What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Hyderabad? If it is just IT or information technology, then this post is for you. Coz Hyderabad is a lot more than just IT. With tons of culture, history and parks surrounding it, this place is an amazing tourist destination. Not just sight seeing, Hyderabad is a paradise for the foodies as well – what with the famed Hyderabadi biryani and salan. To explore Hyderabad, 2-3 days is not enough and you will soon see why as I run you through some quick highlights of the city for the tourists.
Have been there numerous times but each time, I discover something fascinating and new. It would advisable to engage a guide here, as there are plenty of hidden treasures that you need to spot within the fort.
The Fort has an amazing history. This place is known for its acoustic splendors – there is a point at the entrance from where the sound of a hand clap can be heard almost a kilometre away at the highest point of the fort. This used to be a warning system during the glory days and is still, demonstrated by the guides. Within the fort, one can visit the various structures – from the Queen’s pavilion to the Darbar hall. The Taramati pavilion, where the famous dancer used to perform, is visible from the top of the fort. There is a light and sound show that is available at the fort in the evenings. This is definitely recommended, as it helps re-live the glory days of the Fort.
There are some underground tunnels, one of which is closed but is said to lead right up to the Charminar. This one is currently blocked but it is said that it is quite high, enough for a horseman to ride through it.
Another interesting titbit about the fort is that this used to be a home to the famed Kohinoor and Hope diamonds. Enroute to the Fort, you can visit the Qutub Shahi Tombs and the Taramati Baradari. This entire expedition will require one complete day as the Fort itself is around 12 kms from the main city.
Though this is not an official website, you can get the details on the timings and entry fees here.
Not known to many, but this is the palace where the guests were entertained by the Nizams. The Chowmahalla Palace is a walkable distance from the Charminar, close to the Laad Bazaar. Converted into a museum, you can walk through and experience the grandeur of the various balls rooms – all restored with their chandeliers and furniture. The décor is quite opulent and well maintained. The place hosts a collection of artifacts, crockery, weapons and more.
Don’t miss the musical Grandfather’s clock on display. Very intricately designed, this showcases a complete durbar scene. Every second the fan bearers move the fan. Every minute the Nizam/ King moves his head sideways, Every 15 minutes the curtain behind on the balcony depicted rises and comes down and in addition to the lovely piano tune, the hammer man sounds a gong every hour. Have a look at the video below (Please ignore the commentary in the background ;-))
The highlight of the place is the display of the Vintage cars – from a Harley to Rolls Royce, you can see them all.
Here it the official website for this palace. Do check on timings before heading there.
The Purani Haveli is the Nizam’s museum where his personal belongings have been kept on display. The spotlight here is on the Walk-In Wardrobe, which is two wings long. It is said that the Nizam never repeated his clothes and would give them away after wearing them once. Some of his clothes, jewellery and accessories are on display.
Attached to the wardrobe, is a hand-operated elevator.Though the collection is beautiful, the display is not very impressive with its poor organization and low lights. However, the sheer history would make you want to visit it at least once. Click here for the official website.
One of the largest museums in India, this place is a treasure trove of antiques, some of which date back to 1st Century. The Museum is a home to the collections of Salarjung III, who belonged the Nawab family that served the Nizams as prime minister. The Nawab was a connoisseur of art and décor and many rare treasures, not just from India but from Europe find a place in this collection. There is a famed musical clock that is kept in a courtyard for public viewing. A crowd gathers around various “O” clocks to view the same. This is quite similar to the one I mentioned earlier at the Chowmahalla Palace. However, I personally, found the other one (Chowmahalla Palace) much more interesting.
Besides the clock, look out for the Veiled Rebecca statue as well. (see the picture above)
For timings and any other information, follow this link to the official website of the museum.
Ramoji Film City
Located on the outskirts of Hyderabad city, this is a leisure theme destination, which has something for everyone. Widely used as movie locations, the park offers themed gardens, shows, amusement rides and more. The themed gardens are quite unique and well maintained – a definite place to click memories and preserve them for life.
Bus rides to this place can be arranged by various tours and travels in the city. Reserve a complete day for the same or choose to stay back in one of their hotels for the night to make the most of this place. Here is the official website that allows you some online booking as well.
Besides the highlights that I have mentioned in this blog, one can also, visit the beautiful zoo, the Snow city, Birla Temple and Planetarium, Charminar and more. And don’t forget to sample the amazing Hyderabadi biryani – Paradise Biryani being a suggested location.
Travel Tips for Hyderabad:
Carry a lot of sunscreen and use the same all along. Hyderabad tends to be hot throughout the year, though November – February is quite bearable.
Keep aside a complete day each for the Golconda fort and Ramoji film city
Local transport by way of autos and taxis are easily available in Hyderabad for all attractions mentioned. They are quite reasonable and one can make use of them for internal travel.
Check up on all timings for the attractions to plan your visit better. Most of them are shut on one particular day of the week.
There are some lovely stonework jewelry and bangles that are worth taking back as gifts. You can find them at the Laad bazaar for sure. Remember to bargain well.