The Hyderabad in the Telangana state of India is teeming with history and architectural wonders. And the Hyderabadi cuisine especially the Hyderabadi biryani has patrons all over the world. In this post, we share detailed information on what to see and do on a visit to the city of Nizams – Hyderabad.
Our flight landed in Hyderabad around 7 in the morning. We boarded one of the buses running from the airport to the area we booked our hotel. The buses are well connected with every part of Hyderabad and work out half the cost of what the cabs offer.
The hotel we booked was 24 hours check-in which works out best for we can directly check-in as soon as we are in the city. Once checked-in, we freshened up and joined in for the complimentary breakfast for the day. The breakfast was south Indian style with alternative options of fruits, bread, Parathas, and juices. The chef prepared hot dosas topped with veggies and cheese on spot for us as and when requested.
Places to Visit in Hyderabad – Day 1
Chilkur Balaji Temple
The Chilkur Balaji Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Balaji. Many devotees visit the temple to seek blessings especially visa related which actually piqued our interest to make a visit. We booked a direct cab from the hotel which took us around an hour to reach. The driver offered to wait for us to return which is the best option as it is not easy to find cabs around the temple. Temple could be skipped if you are in short of time.
Initially, our plan after lunch was Golconda fort but we dropped it as it was very hot and as most of the fort is open to sky it would have been very exhausting.
Pehelwan Pan Shop
Instead, we headed to Mozamjahi market. We got down some half a km before the market at Pehelwan Pan Shop. It is a long Indian tradition to end the meals with Pan (beetle nut leaves) as it aids digestion. The 60-year-old Pehelwan pan shop is said to have served pans to Indira Gandhi and even Bill Clinton during his India visit. The pan ranges from 5 to 200rs with the higher side being the zarda (tobacco) pan. The pans from this shop have patrons in Dubai and Saudi as well.
We walked half a km to the Karachi Bakery opposite Mojamjahi market which is one of the most popular bakeries in Hyderabad serving since 1952 and a major Hyderabad points of interest for anyone who visits the city. They have a large assortment of baked goods and confectionaries while their Osmania biscuits are a big hit.
This shop has been serving for around 160 years. The nutmeg halwa and Badam Halwa from this shop tastes heaven. We even bought parcels to bring back home. The packet easily stays for a week without a fridge.
Famous Ice Cream
Opposite to the Hameedi Confectioneries in the Mojamjahi market is the ‘Famous Ice cream’ famous for the natural flavored ice creams though we did not find it exceptional give it a try.
Qutub Shahi Tombs
The ‘Qutb Shahi Tombs’ or the ‘Seven Tombs’ are magnificent tombs located in the Ibrahim Bagh on the way to Golconda Fort. The exceptional architecture of these structures dedicated to the Qutub Shahi kings is a testimony to the glory of the bygone era of historic Hyderabad.
One of the wonderful castles, the majestic fort of Golconda formerly the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty is one of the top tourist places in Hyderabad and is spread across an area of 11 km. It is interesting to know that the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was a product from the mines of Golkonda. The Fort exhibits some of the remarkable architectural work through the several pavilions, gateways, bastions, etc. One can experience an acoustic marvel at the Fateh Darwaza which is the lowest point of the fort. A clap at a point near the Fateh Darwaza reverberates and could be heard at the highest point of the ‘Balahisar’ pavilion a km away. This advantage was used to warn the Royals in times of emergency.
The light and sound show takes place at the Fort in English, Hindi and Telugu languages. More details here. Though the show was good but as impressive as one we attended in Ajmer Fort Jaipur. At the entrance, the guards insist you on using mosquito repellant and do so with pleasure for once lights go off you wouldn’t be able to sit even for a minute if not for the repellant.
