Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana in south India. Known as a "city of smiles", it is a key centre for the country's vastly expanding technology industry and boasts an atmosphere of energy, excitement and warmth along with a rich history and cultural legacy which enchants guests and visitors from over the world. From the former diamond trading centre of Golconda Fort and the Charminar, an ancient mosque featuring towering minarets, through to modern retail centres, exciting restaurants, entertainment and leisure -- there is something for everyone in this exciting young city.
Hyderabad is immediately friendly and welcoming and also known as Pearl City for its links with the precious stone. It has a history that is regal and rich with change, demonstrated in the ancient buildings, winding old streets and museum collections. The Old City in particular is hugely evocative and charged with mystery and romance -- thronging with the crowds and faces that characterise this teeming, increasingly cosmopolitan destination.
Be prepared to experience sharp contrasts, from the lanes of the Old City -- with its spice merchants and chai stalls -- through to the hugely impressive architecture of Islamic India which looms over the city. Visitors are also attracted to places such as the Hi-Tech City (or Cyberabad) and glamorous spots such as Jubilee Hills and Banjara Hills with their sparkling retail malls, clubs, restaurants, pubs and multiplexes.
Things to Do
Steeped in history and architecture, blessed with surrounding natural beauty in abundance and fizzing with new economic energy, Hyderabad is a city of contrasts where rich and poor co-exist in close proximity. You will find plenty to occupy you on your visit, whether you are travelling solo or as a couple, group or family.
Witness the ancient wonder of Golconda Fort
Perhaps the most impressive of the sights in Hyderabad, the Golconda Fort is an absolute must-see. Head to the western border of the town to see stunning architecture, domed tombs and mighty ramparts. Built in the 16th Century by the Qutb Shahs on top of a high granite hill, Golconda was a heavily fortified citadel surrounded by towering ramparts. Walk the 11-kilometre perimeter and see the incredible views across the Deccan hills, the shanty towns and the hazy city beyond.
Marvel at the Qutb Shahi tombs
There are 21 of these huge domed tombs, with accompanying mosques, which sit in beautifully landscaped gardens just a couple of kilometres away from Golconda Fort. Many of the tombs' occupants would have spent their lives at the fort, and seven Qutb Shahi rulers lie in state here along with their family and favourite servants. See the accompanying exhibition which gives valuable context and insight into this incredible historical site. Look for the fine granite tomb of Mohammed Quli, the city's founder. Tours are available in English.
See art and history at Salar Jung Museum
This impressive stone building houses a huge collection of the former grand vizier to the nizam: Salar Jung III. It boasts 39 galleries of South-Indian bronzes and sculptures, traditional miniature paintings, historic manuscripts, European fine art, jade artefacts and the famous Benzoni sculpture the Veiled Rebecca. The museum is particularly busy on Sundays, so plan accordingly!
Absorb cultural energy at Lamakaan
This so-called 'inclusive cultural space' is free from commercial advertising and a lively, engaging open centre that hosts the finest creative works from local and international artists. Enjoy music, film, play, organic markets, lectures, exhibitions and more -- with a superb Irani Cafe that is a well-kept secret by those in the know! Find it off Road No.1 and wile away a pleasant afternoon of intellectual and sensory stimulation.
Wonder at the beauty of the Mecca Masjid
This is one of the world's largest mosques, which attracts thousands of men during the main Muslim festivals. It is also one of the oldest buildings in Hyderabad, having been built in the 17th century by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the city's founder. Tourists cannot enter the main hall (women are not allowed inside at all) but they can see the building and its stunning interior through the railings. It is well worth a visit to marvel at the architecture and art.
Calendar of Events
Hyderabad is a lively city that has an emerging arts and cultural landscape, a great food scene and some interesting events which are well worth timing your visit for. Many throng with visitors from across India and internationally; it's perfect if you love colour, noise and people-watching!
Hyderabad literary festival. Enjoy readings, performance art, discussions and lectures at this highly creative international event which draws together hundreds of authors and playwrights from across India and beyond for multi-lingual readings, debates and more. Look for 'Guest Nation' showcases and famous authors!
Hyderabad Food Festival. This spring festival brings together the best of street food in the city's region, with plenty of demonstrations, special offers, cook-ups, pop-ups, learning experiences and more. Discover Keema Samosa, Boti Kebab, Dum Pukht and other local specialities as you weave around the city streets, mapping out each turn with a fresh flavour.
Diwali. Hyderabad is a welcoming melting pot of ethnicities and religions, and it celebrates a wide range of religious festivals with enthusiasm, warmth and colour! Known locally as Deepvali, it is celebrated with worship for Lord Ram and the performance of Pujas for the beautiful Goddess Lakshmi, with colourful decorations, streamers and a backdrop of fireworks.
The Deccan Festival. Organised by the Department of Tourism, this is a hugely popular city festival in February or March which lasts for five days and showcases Hyderabadi culture and Nawabi cuisine in particular. Enjoy a jewellery fair featuring bangles and pearls, a music festival and food aplenty, all to the backdrop of lively Qawwali songs.
So what are you waiting for? Experience the colour, atmosphere and history of this warm and inclusive city, which is rapidly becoming a top visitor destination for those in the know. Book a flight to Hyderabad today and find out what makes it so special!