A multitude of influences, has shaped the character of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. Its palaces and buildings, gardens and streets, all steeped in History, with an architectural individuality, makes Hyderabad an enchanting 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 Muhamad 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 civilisation 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.
Hyderabad is fairly warm throughout the year. Temperatures do, however, marginally come down in winter. December nights are cool. The city of Hyderabad is spread around Hussain Saagar, the largest of the lakes.
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 structure here show mixed Indian and Mughal architectural styles. The monument is now permanently closed.
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 shoppers 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 everything at Laad Bazaar. The Mehboob Chowk, a torpid looking quadrangle with an imposing tower in the middle, marks the end of the Bazaar.
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.
Salar Jung Museum
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 Tipu Sultan.
Standing atop a 200 feet high hillock, 5 kms from the Charminar, the Faluknama 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 traveller, 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.
Nagarjunasagar is indeed a temple of modern India, about 150 km from Hyderabad. Seventeen centuries ago, here flourished a city called Vijayapuri, a centre 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.
This university was started in 1917, by the Nizam of Hyderabad, in a temporary building. In 1939, the university was given a permanent building and today its campus is one of the largest in India.
Next to Char Minar, is the Mecca Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the world and is said to accomodate upto 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.
Situated in the midst of a man-made lake, Nagarjunakonda is, in a shape of a vihara (monastery). The museum houses a stupendous collection of relics of Buddhist art and culture. The main stupa of Nagarjunakonda called Mahachaitya, is believed to contain the sacred relics of Buddha. A partly ruined monolithic statue of the Buddha, which is a striking image of peace and poise, is the chief attraction of the museum.
Vidhan Sabha Bhavan
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.
Ramoji Film City
Ramoji Film City, the land of films and fantasy, where dreams turn into reality. A strong favourite of the film industry. This is the worlds 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 unbeleivable 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.
This lake was build in 1562. The largest of the lakes of Hyderabad, around which the city is spread, was built by King Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah in gratitude to Hussain Shah Wali.