Hyderabad Destination Guide
Today Hyderabad is the epitome of modern India. Once the playground of the world's richest rulers, the city’s 400-year-old history of hedonism may be what it was once famous for but these days it’s Microsoft, Google and other technology leaders that draw most people to Hyderabad and have seen it dubbed as “Cyberabad”. A destination frequented by business travellers, tourists often overlook Hyderabad but recent years have seen the city resurge as more than a stopover city. Lovers of cosmopolitan culture will in particular find plenty of things to see and do in the city, while history buffs will love uncovering the layers of Hindu and Muslim culture that have made Andhra Pradesh’s capital an eclectic cultural melting pot for hundreds of years.
Though Hyderabad’s new section is where you’ll find the city’s high tech businesses, the Old City is where you can visit some of South India’s most recognisable landmarks including the 16th century Charminar monument and mosque. An interesting area home to bazaars and the River Musi, Old City is also where you can visit Chowmahalla Palace, where the Nizam rulers once held court and Mecca Masjid, one of the city’s holiest and most awe inspiring sites. 11km from Hyderabad you can visit Golconda, a ruined city almost 1000 years old with a fort that boasts 87 semicircular bastions and 8 gates, complete with elephant proof spikes.
Eat and Drink
Brace yourself before tucking into an ever-popular South Indian Thali (mix of curries and rice) because food in Andhra Pradesh has a reputation for being the spiciest in India. Hyderabadi Biryani (spicy rice) is one of the city’s classic dishes and no-frills restaurant Hotel Shadab is where you’ll find one of the tastiest. Competition is fierce for your rupees so small local restaurants are usually of excellent quality but if you’d like to splurge a little Mix and Kangan are two of Hyderabad’s finest places to dine. Come nightfall head to the buzzing Park Hotel, home to two nightclubs and several sidebars.
Where to Stay
Being such a popular destination for business travellers means that Hyderabad is particularly well catered for when it comes to hotels. Those on business will likely choose a hotel north of the River Musi when deciding where to stay in Hyderabad while those visiting for sightseeing are better positioned in the south near the city’s main attractions. Overlooking Hussain Sagar Lake in the new part of town you’ll find the Park Hyderabad, one of India’s leading boutique chain hotels. For a regal stay, Taj Falaknuma Palace has 60 luxury rooms for rent in their 32-acre property.
People travel to Hyderabad from all over the world to shop for pearls. The city’s collection is extensive and prices very competitive. While you’ll find pearl vendors all over town, Mangatrai Pearls and Jewelry has a reputation for being one of the best places to shop for the highest-quality pearls. For something a little lighter on the wallet, Old City is where you’ll find Hyderabad’s most eclectic market. The Laad Bazaar is a maze of shops selling the Hyderabadi trademark sparkly bangles, as well as other fashion and traditional Indian goods such as spices and incense.
Hyderabad Like a Local
While Hyderabad’s Old City is home to most of the city’s attractions, to experience the city like a local you really need to spend some time with Hyderabadis at play. Time your visit for the first 45 days of the year between January and mid February and you can join the locals at Numaish. A yearly exhibition which has taken place for the last 65 years, Numaish is a highlight of the local calendar and showcases the cream of shopping, food and fun rides and attractions from all over India.