Hyderabad- rich in its legacy of being the Land of the Nizams and exotic in its grandiose as the City of Pearls, sinful in being the home to the most sumptuous biryanis ever and equally delightful in its amazing natural presence and heritage identity. Be it in its culture or cuisine, its repertoire of rich histories or a city full of wonders, Hyderabad wows one and all with its diversity. The city presents an eclectic mix of the new and the old, of the royal and the common, weaving along its threads a canvas of colors and emotions, all held together by a pride in its stellar past continuing well into the present. Here’s the many amazing places you need to visit while in Hyderabad for you to be completely in love with this dazzling City of Pearls-
One of the most popular shopping places in Hyderabad, located adjacent to the equally iconic Charminar is the Laad Bazaar. Deriving its name from its many lacquered bangles, the one kilometer long shopping strip is a delight for those who love to lose themselves in the hustle and bustle of quaint, buzzing shops. Quite an old market, in existence since the times of the Qutub Shahis and the Nizams, laad bazaar is also popular as choodi bazaar after the bangles for which it is famous. Everything enticing and sparkly will greet you from every nook and corner of this aesthetic place. From semi precious stones, pearls and jewelry to gold embroidered fabrics, silverware, paintings in distinctive Indian art styles like Kalamkari, traditional Khara dupattas, Laad Bazaar is no less than a treasure haven for lovers of things that shine.
Being in the City of Pearls and not witnessing its radiant shine in the iconic Charminar is not something you should associate with your Hyderabad visit. As the popular tourist destination that Hyderabad is for a lot of things, there is absolutely no missing out on the Charminar when it comes to attractions. In being known globally as a symbol of Hyderabad, the Charminar is also amongst the most recognized structures in India. Standing tall and might in the centre of the city with its four striking minarets, the Charminar is also majestic in its architecture, being famous as the Arc de Triomphe of the east.
Encompassing a mosque apart from its distinct ornate minarets, the Charminar is a heritage site in the city and is therefore one of its must visit attractions. In its grandeur of being an architectural masterpiece and its allure of a beauty held as much in spirituality as in vision, the Charminar beckons one and all to set foot in its homeland of Hyderabad for an unforgettable experience.
Among the major wonders of Hyderabad are another architectural specimen so unique that instantly catch attention with their detail. These are the Paigah tombs that present a compelling blend of Asaf jah and Rajputani style of architecture. A marvelous piece of artistry in marble lost in time, the tombs are unique in their geometrical designs with the perforated screens presenting an exemplary depiction of fine craftsmanship. In their sublime beauty that comes to life in their intricate designs, it indeed is remarkable that each of these tombs come with their own distinctive design. Incredibly rich in its delicate carvings and uniquely synthesising of notable designs from different styles of architecture, the Paigah Tombs might be lesser prominent in featuring in a Hyderabad itinerary but are one of the absolute exquisitical marvels of the City of Pearls.
Ramoji Film City
The largest studio complex in the world as per the Guinness World Records, Ramoji Film City is another attraction in Hyderabad that is almost synonyous to it. A popular tourism and recreation centre, containing natural and artificial attractions including an amusement park, there however is also another facet to this world famous studio that makes it all the more exciting a place to explore.
While this famous spot in the City of Pearls might be known for the larger than life extravagance it lends to stories on the silver screen but the ghostly encounters it houses in its confines is equally well known. From spotlights falling on their own to men being pushed and women’s clothes being torn off, eerie encounters run rampant among people who have experienced the ghastly occurrences in Ramoji first hand. Either as a phenomenal film city or even as one of the most haunted places in India, Ramoji is every bit worthy of a Hyderabad visit.
Nehru Zoo Park
Named after the first Prime Minister of independent India Jawaharlal Nehru, the Hyderabad Zoo is also one of the largest zoos in India. An expanse of about 153 hectares make up this zoo park in the City of Pearls which is one of the most visited places in Hyderabad. With about 1100 animals that make up some 100 of the species it houses, the Nehru Zoological Park’s locational proximity with the Mir Alam tank also makes it quite a haven for migratory and exotic birds thereby furthering its appeal among tourists and nature enthusiasts alike. A special feature of the zoo has to be its nocturnal park that also makes it quite a hit with tourists and visitors alike.
In being the Palace of the Nizams, the Chowmahallat assumes prominence as being one of the must visit places in Hyderabad. Literally meaning four palaces, the iconic palace has been the recipient of the UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation that furthers Hyderabad’s prestige on UNESCO listings. In being the UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy as well, Hyderabad extends well beyond its glitter of being the City of Pearls. And the elegant Chowmahalla Palace sure does more to amp up such spectacular distinctions.
