With this city guide, you will visit the shepherd’s hill of Golconda during the Chalukya dynasty, to Qutb Shah’s Hyderabad city, to the IT loving modern city of Cyberabad.
This is a comprehensive guide to the “City of Pearls” has zone wise list of neighborhoods with introduction, tips, and things to do in Hyderabad.
It is the capital of the Telangana state and it has a history of more than 1000 years. After the control of Golconda fell from Kakatiyas to Nayaks to Bahmani Sultanate, the area around it rose to prominence.
By the mid 16th century, Quli Qutb ul Mulk declared independence from the Bahamani sultanate after it became weaker. Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah built Hyderabad to the East of Golkonda fort connecting Golkonda and Hyderabad by a bridge.
Hyderabad grew in its riches due to the diamond trade in the 17th century and they built structures using the Indo-Persian style of architecture. It also became a market for pearls, jewelry and arms.
The Mughals eventually eying the riches brought them at the doors of Hyderabad. Aurangzeb beat the army at Golkonda after costly wars.
Nizam rule of Hyderabad
Mughal rule of Hyderabad was short and Asaf Jah the Mughal appointed Governor (Nizam-ul-Mulk) took control of Hyderabad. He is the founder of the Asaf Jah dynasty and his dynasty had control of Hyderabad until 1948.
The British became an ally of the Nizams but had control of Hyderabad’s foreign relations and decisions effecting the British. During the Nizam rule, Hyderabad became industrious, saw expansion in population, and then became culturally mixed.
Independence and Post Independence
After independence of India, though the Nizam wanted to be a separate nation, the independence leaders in the region wanted to join India. The Nizam with the help of Razakars, his private army tried to quelled protests.
Because of the increasing violence, the Indian army went and stopped violence without much bloodshed. The Hyderabad kingdom and the Hyderabad city became part of the Indian union.
During most years after independence, Hyderabad was the capital of Andhra Pradesh. In 2014 it became the capital of the 29th state of India, Telangana. Today Hyderabad is a powerhouse and there are more than 6 million people living in Hyderabad including its metropolitan area.
Getting into Hyderabad
Hyderabad has a good network of rails and roads connecting to the other cities of India and there are many modes of transport people can use to enter the city.
Rajiv Gandhi international airport is in service of Hyderabad since 2008 after closure of the smaller Begumpet airport. The city named the airport after the former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi who learned to fly at Hyderabad.
International flights are available to Bangkok, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Kuala Lumpur, Sharjah, London, Kuwait, Singapore and among other cities. Services at the airport are baggage wrap, buggy service, waiting rooms, and porter service.
Transport from the airport:
Buses: Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) runs ‘Pushpak’, an airport liner from the airport to various neighborhoods of Hyderabad. These air-conditioned buses charge you anywhere between ₹100 to ₹265 depending on distance.
Taxis: Skycabs and Meru are approved taxi services from the airport that drives you at ₹21 per kilometer. Police run SHE cabs for single women travelers. Alternatively, you can use the Uber and Ola app to get to the city.
Trains: Hyderabad Multi-Modal Transport System is a suburban train service. The nearest train station is Umdanagar which is the least popular option.
2. Train stations at Hyderabad
Hyderabad has five train stations serving the city and is one of the important junctions in India.
Secunderabad junction (code: SC): Secunderabad train station is the main train station in Hyderabad. It was started by the Nizam in 1874 and connected the Great Indian Peninsular Railway (connecting Mumbai and Chennai).
It looks like a fort, inside there are ten platforms in the station where platforms 6A, 6B, 7A, and 7B are for suburban network.
Transport options from the station are:
Trains: Once you arrive at the city you can interchange with the suburban network.
Buses: Telangana’s transport corporation runs buses from the Rathifile bus station from outside the station.
Hyderabad metro: Secunderabad East metro station is across from the train station.
Taxis and auto rickshaws: App based taxi and auto rickshaws, and radio taxis are popular in Hyderabad.
Kacheguda train station (code: KCG): Kacheguda train station was open to the public in 1916 and it was built using the Gothic style of architecture.
Transport options from here are MMTS suburban trains from the station, buses are available at the Barkathpura bus depot, Kacheguda bus depot and Kacheguda bus station, and then there are taxis and auto rickshaws available outside the station building.
