Rich Nizami culture and authenticity are USPs of Hyderabad. We bring the Best of Hyderabad. From places to see, things to do, where to shop, eat & more. Feel regal as you travel on these historical streets.
Here’s the best of Hyderabad:
Places to see
The famous Golconda Fort, which is a true example of exquisiteness as well as immaculate civil engineering, must top your list of must-visits. Don’t miss the sound and light show that narrates the history of the fort. Situated 1 kilometre away from the Golconda Fort are the Qutb Shahi Tombs. With more than 20 tombs erected at one place, this architectural marvel is a solemn reminder of the glorious kings that once ruled the city. Another place worth visiting is the famous Charminar, which boasts of four striking minarets. Chowmahalla Palace makes for pretty photographs. The Taramati Baradari and the Falaknuma Palace are also worth exploring.
If you’re curious to learn about the city’s royal past, then a visit to the famous Salar Jung Museum is a must. Home to over 45,000 historical artefacts, the museum also hosts paintings, carvings and sculptures from different countries. For a taste of the Nizams’ legacy, visit the City Museum and AP State Museum. The Birla Science Museum is also worth touring.
Lakes and Parks
The Hussain Sagar Lake, which is famous for the 19-metre tall Buddha statue that stands right in the middle, is perfect for an evening stroll or a boating trip. Some of the other must-visit lakes are Osman Sagar and the Durgam Cheruvu. Famous parks like NTR Gardens, Indira Park and Lumbini Park are also worth discovering.
The Makkah Masjid, famed for its symmetry and gateway bricks, believed to be from Makkah, is a popular choice among Muslim tourists. Hyderabad’s famous temples also include the Birla Mandir (that comes with a lovely view of the city), the Ratnalayam temple and the Sri Lakshminarasimha Swamy Temple. St Joseph’s Cathedral in the Gun Foundry area has beautifully carved marble altars, statuettes, oil paintings and bas-reliefs.
Hyderabad also offers a variety of fun places to visit, especially with your children. The famous Sudha Car Museum, which has a unique collection of cars and bikes, is worth seeing. You can also spend an entire day at the Ramoji Film City to experience the magic of cinema and more. Kids will also enjoy a visit to the Nehru Zoological Park that’s home to a variety of animals, birds and aquatic species.
Things to do
Shop for pearls
Not just in India, but the city of Hyderabad is renowned worldwide for its distinct variety of pearls. If you’re on the lookout for some original pearl jewellery then do visit Princess Pearls, Sri Jagadamba Pearls, Krishna Pearls and Mangatrai Jewellery. Not just pearls, but you can also splurge on clothes at Jubilee and Banjara Hills, lac bangles at Laad Bazaar, antiques at Murgi Chowk and ittar at the Perfume market.
Eat Hyderabadi Biryani
Biryani is an intoxicating mix of basmati rice, mutton or chicken, yoghurt, onions and spices like saffron, coriander, mace, kewra (or pandan) and in some cases cardamom as well. Traditionally served with Mirchi ka Salan and Raita, this is one finger licking dish you just cannot afford to miss. Try the biryani at Paradise for a traditional taste of the dish.
See the Charminar
A must-see in Hyderabad is the famous Charminar, which is a true example of the grand Indo-Islamic architectural history of the city. The Charminar was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah to thank God for ending the plague that was ravaging this city. You can visit this monument during the day or at night – regardless don’t forget to walk up the spiral staircase for a stunning view of the city.
Visit the Golconda Fort
Built in 1591, the Golconda Fort consists of four distinct forts spread across an area of 11 kilometres. Legend has it that a hand clap at a given point at the entrance resonates and can be heard at the ‘Bala Hisar’ pavilion, almost a kilometre away, serving as a warning note during times of war. Don’t miss the sensational light and sound show – voiced by superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
Experience Ramoji Film City
A film studio with back lots, streetscapes, sound stages, warehouses, post-production facilities, hotels and restaurants, this film city was set up by producer Ramoji Rao in 1996. The film city is home to famous attractions like the red London bus, a replica of the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower, a Mumbai slum and Mysore’s Brindavan gardens. Ramoji serves as a great picnic spot if you want to make a day of it.
