Things To Do In Hyderabad
Nestled in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh, the city of Hyderabad has an extensive collection of old fortifications, sacred temples, grand palaces, museums, promenade parks, and other marvels of engineering and architecture that can only be seen in this more than 400-year-old city in India. Hyderabad is a picturesque city that is rich with Hindu and Islamic influences. The first visible landmark is the Charminar, a majestic triumphal arch built on four columns and topped with a tall minaret. Right next to it stands one of the largest mosques in the world - the Mecca Masjid.
When To Go:
The months of October to March are considered the perfect time to visit the city. While the weather is truly pleasant in the month of October, you may discover a percentage of the days that are lightly overcast. The winter season starts from the month of November and proceeds till February. The normal temperature amid this time period ranges from 84 down to 57. This is really perfect for landmark tours, mountain excursions, and other sightseeing activities.
The humid months of March to May constitute the summer season with April and May being the most arid months of the year. Going around the city might be extremely exhausting because of the temperature that goes all the way up to 113 degrees. Be sure to bring enough drinking water and keep yourself hydrated if you explore the city in that kind of heat.
These are the top things to do when in the city of Hyderabad:
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Taj Falaknuma Palace
To visit the Taj Falaknuma Palace there are only two possibilities, either you live there or you make an online reservation for lunch, dinner, or tea. At the gate you will be frisked by the guards, then it’s a few minutes by car to the actual entrance. It is very large and your things will be thoroughly checked again by the security staff. From there you will be transported either by coach or golf cart to the palace; on the way you will pass through a beautiful garden. At the palace, you can already admire the great facade.
The reception and welcoming committee then makes its way into the palace courtyard/garden area, which has a great view of Hyderabad. Climb the grandiose stairs that go into the actual complex. In the entrance area you can already see the wonderful facilities, furniture, paintings, and exhibits -- all in very good condition.
With the resident tour guide, you can have access to all the rooms on the ground floor. The bathroom is actually very interesting because it has a bathtub with lots of jets that can even spray perfume. Then climb the elegant staircase to the first floor, where a great terrace view awaits you. On this floor are very large rooms where all the displayed exhibits are priceless and beautiful; then the tour proceeds into a huge dining room, where a very long table for 60 people is the main attraction.
After the tour, you come back through the ground floor on the other side by passing through a small garden area for lunch / dinner / high tea area which opens onto a large terrace. In any case, the high tea is delicious -- the little delicacies that are served along with it are of good quality and not cheap. The palace tour is highly recommended and you can combine the tour with a visit to the nearby Chowmahalla Palace and Purani Haveli Palace.
The Birla Mandir is a beautiful Hindu temple that is all made of marble. It is one of the “must see” attractions in Hyderabad. Unfortunately, it is forbidden to bring cameras and cell phones, and shoes must be left at the entrance. It is a place of worship and meditation in the midst of a busy city. This is one of the interesting points in Hyderabad where you can soak up the Hindu culture and admire their reverence to the faith. Take time to visit the small temple situated on the hill within its premises. Walk barefoot inside and be astonished by the idols you can find in every corner of the temple whose dome is visible from all parts of the city.
The Chowmahalla Palace is an amazing place that you have to see when in Hyderabad. Open to the public since 2005, this palace provides a glimpse of how the Nizam monarchy once lived and ruled this city. Everything is the ultimate level of luxury and refinement. In addition, a major effort has been invested in the restoration, preservation, and the overall cleanliness of the palace. The rooms offer architectural wonders of marble finishing and ornate decorations. A special part of the garage highlights the Rolls Royce collection of the Nizam family.
It is the best place to visit when the outdoor heat wave prevails during summer. Enjoy the shade of the gardens and the milder climate around the fountain. There is no guide, but the plates and the photos give a good idea of the life of the royal family. Established more than 200 years ago, this palace now serves as an event venue that is available for rent on special occasions -- conferences, wedding receptions, cultural events, and trade exhibitions.
Salar Jung Museum
The Salar Jung Museum offers amazing collections that are stunning in both beauty and diversity. This museum contains fabulous treasures and immense collections made by a single man. Some are unfortunately misrepresented and poorly lit. In contrast, however, there are other exhibits that are presented with great refinement.
The Japanese, European expo, French art works, the crafts and the excellent collection of ivories and jade are just a few of the highlights of this interesting museum. If you want to bring in your camera, you need to pay additional an entrance fee for the camera alone. The entrance guards are quite strict and you need to pass through a scanner to gain entrance to this modern museum.
The Golconda Fort is a historic site that is beautifully landscaped and a must-see when visiting Andhra Pradesh. Half a day is needed to fully enjoy the place. Please note, the terrain is quite rough and is located on a site of almost 25 square miles. Despite being well appointed with well-marked ramps, this steep site is inaccessible to people with disabilities.