Places to Visit in Hyderabad – Day 2
We are not very big fans of the Museum but the grandeur of the Nizams had intrigued us. So we visited this museum Purani Haveli which exhibits some of the items from the times of Nizams like caskets, walking sticks with ivory handle studded precious stones, silver models of prominent buildings like Osmania University, Charminar and Mojamjahi market, and pictures of Nizam VII. Though the collection was interesting it was not well maintained there were spider webs and the video on the history of Nizams wasn’t even working. This was not acceptable as for the high cost of tickets. Luckily we decided against paying for the cameras.
We hired an auto to the 200-year-old Paigah tombs of Hyderabad which are dedicated to the family of Paigah nobles. We were entranced by the mosaic tiles and intricate marble carvings on the tombs which are an exemplary masterpiece of excellent craftsmanship. Paigah tombs are one of the remarkable places to see in Hyderabad for architecture lovers. An old man is in charge of the tomb complex who proudly walked us through the tomb complex and regaled us through its architectural splendor.
Hyderabad city tour is incomplete without a visit to the iconic landmark of Hyderabad which was built by the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. The structure is flanked by ornate minarets on four corners and huge arches on four sides with exquisite architectural designs. A mosque is located on the top floor of Charminar.
Shopping at Laad Bazaar
Laad Bazaar is an old market originally popular for bangles and other wedding items. Along the km stretch of bustling street lined with shops, one can shop for glass and lacquer bangles, Hyderabad pearls, bidriware, wedding suits and sarees and embroidered fabrics. We shopped from pearl sets and lac bangles. Read more on shopping in Hyderabad.
Take Home Bidri Products as Souvenirs from Bidri Crafts
Bidri is a unique handicraft made of the alloy of zinc and copper. The blackened alloy is decorated with thin strips of silver inlaid in engraved design on the surface. Bidriware products include jewelry boxes, vases, hukka bases, glasses, and more.
Hussain Sagar Lake
Hussain Sagar is a man-made lake built in 1563 spread across an area of 5.7 square kilometers. The Lake offers plenty of water sports activities like speed boating and sailing. Lumbini Park close to the lake hosts a musical fountain and the laser show every evening which is something not to be missed.
Places to Visit in Hyderabad – Day 3
We hired an auto from our hotel to visit the Jagannath Temple on day 3 morning. Availability of autos and taxis make visiting places in Hyderabad much easier.
The beautiful Jagannath temple is one of the beautiful temples in Hyderabad located in Banjara Hills. The temple is a replica of the original Puri Jagannath Temple of Orissa though size differs. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra and the temple complex house several other smaller temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Vimla, Goddess Laxmi, Lord Shiva, and Navagraha as a part of the temple complex. On the walls are depicting the mythological stories. Interestingly, the temple built of sandstone brought from Orissa has intricate carvings and gorgeous sculptures.
The Birla Mandir in Hyderabad is built on a 280 feet hillock and took 10 years to complete. The temple built from pure marble features Dravidian, Rajasthani and Utkala architectures and houses an 11 ft tall granite idol of Lord Venkateswara.
Nimrah Cafe is yet another bakery in Hyderabad famous for Irani tea and Osmania biscuits. The bakery also offers various other assortments of biscuits like fruit biscuit, Jam biscuit, and other patisseries. The Nimrah cafe bakes a new set of biscuits every 30 minutes and we had an opportunity to watch a live baking session of the Osmania biscuits.
The palace was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad and houses some of the exquisite personal possessions of the Nizams. The ornately embellished hall ‘Khilwat Mubarak’ is the most remarkable part of the palace. Chowmahalla Palace is a must visit to experience the grandiose lifestyle of the Nizams.
As the Hyderabad airport buses did not run on the routes from Chowmahalla palace we had to hire a cab.
Another prominent landmark in Hyderabad is the Film City which needs a dedicated full day which is deferred until next visit. When in Hyderabad devour on as many Hyderabadi biryanis possible, for the time we were in Hyderabad we tried several local recommended hotels. Check our post on best restaurants for Hyderabad biryani.
What is your favorite part in Hyderabad? Do share with us in comments.