Hyderabad train station (code HYB): This is a junction and people know this station as Nampally train station. It has many intercity and suburban trains starting or ending here.
Transport options from here are MMTS suburban trains, buses outside the station, and taxis.
3. Bus stations at Hyderabad
Hyderabad connects well by road to other cities in the country. Many roads exist and there are many road projects coming up to ease road traffic. Because of good roads, people arrive by buses too.
Mahatma Gandhi bus station: Mahatma Gandhi bus station is the third biggest bus station in India after Chennai and Delhi. Built during the Nizam rule, it further expanded in later years to accommodate more buses.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation owns it and they operate buses of various class from here to places like Vijayawada, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Tirupati, Pune, Chennai, and Nagpur.
Transport option from here are:
Buses: City buses operated by the TSRTC are available at the Central bus station.
Trains: The nearest station where suburban trains are available is at the Malakpet train station.
Taxis and auto rickshaws: Other modes of transport are the taxis and auto rickshaws outside the station.
Jubilee bus station: Jubilee bus station is a new bus station in Secunderabad. The state transport corporation TSRTC owns the bus station and it operates its buses to cities within Telangana state and beyond it. Transport option from here are:
Buses: There are plenty of buses available outside the station.
Metro: Paradise metro station is the nearest metro station of the of the red line.
Taxis and auto rickshaws: Other modes of transport are the taxis and auto rickshaws outside the station.
There are private operators that are as good as the Telangana state owned TSRTC. Orange Travels and Kesineni are notable of them all. There are plenty of buses you can book on Red Bus, Abhibus, and MakeMyTrip.
Getting Around Hyderabad
Hyderabad has had a good transportation system since the time of the Nizams. Off late Hyderabad got modern transport systems including a driver less metro train, which is cool.
1. Commuter trains
Hyderabad Multi Modal Transport System is a commuter train service in Hyderabad that runs in between stations on its 44 kilometers of rails. There is a daily ridership of 175,000 on its three lines.
Interchange stations along the system are:
Lingampalli (suburban train terminal) >
Hussain Sagar (line bifurcates)
Hyderabad Deccan station, Nampally (suburban train terminal) >
Secunderabad train station (intercity trains) >
Kacheguda (intercity trains) >
Falaknuma (suburban train terminal)
2. Hyderabad RTC buses
The Telangana state transport corporation TSRTC operates the Hyderabad RTC buses. Their daily ridership crosses millions of passengers everyday. Buses start and terminate at the Central bus station, part of the Mahatma Gandhi bus station.
3. HoHo Service
Hop on hop off service in Hyderabad are buses that the Telangana tourism board operates in association with TSRTC. They have the buses for the job that will keep your tour inexpensive.
They stop at most attractions mentioned in this guide. However, you have to bring or pay your own lunch. (₹200 for adults and ₹100 for children. There are no tours on Fridays.)
4. Hyderabad metro
Hyderabad metro became the 10th metro in India open to public in November of 2017. It is the last of the big cities that opened its metro to the people, but with a record of 30 kilometers of metro line.
Niz, the mascot of Hyderabad metro is a Nizam lad born in 1985. He wears a Nizam style turban, carries a sceptre with him and wears a pair of jeans, mojiris on his foot, and a t-shirt. Read more of him.
Some of the interchange stations of Hyderabad metro are:
Ameerpet (red and yellow line of metro) >
5. Taxis & auto rickshaws
Taxi drivers will charge you ₹40 for the first 2 kilometers and then ₹21 for every kilometer. Auto rickshaw charges are ₹11 for every kilometer while the minimum charge is ₹20.
App based operate in Delhi. Uber and Ola cabs are available on call at 3355 3355. Book using the app and use code “24ZFBJ” to get started (website). For Uber, use “kishorv263ue” to use the app (website).
Walking is hard thing to do when it is hot. But most of the attractions near Charminar and near the Golkonda fort is at walking distance. The weather is better when it rains.
Hyderabad’s old city has a predominantly a Muslim majority, while the rest of Hyderabad has people of different ethnicities. There are people who speak Telugu, Hindi, English, and other languages.
