Hyderabad is is the capital city of the Indian state of Telangana and the de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh. Located on a hilly terrain surrounded by artificial lakes, it is a city of mesmerising beauty and rich history.
Established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Quatb shah, the city has seen many rulers and has evolved beautifully through the test of time. From being the extension of the historical Golconda city to being one of the most developed Hi-tech city in India, the progress of Hyderabad is commendable.
The city is also a home to the Telugu film industry, popularly known as Tollywood. Not just that, the culinary traditions of Hyderabad have been passed down from the Nizam monarchy. The city is famous for its aromatic Hyderbadi Dum Biryani. If you are a non-vegetarian, this is a treat you will definitely enjoy.
There are a lot of interesting places to visit in Hyderabad. From the fascinating forts, mosques and beautiful lakes to the local artisan markets, food tasting experiences to music and film industry – Hyderabad will never fail to delight you. Here is a list of top 7 places you must visit in Hyderabad.
1. Ramoji Film City
This place is on top of my list. Ramoji Film City is the largest film studio complex as certified by the Guinness World Records. It was established by the Telugu media Tycoon and film producer, Ramoji Rao, in 1996. He wanted to build a studio similar to the ones in Hollywood. The studio handles 400-500 films per annum in various Indian languages.
Ramoji Film City is not just a studio where films are shot, but also a fun-place where tourists are warmly welcomed and entertained. You can board the tourist bus that takes you to various shooting locations and life-size movie sets, where you can click your favourite memories. Not just that, there’re various shows, theme parks and rides to keep you entertained throughout the day.
From the airports, railway stations and police stations, to the slum streets, apartment blocks and workshops, to the London street, impressive temples and hotels – you can travel to all these shooting locations, explore them at your own pace and click as many pictures as you want. The sets of Bhagwatam and Bahubali are the star attractions of film city.
If this is not enough, you can also take a stroll in their beautiful bird park, or chase colourful butterflies in the butterfly park. The restaurants within the premises offer great food. You will need an entire day to explore this place.
Check out more details about this star experience on my post, ‘The Dream World of Ramoji Film City’
2. Golconda Fort
Do you love forts and ruins? Are you a History buff? Well.. if the answer is yes, this place is for you.
Golconda fort is a fascinating fortress located on a 400 ft. high hillock within the ruined Golconda city in the Western outskirts of Hyderabad. The fort was erected with granite rocks and it houses the palaces, gardens, mosques, offices, granary, arsenal, canons, and pavilions.
The top rampart of the fort protected the Royal family’s pavilion. It would take 365 steps uphill for you to reach the top. This spot offers breathtaking views of the Deccan Plateau. Wear comfortable shoes and keep a water bottle handy.
The light and sound show in Golconda fort is worth watching. This one hour show takes place in the open air auditorium and it begins at 6:30 pm. The show takes you to the historical era through an enthralling narrative. Highlight of the show is the voice of Amitabh Bachchan as a voice-over.
3. Hussain Sagar Lake
Hussain Sagar Lake is a beautiful heart-shaped lake. It is considered to be the the nerve centre of Hyderabad Tourism. The Lake was named after Hussain Shah Wali, a Master of Architecture in the kingdom. It is an artificial lake that holds water fed by the canals from the Musi River. Apart from the lake itself, the major attraction of this place is a large monolithic statue of Gautam Buddha erected on a rock in the middle of the lake. The statue is carved out of a single solid white granite rock. It is 18 metres tall and weighs around 350 tons.
A boat ride to this landmark attraction is recommended. You can either board a speedboat or a motorised boat to see the statue closely and get clicked with it. Motor boat will stop at the park and you can spend more time admiring the statue and the beautiful lake around. However, the speedboat will just take you around the statue a little too fast.
In the evening, the place comes alive with colourful lights and the boat ride experience at night feels more surreal. There are many shops lined up near the lake in the Lumbini Park, where you can snack and shop.
4. Birla Mandir
Birla Mandir is a beautiful Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. It is made up of 2000 tons of pure white marble and is a rich display of Rajasthani, Utkala and Dravidian architecture.