In its splendid style of architectural amalgamation, the Palace boasts of a grandeur that is second to none. Delicate in its artwork yet imposing in the structure, Chowmahallat conjures up a vision of the lavish erstwhile royalty that bequeathed its extravagant premises. In each of its four palaces the Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal as well as in its heart Khilwat Mubarak, as also a host of Mughal domes and arches, the Chowmahalla Palace is an enduring epitome of grace and grandeur all encompassed into one.
A namesake of the first and the famous Necklace Road in Mumbai’s Marine Drive, this boulevard in Hyderabad indeed somewhat personifies the city’s reputation as the City of Pearls. Running through the city premises in gay abandon in its housing of many restaurants, recreational facilities et al, the Necklace Road also offers a spectacular view of the city making it also quite a good spot to hangout. With the heart shaped expanse of watery prettiness, the Hussain Sagar Lake adjoining it, the Necklace Road indeed does span out like a necklace when seen from above. Quite a sight to devour in its picturesque rendition of Hyderabad, the road makes for one must visit place in the city.
Qutb Shahi Tombs
One of the oldest heritage sites in Hyderabad are the Qutb Shahi tombs that contain the tombs and mosques built by the various kings of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. A large cluster of tombs that stand on a raised platform, the Qutb Shahi tombs present an architectural style that is a distinctive blend of Indian and Persian influences. In their intricate carving of stonework and golden spires mounted on top, they stand out very prominently in housing the last remains of the erstwhile rulers. The most extensive and best epigraphically documented of all Indo- Muslim dynastic necropolis in India as recognised by UNESCO, the Qutb Shahi tombs indeed make for a star heritage attraction in Hyderabad.
In it being the stemming place from where the legacy of being the City of Pearls came to rest upon Hyderabad, Golconda is of tremendous importance to the city. And so is the Golconda Fort that is an important archaeological treasure of India. In its four distinct forts spread across a massive area, the fort is an architectural wonder in its holistic encompassment. The apartments, halls, temples, mosques, gradens and even stables housed inside the fort gleam of a rich heritage that has been characterising Hyderabad throughout the years.
However, architecture apart, the Golconda fort is also as popular for its magical acoustic system as it is in housing such wonders that are lesser known. From secret tunnels to some Qutb Shahi tombs, the fort is one of the most majestic places you can visit in Hyderabad, that reinstates once again its identity as being a land of the wealthy Nizams at some point of time in the past.
Salar Jung Museum
A city steeped in the richness of its royal heritage, Hyderabad boasts also one of the three National Museums of India. The Salar Jung Museum is a prime attraction in the City of Pearls that which extends beyond its popularity just within Hyderabad to emerge also as one of the largest museums in the world. From sculptures and paintings to artifacts and manuscripts as well as textiles and furniture from all over the world, this century and a quarter old museum houses some of the most impeccable art pieces to entice art enthusiasts and tourists alike into its wondrous folds.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
The Nagarjuna Sagar Dam might not be located in Hyderabad but it still is an amazing place to visit when in the City of Pearls. A popular weekend getaway from the city, this largest masonry dam in the world remains seated amidst spectacular natural beauty. Picturesque in its essence and with a wide scope of relaxation revelry in fold, this among the many dams in India is not to be missed for its non heritage nut no less significant prominence.
A lake of pristinity that lies hidden between various granite rocks, Durgam Cheruvu near Hyderabad is definitely a place worth exploring. Also known as Secret Lake, the spot however now is a popular tourist attraction with recreational activities like fishing and boating offering ample relaxation to visitors. With also adventure activities like rock climbing, trekking, rappelling in tow, the lake is really a buzz of eventful enjoyment. Also unique in being a lake surrounded by some 2500 million years old granite rocks, the Durgam Cheruvu stands out in being a natural treasure trove of beauty amidst the many heritage ruins and presences in the City of Pearls Hyderabad.
Hyderabad is home also to one of India’s largest mosques, the Mecca Masjid. Located in close proximity to other historic landmarks the masjid itself is a landmark resplendent in historical legacy. With soil from the holy Mecca making up the bricks that went into the construction of the central arch of masjid more than three centuries ago, the Makkah Masjid is a holy presence itself. In its rectangular, arched, and canopied building that serves as the entrance as well as in its three arched facades that have been carved from a single piece of granite, the mosque is as striking a rendition of architectural brilliance as well.