Hyderabad, Telangana, India (formerly part of the state of Andra Pradesh) was ruled by the Nizams from 1724 to 1948, which is a very long time. Their lifestyle has long been Envied by many. They were the monarch of the Deccan-Hyderabad state under the Mogul empire. Hence their lifestyle and preferences has left a deep impact on Hyderabad.
All set to explore the Nizami style I set out on a one kind of experience to explore their architecture, history and of course the much acclaimed Hyderabadi food. So here is a how I experienced Hyderabad and to what you shouldn’t miss out while in Hyderabad so to get that true feel of the place.
The first and foremost place I decided to visit for obvious reasons was the Charminar. For the world, the Charminar stands as a symbol of Hyderabad. Constructed in 1591, the Charminar is also a mosque.
Being dropped off half a Kilometer away from the monument I made my way through the highly crowded lanes. These lanes are filled with shops and hawkers selling a variety of objects, souvenirs and other fancy stuff. Glancing through their impressive stuff, with an eye on the towering monument before me, I made my way to the ticket counter after waiting in a queue for quite some time.
The whole monument looks impressive with its four fancily carved minarets and architecture on the outside.While I entered I couldn’t stop noticing the dainty yet beautifully done floral motifs on the walls. The carving is kept minimum within, unlike the exterior of the monument. Walking up, one can see the Makkah Masjid on one side and bustling market life of Laad bazaar and Medina market on the other sides. The charminar is constructed in such a way that it remains in the centre while all other activities/places/markets surrounds it all around. Once I was right at the top the view from there gave a glace of the entire bustling life around the monument.
Next in line would be a visit to the Golconda fort. Having thoughts of visiting this one for quite a long time now I finally decided to make a visit here and to another attraction nearby both in one shot. Situated in Ibrahim Bagh the fortress has a massive old gateway miles ahead from the actual fort. From the entrance onwards to the fort, the area is lined with residential complexes and other normal stuff we see otherwise. Interesting thing to notice were the houses built in a long continuous row with one single roof which were probably used to house the elephants and the horses of the emperor.
Situated on a hill and within close proximity to the Kollur mines from where the famous Kohinoor diamonds was mined. It’s a massive fort and compared to my expectation one would need at least 2 to 3 hours to scale to its full height. Its spread to a massive area, laden with many garden within the vicinity which adds to the whole charisma. The Golconda fort is well known for its acoustic systems and no surprise I could see tourist clapping and screaming and cheering to test out the phenomenon.
After a long and tiring climb up I was successful to scale up to the top of the fort. (Now I’m proud about that you see!). Right at the top of the fort lays a baradari (a 12 door building), a mosque and a temple. Once up there at the topmost point one gets a full view of the city which was such a mind blowing sight and all worth the sweat and heat and the sweet labor.
Within a distance of 2 kms from the Golconda fort lies the Qutub Shahi tombs.
A massive number of tombs are constructed over a large park like area. All of these tombs belong to the Qutub Shahi dynasty. While I was discouraged to go in there saying “it’s nothing great, just a mere park” I’m glad I didn’t heed the free advice. At first it does seem like you are entering a park but as soon as you get the view of the first tomb you are sure in to be awestruck. I was literally freaking astonished as I would be to see the any of the wonders of the world. Simple yet Beautiful and Exquisite. There are around 30 tombs, mosque and a bath and these belonged to the emperors, their queens and their children and their nobles. Each tomb has something that stands out about them and the information boards put out before each one would help you better understand the architecture. Watching them standing out with their gigantic domes across the open blue sky gave me a true feel of royalty and peace at the same time. This was the best place I was proud I had made a point to see.
Spend some time here and it’s gonna make your day a peaceful one in the chaotic city of Hyderabad as it made mine. One place I would definitely recommend every person travelling to Hyderabad to visit.
