Hyderabad: Vibrant & Vivacious
Shamila Rafat, who is presently in Hyderabad, shares her impression of the City of Nizams and the fascination that the place holds for others
Hyderabad! Known best for biryani and Charminar, the city has indeed much more than just that. The city of Nizams shares its name with Hyder Mahal, the wife of the founder of the city, that is, Quli Qutub Shah. Currently, Hyderabad is the capital of both the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. An arrangement that, in place for the transitional phase, shall continue till the year 2025; after which Amaravati shall be the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Hyderabad has much to offer. In addition to many gastronomical delights, there are several other points of interest as well. The city has something for everyone.
Prominent points of interest in the city
Charminar: No matter whatever new developments the city goes through, Charminar shall always remain the first monument associated with Hyderabad. Towering over the bustling Laad Bazaar, Charminar is an imposing sight indeed. For tourists, no trip to Hyderabad can be considered complete without a visit to this monument. Renowned as the City of Pearls, Hyderabad has a great variety where it comes to pearl jewellery. The various shops in Laad Bazaar have the widest range possible in bangles and pearls. Both traditional designs like the seven-lined satlada as well as modernistic designs can easily be found here. While the shops in the shoppers’ paradise are open from 11 in the morning to around 10:30 in the night, business is usually dull in the early hours. Haggling is an absolute must while shopping in Laad Bazaar. The best time to visit is the evening when one can climb to the top of Charminar in the relatively cooler atmosphere and admire the view. Nimrah Café and Bakery near Charminar offers probably the best tea that can be had in Hyderabad. Along with some really good tea, you can partake of an assortment of biscuits, such as Osmania, jam, chand and fruit biscuit.
Salar Jung Museum: Enjoying a place of pride among the largest museums in the world and being one of the three national museums in India, Salar Jung Museum is also hailed as the largest one-person collection of antiques and artifacts. Belonging to the personal collection of Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad’s prime minister, the collections in his ancestral Diwan Deodi were showcased in a private museum inaugurated in 1951 by Jawaharlal Nehru. It was much later that the museum came to be shifted to its current location. The museum timings are from 10 in the morning till 5 in the evening, with Friday being a holiday.
Necklace Road & Tank Bund: Tank Bund, a famous artificial lake in Hyderabad, has a beautiful road lined with trees which is referred to as Necklace Road. The reason behind naming the boulevard Necklace Road is that the same looks just like a necklace from an aerial view. There are many other attractions near Tank Bund as well, such as – a statue of Gautam Buddha in the centre of the lake; Patton Tank from the Indo-Pak war of 1971; many public gardens like Sanjeevaiah Park, Lumbini Park and NTR Gardens; Birla Mandir; Prasad’s IMAX that has the largest 3D IMAX screen in the world; and as many as 34 bronze statues of prominent and notable personages of united Andhra Pradesh.
Ramoji Film City: Founded in 1996, Ramoji Film City holds the unique distinction of being the largest integrated film city in the world, and holds a Guinness World Record for the same. A theme-based holiday destination, it has indeed much to offer. Along with imposing film sets and other artificial attractions, there are also a number of natural attractions as well in the sprawling 2000 acres premises. At Ramoji Film City, the average footfall per year is estimated to be above a million tourists. To cater to the preferences of the multifarious tourists that visit Ramoji Film City, different kinds of packages are available. While the park timings are from 9:00 am to 8:30 pm, there are individual time slots for the various packages.
Golconda Fort: Located around 11 kilometres from the city of Hyderabad and approximately 9 kilometres from Hussain Sagar Lake, Golconda Fort is an imposing fortress complex. Built in 1143 as a mud fort on a hilltop, Golconda Fort was later fortified. The most impressive feature of the fort is the brilliant acoustics at the Fateh Darwaza. Clapping of hands at a specific point within the domed entrance causes a reverberation which can be heard from the pavilion at the top of the hill. Built initially to serve as a warning for intruders or a threat, presently the acoustics are a source of great delight for tourists. Golconda Fort can be visited from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Chowmahalla Palace: Chowmahalla Palace literally means “Four Palaces”. Located near Charminar, being a palace of the Hyderabad Nizams, all ceremonial functions related to the state were held there. The main attraction, often also called the heart, of Chowmahalla Palace is the Khilwat Mubarak. Durbar Hall has many pillars as well as a platform made of pure pristine marble on which the royal seat, Takht-e-Nishaan, was laid. The hall also has 19 breathtakingly beautiful chandeliers made of Belgian crystal which have been a recent addition to further enhance the beauty of the palace.
Hyderabad also has much to offer for the gourmands amongst us. As the city is a confluence of various cultures, the food in Hyderabad reflects the same. From well-known multinational chains to authentic Arabic cuisine on one hand, and from South Indian food to Turkish cuisine on the other; there is indeed much on the platter, so to speak.
Some of the best places to indulge in gluttony are:
Imperial Multi-Cuisine Restaurant. Locates at Saidabad, the restaurant offers the best where it comes to Hyderabadi Biryani.
Mataam Abu Faisal. Recently opened at Chandrayanagutta, the restaurant offers a wide range of Arabic dishes, at affordable prices.
Hot N Tasty Chicken Shawarma. Do not be fooled by the unassuming interiors or the compactness of the shop, the shawarma made here is the best in Hyderabad. Taste it to believe it!
While there are innumerable restaurants offering good and assorted dishes, the above-mentioned, though comparatively lesser known, rank among the highest in the taste quotient.
Best Time to Visit
The ideal period to visit Hyderabad would be between October to March. The months of April and May can be quite hot, with temperatures often touching the 45 degrees mark. On the other hand, June to September can be quite humid owing to the monsoon season.
All said and done, indeed Hyderabad has something for everyone. Those interested in history will surely be enticed by the many monuments dotted across the city. Fashionistas will be allured by the beautiful lacquer jewellery in the lanes that constitute Laad Bazaar. Similarly, movie buffs can live out their Bollywood or Tollywood dreams at Ramoji Film City; and people with food on their minds can indulge their taste buds at various big and small eateries in the city. Hyderabad makes you fall in love with itself. Come, experience the magic and see for yourself!