Bring good shoes because you have to climb and descend several hundred stone steps that are uneven and sometimes slippery. This imposing castle holds an extensive set of fortifications with certain elements that are still well preserved and constantly renovated. You should come early in the morning and during the weekdays if possible to avoid the crowds.
The fort is unique and it is great to explore every corner while enjoying the view of Hyderabad. The entrance fee is minimal and allows you to see all the beauty of the ancient civilization. The full tour takes a minimum of about 2 hours.
The Charminar is one of the main attractions of the city that once served as the gateway of India in Mumbai. Go up and explore the Charminar (Char means four and Minar means minaret in the Indian language). The marketplace can be found along its base and you will find many bazaars and shops. Located in the middle of the square, the surrounding area is teeming with life with a mix of colors and scents. It is good to walk through the streets crowded with motorbikes and rickshaws, street traders, shops of sarees, and jewelers.
There are lots of monuments to see around this area, but the minaret with four towers is the most unique attraction and the view from the top is very impressive. From there you can watch the hustle and bustle of the excellent old town and shoot a lot of great photos. Only the dense traffic around Charminar is a bit annoying as it really goes everywhere and can be a real challenge.
Nonetheless, the Charminar is still one of the most visited places in Hyderabad. It is a great place to haggle for traditional bracelets and is located very close to the Mecca Masjid, which means you can do two important visits in the same area. Take time to walk on the main street, you will find very interesting things like fabrics, and handmade perfumes that are made of good quality oils and scents. On Sundays, most of the shops here are closed.
Sudha Cars Museum
The Sudha Cars Museum is a small place, but packed with wacky inventions having something to do with ground transportation. It is a pleasant interlude between visits to the ruins, temples, old town and cultural museums in Hyderabad. The selection here is comprised basically of vintage autos and cars that are redesigned and made to appear like unusual objects, but functional like any other vehicle on the road; a double decker bus, a desktop PC, camera, hamburger, suitcase, king-size bed, cup & saucer, basketball, football, golf ball, and a toilet seat. The guides tell the story behind each creation and there is a picture of the owner (Mr. Sudhakar) driving these peculiar vehicle creations on the busy roads of Hyderabad.
This unusual museum houses the tallest tricycle in the world (recognized by the Guinness World of Records). The kids usually enjoy and are eager to see every vehicle that is exhibited in this museum. It is an incredible experience and you do look forward to the next piece -- and the most amazing part is that every vehicle displayed here, sometimes looking like a toy -- is in excellent driving condition. The only downside of this gallery is the location, because it is quite far and lacks proper road signs that would lead more easily to this secluded attraction.
Qutab Shahi Tombs
This attraction shelters a row of beautiful royal tombs scattered in a vast park. It is better to come in the morning and during the week to enjoy a quiet visit to this solemn but famous cemetery. Some renovations are underway to preserve the important parts of the Qutab Shahi Tombs. If you get tired of reading the headstones and epitaphs of the famous personalities of Hyderabad that are buried here, there is a small museum within the premises that is also interesting to visit. The mausoleum of the Shahi Family is one of the most visited tombs inside this old cemetery.
The Mecca Masjid is not only the oldest mosque in Hyderabad; it is also one of the most imposing religious structures in the city. Fifteen equally distributed arches support the Masjid, and a grandiose wall covers its western side. The general layout was patterned after the Grand Mosque in the city of Mecca -- and some of the foundation stones were actually brought from Mecca for its construction. The octagonal granite columns that stabilize the sides of the mosque are equally impressive.
If you want to enter, you must go to the west side of the road and line up along with the other guests. Wear modest clothing (both for men and women) as a sign of respect to the faith and the place. Long sleeves and non-denim pants are required for the guys, while a head cover (hijab) and pretty full covering is required for women. Shoes, cameras, and phones must be left with the security personnel at the entrance. The tour begins with a visit to the tomb of Nizam. Then you can investigate the hidden passageway of the mosque. Non-Muslim visitors are not allowed in the prayer area but the spacious mosque can be admired from the front.
Chilkur Balaji Temple
This sanctuary can be found in a little town called Chillakur, under 10 miles away and a 30-minute local bus ride from Mehadipatnam, Hyderabad. It is a very simple temple, but very much revered by the locals around this quiet town that has strong confidence in God.
Most of the people who want to see their wishes granted come here to the Chilkur Balaji Temple and do the 8 Pradakshinas (circles around the temple as a form of worship), and give their offerings for the sacred temple. If the wish is realized, they must come back here again and do a hundred more as a way of thanking God for all the granted blessings.
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