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It’s famous for its grand Muslim history, as the home of biryani and as one of the pre-eminent IT cities of the world. Its HITEC City makes it – along with Bangalore – the IT heart of India. It also has a strong pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry presence. These hi-tech industries have attracted some excellent universities and research institutions. It is also home to the Telugu film industry.
While predominantly Hindu today, Muslims still form a sizable minority of Hyderabad’s population. It was in the 16th century that Islam first came to Hyderabad and in 1687 the Mughals took power, which they retained to a certain extent until Indian Independence. In the 18th century, Hyderabad was the centre of Islamic India and the arts and education flourished.
Western Hyderabad, or Cyberabad, is the home of HITEC City. Central Hyderabad is where you’ll find the upmarket residential areas, shops and restaurants. This modern sector of the city with posh bars and fancy cars is a world away from the old Muslim quarter in the south, with its Islamic architecture and bazaars and the muezzin’s call to prayer reverberating as you shop.
The contrast makes Hyderabad a captivating place to visit.
When to go:
The best time to visit Hyderabad is from October to February. It can become very hot from March till June.
- The Charminar is the must-see tourist attraction in Hyderabad. It was built in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah to commemorate the founding of the city.
- Laad Bazaar in the Old City has everything you could ever want to buy, from silk to bangles and local handicrafts.
- Mecca Masjid is one of the world’s largest mosques and the oldest in Hyderabad. Built between 1614 and 1687 it contains some bricks made from the soil of Mecca. It is famous for its impressive granite colonnades.
- Eat as much biryani, kebab and haleem as you can. Hyderabad is known as one of the food capitals of India and is home to these famous dishes.
- Set aside a couple of house to wander through the Golconda Fort, which was the home of the Qutb Shai kingdom.
- Walk through the gardens of the Royal Tombs of the Qutb Shahi Kings and admire the domed beauty of the mausoleums.
- Take a boat trip on the Hussain Sagar Lake and see the 17m high statue of Buddha at its centre.
- Go to Secunderabad, Hyderabad’s twin city. It lies to the north-east of Hussain Sagar Lake and has nice parks, open spaces and some excellent restaurants.
- Do the tour Ramaji Film City tour, which includes a song and dance and a lavish lunch.
- Chowmahalla Palace is a mixture of Persian, Indo-Saracenic, Rajasthani and European architecture and is a sight to behold.