Visiting the Salar Jung museum will be like a donut topped with lots of cream and all your favourite toppings-an added advantage. Established in 1957 by Dewan Deodi, this one is one massive museum with a giant palace like architecture which was initially the ancestral palace of the Salar Jungs- a family who served as prime ministers to the Nizams. Astonishing is the fact is that it is one of the only three national museums of India. Usually the artifacts belonged to the private collection of the Jung family, collected from countries as far as for Europe and Far East Asian countries. I was astonished to see such a large number of painting collection, manuscripts, metal displays like swords, pistols, ceramic antiques, ivory carvings, etc collected from all over the world.
Well Hyderabad has many other places of interest like the Ramoji film city, Nagarjuna Sagar, Hussain Sagar, Birla Mandir and many many more. You Google it-you get it. But I stuck to the more traditional and heritage kind of a stuff on this trip..
Let now move to a major aspect of any place-Its Cuisine
Hyderabadi food is every foodies delight. A must try out in Hyderabad is the famed Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Cooked with meat(veg) and rice boiling in a pot which is covered with dough, this essentially makes it more flavorsome than the normal Biryani. Hyderabad offers you a variety of options in the Dum Biryanis as well. One place to try out the Biryani is the Grand hotel and Bakery. I’m a fan of this humble yet genius place.
Kebabs are another delicacy- Hydeabad is famous for the mutton kebabs as well as the chicken. There are a hell lot of variety and all delicious to choose one from and must be tried.
Being a fan of sweets I couldn’t resist but try and try as many as I could. And boy! I was blown. The delicious bread pudding-Shahi Tukada, the apricot desert-Qurbani ka Meeta, the Anjeer ka double and the other varieties. There was so much to choose from and I loved them all. I couldn’t just stop gorging on them even though I was sure to gain some extra kilos after that.🙄
When we talk about Hyderabadi food, the confectionary items shouldn’t be forgotten. The famous Karachi biscuits are a must try and so are the Omania biscuits which melts like butter in your mouth and are best tea time snacks. Again I would suggest the ‘Grand hotel and bakery’ at Nampally.
Paan is another wonderful thing you should try out here in Hyderabad. I’m not usually a paan eater as I always feel like a goat chewing on some leave whenever I am forced to have one, but not In Hyderabad. The Meetha Paan (sweet Paan without the tobacco and mouth reddening stuff) here was something. I relished it every single day. The Meetha Paan here has a coconut stuffing which stands out and gives it a very coconuty flavor. I’ll put out a picture here so you know why I am raving so much about it.
The next thing Hyderabad offers you is a threat to your nose. Literally! The perfumes or Ittar as you can call it. There are special perfume, essential oils and Ittar shops everywhere; in fact the old Hyderabad city has a special perfume market. These are either imported from the Arab countries or homemade with choicest herbs and flowers. And these are so damn good, so don’t think twice before splurging on some smelly treats. Can buy some good ittar from ‘Universal Fragrances’ perfume shop in the charminar area and some high end itar and perfumes from ‘Al-Rasasi’ perfume store.
Well when it comes to shopping how can we leave Hyderabad behind?There are N number of malls for those who would want to splurge in a brand hunting shopping spree.But if you love the local markets and the street shops just like I do that we have Abids market which stores ranging from branded stuff to local variety, from everything electronics to hardware and fashion you have it all in this market. So this one should be on your list.
Then we also have the Laad market or the bangle market which a huge variety of bangle as well as other accessories.
If you’d want to hunt for some books-preparatory as well as novels-Koti market is the place to be at.
The Charminar road also offers a wide variety of shopping options and so does Medina market which has more to do with traditional clothing’s and wholesale cloth markets-here you can buy your Sarees, Lengas and other traditional Indian clothing.
While there were more markets to explore in Hyderabad for me a few were enough to get a feel of having a wholesome travel experience.
Hyderabad satisfies your travel pangs in every way and for me it stood out with it’s food. So if not for anything food can be a good reason you gotta try being there just like I would plan of doing so once again.
TIP– Stay at/around Lakdikapul or Nampally so to access the attractions mentioned above more easily. Both are major cities well connected to other places. Stay at the OYO townhouse for best accessibilty or Hotel Amrutha Castle for a palace like feel.