The walls of the temple depict scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Apart from the shrine of the main deity, the temple also has separate shrines dedicated to many other Hindu deities. The interesting fact about this temple is that it does not have traditional bells. It was built with an intention that the temple atmosphere should be perfect for meditational practices. People from all religions and nationalities are equally welcomed here.
Built on a 280 feet high hillock called Naubath Pahad, the temple also offers breathtaking views of the Hyderabad city. There are four observation points at the four corners of the temple, from which you can get the views of the city from different angles.
Evening lights on the white marble, spiritual stillness, stunning views and gentle breeze – a feeling to remember!
Mobile phones and cameras are not allowed inside the temple premises. Birla Mandir is open daily from 7:00 am till 12:00 pm and from 3:00 pm till 9:00 pm.
Charminar is a major landmark and an official symbol of Hyderabad. Owing to a 425 years old mosque built on its top floor, this historical structure has a lot of religious significance. Charminar was built in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Quatb Shah, who was the fifth ruler of the Quatb Shahi Dynasty. The word Charminar means ‘four pillars’, and it must have derived its name owing to the four huge minarets of the building, each of them being 56 metres tall.
However, there’s more to this number four. Apart from the four minarets, Charminar has four prominent arches, four small arches, four galleries and four gates that open out to four different streets. Also, the architectural decorations showcase four petals and for different animals, seems like the ruler’s obsession with the number four. Charminar is a beautiful structure and a must-visit place if you love historical buildings.
- Look for ’Nimrah Cafe’ near Charminar. They offer a unique experience of their local biscuit tasting. You can order your favourite cup of coffee or tea and a small platter of biscuits. The platter includes assorted cookies – the best they have. You can also buy more of the ones you like the most.
- If you want a little more religious dive, there is a ‘Mecca Masjid’ located within 200 metres distance from Charminar. It is one of the largest and holiest mosque in the country. The bricks of the mosque are made from the soil from Mecca. The mosque preserves the strand of hair of Prophet Muhammad. The aura of this place is more captivating in the evening lights.
6. Salar Jung Museum
Salar Jung Museum is an art and history lover’s paradise. It is one of the notable National Museums of India and one of the largest museums in the world. The museum houses a rich collection of artefacts, sculptures, carvings, paintings textiles, weapons, manuscripts, carpets, vintage clocks and vintage furniture from many countries. These items are from over 33 countries and are displayed in 38 galleries of the museum.
Prized possessions include, musical clock, Veiled Rebecca, double sculpture of Mephistopheles, and Margareta, walking sticks with animal heads, a collection of 600 coins from different eras, paintings by M.F. Hussain, Raja Ravi Verma and Rabindranath Tagore, and ivory furniture and artefacts.
If peeping into the bygone eras is your cup of tea, you will absolutely love this place.
7. Falaknuma Palace
Falaknuma Palace is a beautiful Palace of Nizam that houses his rich collection of souvenirs he collected from places around the world during his travels. This treasured collection includes furniture, manuscripts, books, artefacts and rare paintings. The palace itself is an architectural marvel. It has beautiful manicured gardens, marble staircase, huge library, rosewood dining table with a capacity of hosting more than 100 guests, and Venetian chandeliers. This huge palace has 220 rooms and 22 halls. Falaknuma Palace offers a glimpse into the luxurious and glamorous life of the Nizam era. Although the palace is one of the iconic places to visit in Hyderabad, it is not open to general public. There are two ways to visit the Falaknuma Palace.
- You can either book a tour of the palace in advance through Hyderabad Tourism. The tour is combined with an evening tea at the Palace and the visitors can also explore this captivating palace.
- The palace is leased to the Taj Group of Hotels. So, the second option is that you visit their restaurant for a lunch, and they will allow you to roam around and explore the palace. This option is a little costly affair though.
I hope I was able to trigger your curiosity to explore more of this beautiful city of Hyderabad. Please leave a comment below about your thoughts on this post. Thank you for reading.