There are Telugu speaking population, the Urdu-Hindi speaking population in the old city, and the upmarket population in places like Jubilee hills, Banjara hills.
Telugu is the 15th most widely spoken language in the world. However, it is ok if you cannot speak Telugu. They understand Hindi and English, and answer in that language.
IT boom happened in the 90s and it is big there. Heads of many IT companies are Telugu speakers or have gone to school in Hyderabad. There is a good startup culture there with many startups getting funding from venture capitalists.
By now you should know that in an average household, one of them is a software engineer. Bonus points if he or she is working in the US.
Well, if people do not make a career in education, they have sports. There are many Hyderabadis who have made a name in sports. PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Pullela Gopichand, Ashwini Ponnappa, Mohammad Azharuddin, VVS Laxman, Sania Mirza, and more.
It is home to the Telugu movie industry and people takes different sides based on which super star they like. For example, fans of Pawan Kalyan follow Pawanism. Best of all Hyderabad is a food city and people love food because there is variety.
Hyderabadi cuisine was developed by the Deccan kingdoms. There is a infusion of food prepared in the Telugu kingdoms, by the Mughal, Arabic, and the Vijayanagar empire. Hyderbad food is known for being spicy.
Hyderabadi breakfast items are typical of South India. Dosa and idli rule the roost which is available at every corner. Other breakfast items to look for is the Hyderabadi khichdi which is made of rice and masoor dal, with onions and wild spices. (Recipe).
Filter coffee is a beverage in this city, but another beverage popular is the Irani chai. Milk is boiled with tea decoction and spices for few minutes to make this delicious tea. (Recipe)
Remember we said there is variety? It starts here. These snacks are easy to make and easier to eat.
Lukhmi – Lukhmi is served in every home, restaurant, and wedding. Flour is deep fried and stuffed with vegetables or mince meat. (Recipe)
Keema samosa – Samosas are always good when it is stuffed with vegetables. It is equally good when stuffed with meat. (Recipe)
Osmania biscuits –
If you were wondering if there was anything that went well with the Irani chai, this is it. Osmania biscuit is a mix of sweet and salt. It was made in Hyderabad and is named after Osman Ali Khan, the last ruler of Hyderabad.
Boti kabab – Mutton boti kabab is a kabab made of mince meat that is marinated with spices, spices, salt, and ghee. (Recipe)
Burani raita – Burani raita is a Mughal dish popular wherever the Mughals went to war. A quick recipe, it is a mix of curd with garlic that can go well with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian rice dishes. (Recipe)
Middle eastern Chicken Shawarma and Lucknowi Tunday kebab are also popular.
Hyderabadi big meals
People of Hyderabad have choice in cuisine, weather South Indian vegetarian meals, cuisine from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, North Indian, and the rest of the world.
Rice and noodle dishes from various parts of India, and Asia are popular. Lebanese cuisine too is getting popular by the day. Big food items favorite of Hyderabad are:
Vegetarian meals – Veg meals are served on a leaf and it includes pachadi (chutney), vegetable fry, pappu (lentil curry), rice, rasam, sambar and curd. On special occasions like the Sankranti, there will be a rice preparation like lemon rice or pulihora (tamarind rice).
This meal is popularly known as Andhra meals. Meals in Telangana is similar but there is a predominant usage of tamarind. The vegetable fry will include spinach, and curries are made from brinjals.
Dried chillies are kept on the banana leaf that is to be eaten with the rice. There is also a dollop of ghee on the rice.
Pappu annam – This is a Telugu recipe which is nothing but pappu or dhal cooked with limited spices that you can eat with annam or rice. You can also cook them together instead of cooking separately. (Recipe)
Here is the recipe of tomato pappu.