Where to shop
Hyderabad is known the world over as the City of Pearls and anyone who visits should stop by Mangatrai Jewellery. This family-owned business has been around for more than a century and their collection includes natural pearls, black Tahitian pearls and white and golden-hued South Sea Pearls. The city is also famed for bidri work, a metal craft featuring intricate silver inlay work. This art form originated in Iran and came to India in the 14th century. The family-run Bidri Crafts is one of the city’s oldest creators of this art form.
If you are looking for an immersive ethnic experience, the Shiparaman Crafts Village is the place to go. Created with the aim for preserving traditional crafts, this 65-acre complex houses stalls selling textiles, handicrafts, and food stalls selling traditional cuisine. For added excitement, stay on for the night bazaar with live performances. For a bewildering variety of the things Hyderabad is famous for, visit Laad Bazaar where you can pick up the city’s famous lac bangles.
With the kind of history Hyderabad does, it’s a given that there are winding lanes in bazaars that will make you channel your inner Indiana Jones. Explore the many exotic delights of the Perfume Market, where rows of shops will entice you with heady fragrances. If you want to shop for saris featuring the traditional kalamkari or pochampalli, visit Abids, a commercial hub, where the shops have large varieties at competitive prices.
Whether it’s for clothes, old books, antiques, or silver jewllery, street shopping in Hyderabad has something for everyone. Explore the crowded streets of Sultan Bazaar where you can score great bargains on shoes, clothes, jewellery and handicrafts. Visit Koti for the widest selection of books, magazines, and comic books. You can also find electronics and textiles here.
It’s not just exotica and history in Hyderabad. The city is home to some high-end malls including GVK One, which has an illuminated aquarium, leading international high street brands, and even a Fun House for kids. For a different kind of upscale experience, try Angasutra in Banjara Hills, for the latest collections of designers like Varun Bahl, JJ Valaya and Gaurav Gupta.
What to eat
The Nawabs of Hyderabad were great connoisseurs of food, and the royal flavours that emerged out of their opulent kitchens remain the soul of Hyderabadi cuisine. The first place to step foot in Hyderabad is the famous Paradise Food Court. Known for its delectable ‘Dum’ Biryanis, Paradise has taken the city’s passion for biryani to an all new level. Do put the Haleem served at Pista House on your must-eat list. This porridge made from wheat and meat slow-cooked for hours, topped with dry fruits is a popular delicacy. Other popular choices for local flavours are Kholanis, Ulavacharu and Firdaus.
If you want a taste of Keema Samosas, Luqmis, Paaya, Boti Kebabs, Nihari and more, make your way to the Purani Haveli area of Old Hyderabad. Apart from these Hyderabadi delicacies, don’t miss Munshi’s famous square or char koni naan. Hyderabad is also a heaven for sweet lovers. Hameedi Sweets’ Jouzi Halwa is a must-try. Apart from that do taste the famous Khubani ka Meetha, Shahi Tukra, Sheer Khurma and Badam ki Jali served in most restaurants. Dosa and Idli lovers, do visit Nampally’s Ram Ki Bandi.
Despite the onslaught from various coffee shops, the famous Irani Chai still remains one of the city’s mainstays. Served with some delicious Osmania biscuits, four excellent venues to sip a bracing cup of Irani Chai are: Farasha at Shah Ali Banda Road, Shahrah and Café Nimrah near Makkah Masjid and Café Niloufer at Lakdipul.
When in Hyderabad, don’t judge a restaurant by its look. They may not have plush interiors, but you’ll be surprised by the delicacies that come out of their kitchens. Tolichowki’s famous Shah Ghouse Restaurant, Ghansi Bazaar’s Hotel Shadab and Malakpet’s Hotel Savera offer some delicious Hyderabadi treats at affordable prices. Also, do pay a visit to the famous Karachi Bakery for some yummilicious cashew biscuits and more.
If you’re in a mood to splurge and want to experience the royal taste of Hyderabad then some of the best restaurants are: Jewel of Nizam in Gandipet, Adaa in Taj Falaknuma Palace and Kangan in The Westin, Hitech City.