000 exhibits, as varied as Persian carpets, wood carvings, miniatures, armory and clothing. The Jade Room has swords, daggers and clothing of Mughal emperors and Tippu Sultan.
Nagarjunasagar is indeed a temple of modern India, about 150 km from Hyderabad. Seventeen centuries ago, here flourished a city called Vijayapuri, a center of Buddhist learning. The city went on to serve as the capital of the Ikshvaku kingdom. Today in its place stands Nagarjunasagar, a modern township named after Mahayana Buddhism. The sacred remains of one of the most ancient civilizations of the world are found here.
The legendary Laad Bazaar or the Street of Love emerges from the greatest arches and the historic landmark - the Charminar. The famous bangle shops of Laad Bazaar flank this historical monument westwards. A shopper's paradise, the rows of glittering bangle shops, invite you in. The accent here is on color, glitter and sheen. This is true of not only bangles but also everything at Laad Bazaar. The Mehboob Chowk, a torpid looking quadrangle with an imposing tower in the middle, marks the end of the Bazaar.
Standing atop a 200 feet high hillock, 5 kms from the Charminar, the Falaknuma Palace, was built by Nawab Vikar-Ul-Ulmara, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, as a guesthouse for visitors. The palace is laid out in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings on the north. The middle part is occupied by the main building and the kitchen and harem quarters stretch to the south. The Nawab being an avid traveler, various influences reflect on the palace architecture, with Louis XIV-style decor co-existing with a lavish Mughal ambience, Italian marble staircases and ornate fountains. It's glass-stained windows throw a spectrum of colors into the rooms. The palace has a library, with a walnut carved roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library has one of the finest collections of the holy Quran in India.
Next to Char Minar, is the Mecca Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the world and is said to accommodate upon 10,0000 worshippers at a time. It's an impressive mosque, with lofty colonnades and entrance arches, made of single slabs of granite. Taking almost 77 years to complete, its construction was begun by King Abdullah Qutub Shah in 1614 and completed by Aurangzeb in 1687.
Ramoji Film City, the land of films and fantasy, where dreams turn into reality. This is the world's largest film city, which is enchanting, enthralling and spellbinding at the same time. Glamorous, surreal and breathtakingly beautiful, its mind boggling mammoth proportions, scores of unbelievable sets and fantastic landscapes, offer more than just a glimpse into the thrilling and exciting world of film and television. Both the Rama Naidu Studios and the Padmalaya Studios are state of the art establishments. A place to visit, if you'd like to take a peek, at the way the movie business in the south is run.
Rock Formations are to be found at Jubilee Hills and Banjara hills, in Hyderabad and the Mahendra hills, in Secunderabad. Interesting Rock formations are also located beyond Kukatpally, near Lingampally, off the railway track to Mumbai.
The Nizam of Hyderabad, in a temporary building, started this university in 1917. In 1939, the university was given a permanent building and today its campus is one of the largest in India.Ramoji Film City, the land of films and fantasy, where dreams turn into reality. This is the world's largest film city, which is enchanting, enthralling and spellbinding at the same time. Glamorous, surreal and breathtakingly beautiful, its mind boggling mammoth proportions, scores of unbelievable sets and fantastic landscapes, offer more than just a glimpse into the thrilling and exciting world of film and television. Both the Rama Naidu Studios and the Padmalaya Studios are state of the art establishments. A place to visit, if you'd like to take a peek, at the way the movie business in the south is run.