Haleem – Haleem is a Middle Eastern, Turkish dish that is popular in Hyderabad which is a mix of wheat, mince meat, and lentils. In Hyderabad there are additions of dried fruits, ghee, saffron, and garnish of lime, coriander, and fried onions. It is one of the favorite food items to break fast during Ramadan month. (Recipe)
Khatti Dal – Khatti dal or soul lentil curry is cooked with spices and the infusion of tamarind gives it the tangy taste. (Recipe)
Hyderabadi marag – Marag is an Arab dish made popular in Hyderabad by the Mughals. It is sought after dish for its tender meat cooked in flavorful curry. (Recipe)
Mirchi ka salan – Mirchi ka salan is a curry made of chillies and is a peanut and coconut based curry. It is made to serve with biryanis. (Recipe)
You can make the salan with onions instead of chillies which I think is delicious. (Recipe)
Murgh do pyaza – It is a Punjabi dish that is equally popular in Hyderabad as in Delhi and Punjab. It is to be eaten with Indian breads like naan or rotis. Learn how to make this spicy curry.
Dum pukht – Dum Pukht is a Persian dish where the ingredients are slow steam cooked. (Recipe)
Maghaz masala – Goat brain is a popular delicacy in old Hyderabad area. It is cooked with spices and can be eaten with Indian breads and rice. (Recipe)
Paaya – Paya is a cuisine from the Chettinad region made with goat legs and is eaten with dosas, idiyappam, or rice. (Recipe)
Gosht pasinde – It is a dry meat curry with thick and aromatic gravy cooked with spices and potatoes. It is served with parothas or rice. (Recipe)
Malai korma – It is a favorite dish of those who like malai (cream of milk). It is cooked with onions, tomatoes, spices, and salt. (Recipe)
Hyderabadi biryani – Hyderabadi biryani is the flagbearer of Hyderabadi cuisine. It was the preferred meal of the Nizams.
There are two ways to cook biryani. Kache biryani means raw meat is cooked along with rice and spices. Pakki biryani is rice and spices cooked with precooked meat.
This biryani is slow cooked with meat of goat, chicken, or other meats with spices, saffron, yogurt, and lemon. It is eaten with mirchi ka salan or raita. (Recipe)
Qabooli biryani – This is a biryani for vegetarian palate. Qabooli biryani is spicy chana dal, basmati rice, yogurt, and spices. (Recipe)
Kache gosht ki biryani – This recipe is a yogurt marinated raw meat cooked with rice and spice. It is covered with dough during the process and steamed to perfection. (Recipe)
Uluvacharu biryani is not a biryani everybody’s eaten. It is known to few outside Andhra Pradesh and Telangana unless you have watched a Telugu movie by the same name, but it is not about the same dish though.
To achieve making this brilliant dish, you will cook rice with vegetables and horse gram. Make it as spicy as you can. Or make rice separately, then make horse gram curry (uluvacharu) with some vegetables. Then mix uluvacharu with rice for some time and then there is your biryani.
Kalyani biryani – Kalyani biryani has lost its popularity but it is made in small eateries these days. This biryani was made famous in Bidar in present day Karnataka.
It is different than the Hyderabadi biryani because it is not made with saffron, or does not have expensive additions as in Hyderabadi biryani.
Desserts of Hyderabad
Fruits after a meal serve as desserts for most people during the Nizam rule. But the royalty got some delicious preparations which became a favorite part of everybody’s meal today. Some of the delicious desserts are:
Sheer khurma – This is a special dish made during Eid with vermicelli, dates, dry fruits, cardamom, pistachios, almond, cloves and rose water. (Recipe)
Phirni – A creamy sweet dish is rice pudding flavored with milk, cardamom, and saffron. (Recipe)
Shahi tukda – It is also known as double ka meeta, it is bread pieces deep fried in ghee. You can add condensed milk, almonds to make rabdi which you will dip the fried bread in. (Recipe)
Jauzi halwa – Jauzi Halwa is of Turkish origin which is popular in old Hyderabad. Jauzi, milk, ghee, sugar and saffron are the main ingredients. Hameedi is a popular place that makes and sells Jauzi halwa. (Recipe)
Other sweets Hyderabadis like to eat are Jalebi and Mauz ka meetha.
Sankranti sweets – Sankranti is a harvest festival is when people worship the sun, thank god for the food, and they celebrate by cooking and eating some delicious vegetarian food.
Some of the sweets of Sankranti are Ariselu, Sakinalu, Polelu, and Kaju katli. Ariselu is made from rice flour dough, jaggery, ghee and sesame seeds. (Recipe)
Another dish which accompanies the Ariselu is the Sakinalu which is made from rice flour, sesame seeds, ajwain, and salt. (Recipe)
The local people of Hyderabad have no problem welcoming people into their home and host you. There are many who share their space on Airbnb. Sign up using the link to save ₹1,200 on your first booking.
