Hyderabad is famous for 3 things: It’s rich history, Biryani and pearls.
I have been to Hyderabad twice. Once as a part of a week -long school trip at the age of 11 and the other time was for a month-long training at the age of 21. Both times, I loved it there. Let me tell you that I am not someone who uses “love it” randomly. I meant it when I said I loved it in Hyderabad, both as a kid and as an adult too. There’s so much to see, shop and relish over. However, I would also point out the fact that the city is hot as hell. Even in mid January, I was sweating like a pig. If you have a low tolerance to heat like me, I would suggest you think twice before visiting. I will pick up a few places you must visit, things you must buy and dishes you must try when in Hyderabad.
Must Visit Places –
- Charminar. I’m sure you must have heard of Charminar, but did you know it was built in the 1500s and is still standing there so gracefully. I have been to this place thrice, morning, afternoon and evening. I would advise you to visit Charminar in the evening so you can shop from the street markets there. The market is known as Laad Bazaar and is mainly famous for its pearls and bangles. however you can find all the famous things of Hyderabad around there, be it oxidized jewelries, silverware, hand woven clothes or jutties. Also, the famous mecca masjid is right next to it, you can see it from the top of the Charminar.
- Golconda fort. It is an archaeological treasure of India. The fort is quite big, there are 700+ steps to the top and it overlooks Hyderabad. Even though the fort is pretty much destroyed now, the remains speak of its glorious history. I would suggest you take a tour guide to understand the fort and its history.
- Ramoji Film city. I stayed 3 whole days there and yet I couldn’t finish it all. Do you know? It is the world’s largest film city! They have daily tour packages and you can also opt to stay in hotels inside. I would suggest staying in a hotel because the daily tour ends at 5.30 in the evening and the film city is too beautiful to miss at night. There are so many famous sets there, i.e. Bahubali’s, Golmal and Dilwale’s colorful streets, Suryavansham’s main building and so much more. While they show you how movies are made, there’s also fun parks inside for kids. And If you are lucky, you can even meet a star and watch a movie being shot. I was lucky enough to see Kamal Hassan sir while I was there but to my bad luck, my camera roll went bad so I don’t have the picture.
- Salar Jung Museum. Let me be clear that I’m not someone who would ever suggest visiting a museum but this one stands out. Not only is it one of the largest museums in the world, it has a variety of the collection on display. The reason is, it was once a private collection of the Salar Jung family which became open to the public in the 1950s. It has a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, clocks, furniture and what not from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, Egypt, Europe, and North America. Some of the exhibits even date back to the 4th century.
- Birla Temple. It is Lord Vishnu’s temple, made out of pure white marble. Why I really like this place is because unlike other temples, this one does not have any bells and has a peaceful environment and it overlooks Hussain sagar Lake. It is one of those places that brings peace to your soul. I would suggest visiting early in the morning or after sunset. For your information, photography is prohibited inside the temple premises.
I have also been to Chowmahalla Palace and Nehru Zoological Park too, you can opt for them as per your time crunch but the 5 places I suggest above are must visit when in Hyderabad.
Must Try Food – While I am a vegetarian, my options are limited, but my friends suggested that Biryani at Paradise is a must. For people like me, there’s a famous Karachi bakery. It is known for its fruit biscuits collection and plum cakes. If you are a chai lover, you must try Irani Chai at Café Niloufer. Also, you know Shahi tukda is believed to have originated from Hyderabad.
Must Buy – I am a street shopper and if you are too, I would suggest picking up those Juttis and Black metal sling bags you see when you visit Charminar. Even though I’m not big on bangles, you can buy lac bangles too from Laad bazaar; these bangles are handmade and are best as gifts for women. I’ll be honest, I am no expert when it comes to pearls but Hyderabad has the biggest market of pearls; they offer the best price too. You can opt for anything from a ring, earrings to heavy jewelry sets from the shops. They also give you a certificate for your purchase, just in case you are scared of being cheated.
Just, Hyderabadi speak Telugu and Urdu mostly. There are locals who find it hard to understand Hindi. If you visit the old town, you’ll get to hear Hindi that is majorly influenced by Urdu. Even though I have lived there only for a month I still use “Hau” and “Nakko” at times, that is ‘yes’ and ‘No’ respectively.
That’s it from my side. Do comment if you have ever been to Hyderabad and have something to add here.