Hostels/budget accommodation for backpackers/travellers
Guide to Neighborhoods of Hyderabad
There are five zones in the Hyderabad district, namely Central, South, North, East and West to make administration easier. We will learn about Hyderabad zone wise.
Along with the Hyderabad district, the metropolitan region includes Medchal, Medak, Siddipet, Rangareddy, Sangareddy and Bhuvanagiri districts.
South Hyderabad (దక్షిణ హైదరాబాద్)
The Nizam of Hyderabad built the Hyderabad city in this region which is now called Purana shahar or the old city. Important neighborhoods are the old city which is also the Charminar area, Afzalgunj, Yakutpura, and others. Top attractions are here.
Old City (पुराना शहर)
The old city lies to the South of the Musi river and this area is also known as the Charminar area. It has more than 400 years of history. Because of water shortages in the Golkonda area, Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah set up Hyderabad.
With Iranian architects, they drew Hyderabad with grid layout. It was under the control of the Mughals for a brief period but Asaf Jah, the founder of the Asaf Jahi dynasty took over the control of Hyderabad.
As per a holy man’s prophesy, the dynasty did last until 1948 for seven generations. The Nizam’s flag had a kulcha because the holy man’s prophesied the fate of the dynasty while he ate kulcha with Asaf Jah when on a hunting expedition.
Charminar means four minarets. When Hyderabad was hit with a plague, Quli Qutb Shah got down on his knees at the very spot to pray for the end of the death toll. When the plague did end he thought that Hyderabad should get its most famous icon.
Another story is that this is where the king fell in love with Bhagamati. After marrying her, this city got its name Bhagyanagar. After Bhagamati’s name changed to Hyder Mahal, the city got the name Hyderabad and Charminar was built as a memory of his falling for Bhagamati.
Built in 1591 out of granite and lime mortar, its four minarets are 48.7 meters tall each and has 140 steps. At the top, there is a mosque where at least 45 people can pray. The top will give you a panoramic view of the city and its market streets.
Another highlight about this monument is that it shares its property with Bhagya Lakshmi temple putting focus on the composite culture of Hyderabad.
9:30 AM to 5:30 PM; 5 for Indians and 100 for foreigners; Yakutpura station
Mecca masjid is next to Charminar in the Laad bazar area and it is the biggest mosque in the city. Construction started in 1617 after Muhammad Shah laid the foundation stone, it was completed in 1694 by Aurangzeb.
The courtyard of the mosque has a large pond. The main prayer hall can seat up to 10,000 people. It has a 75 foot high wall and the roof has Belgian chandeliers.
People say that the king brought bricks from Mecca to build the central arch of the structure. The doors of the masjid has verses from the Quran on them.
There is a gallery that shows sacred relics and artifacts. People say that the mosque is preserving a strand of hair of Prophet Muhammad in the premises.
4 AM to 9:30 PM; Yakutpura station
Bazaars near Charminar
A walk around Charminar is what you want if you want to buy inexpensive gift items. During the Ramadan month this place is a rush. It has road style stalls selling bangles, clothes, food and fruits.
Chowmahalla palace is easy to miss because it hides behind the high walls in a noisy neighborhood. You could easily miss it if not for the guards at the gates. It was built in the 1800s and after the completion in 1880, this palace became home to the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
The two courtyards of the palace contain gardens, fountains, guns, and palaces. The Southern courtyard contain the Afzal mahal, Mahtab mahal, Tahniyat mahal and Aftab mahal. These four palaces gave this palace the name Chowmahalla, chow means four.
The Northern courtyard has the Bara imam, long corridors of rooms. Opposite to the bara imam is the Shishe-Alat, meaning mirror image. It was where dignitaries visiting the Nizam stayed.
Khilwat Mubarak is the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and it is most beautiful palace here with gorgeous windows. Khilawat clock, a clock tower flanks the Khilawat Mubarak. The halls have huge Belgian chandeliers and carved archways.
Interesting part of the palace is the display of furniture, ceramic ware, military and court uniforms, weapons used by the British and the Nizam’s army. Nizam’s vintage car collection include a yellow color Rolls royce Silver Ghost among many.
Saturday to Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM; 50 for Indians, 200 for foreigners and 50 for a camera; Yakutpura station
Patthar Gatti (పత్తర్ గట్టి) & Dabirpura (డబీర్పూర)
Pathar Gatti and Dairpura are two of the oldest areas of Hyderabad. Pathar Gatti was home to the Nizam of Hyderabad.
Nizam museum is in the purani haveli area of Hyderabad. It was the former residence of the Nizam. It has memoirs, gifts of the Nizam from all over the world.
A wooden throne that on which the last Nizam sat on during the silver jubilee celebration of his rule of Hyderabad is on display at the museum. There are some vintage cars, paintings and wardrobe of the Nizam.
10 AM to 5 PM; 65 for adults and 15 for children; Dabirpura station
It is situated on the banks of the Musi river and it is the largest museum in Hyderabad and the third largest in India. The museum has a rich collection of artefacts, manuscripts and books.
The first floor has 20 galleries and the second floor has 18 galleries. There are sculptures, books, paintings, textiles, carpets, furnitures from neighboring countries like Japan, Sri Lanka, Europe, Nepal, Burma, etc.
Saturday to Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM; 10 for Indians, 5 for children, 150 for foreigners and 50 for cameras; Dabirpura station
It is an old area named after Malik Yaqoub, a servant of Golconda king Abdullah Qutb Shah. This was a market and residential area around those times. Hyderabad Race club and Hi tech garden are popular places in these parts.
Monsieur Raymond’s Tomb
Other neighborhoods in South Hyderabad are Saidabad, Yakutpura, Shalibanda, and Meerpet. These are all some of the oldest neighborhoods that grew to be part of the old city in those days.
Rajendranagar Mandal and Chandrayangutta are part of the Ranga Reddy district and are part of the Hyderabad metropolitan region. The Himayat Sagar lake from where River Musi enters Hyderabad borders Rajendranagar Mandal.
River Musi known as Muchukunda in ancient times, takes birth at the Antaragiri hills, flows through Hyderabad and drains into the Krishna river in the Nalgonda district.
Built of the Asaf Jahi and Rajputani styles of architecture, it has intricate designs built of white marble in the 18th century. Paigahs are nobles that were of high status in Hyderabad.
They were related to the Nizams by marriage and they are as rich. The stucco work is intricate and detailed. The structures have tombs of Paigah family members.
10 AM to 5 PM; Yakutpura station
Falaknuma (ఫలక్నుమా) & Shamshabad (శంషాబాద్)
Falaknuma and its surrounding areas are some of the oldest areas of Hyderabad. It now has modern buildings, businesses and residential areas.
To the South of Falaknuma is Shamshabad, a neighborhood in the Ranga Reddy district. It was named after Shamsul Umra, who founded the Paigah family during the reign of the third Nizam.
Shamshabad was under the control of the Paigah nobility. Hyderabad’s main airport is in Shamshabad. This is also an investment area and will see an influx of businesses and apartment complexes in this area. Wonderla is a water park near the airport with rollercoasters, rides for kids and more.
Nehru Zoo is a 380 acre zoological park in the Kishan Bagh area near Falaknuma. The zoo is open to public since 1963 and it got its name from the first prime Minister of India.
The 200 year old Mir Alam tank that lies next to the zoo attracts birds and makes the area rich. Tigers, Asiatic lions, bisons, sloths are some of the animal enclosure in the zoo. There are snakes and crocodiles too.
Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM; 35 for adults and 20 for children; Falaknuma
One of its kind in India, it is a museum for handmade cars and people visit it to admire the art and creativity the curator put into the place. There are cars in many shapes and sizes.
9:30 AM to 6 PM; 50
Built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, the prime minister of Hyderabad, it belonged to the Paigah family, a senior aristocracy of the state. Paigahs had their own administration, army and palaces. They offered the palace to the Nizam.
The Nizam used it as a guest house and after independence it was converted to a hotel. The Taj group of hotels runs the hotel today.
South of Hyderabad
Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala are to the South of Hyderabad. All these areas have different cultures than the other. Some of the important cities to the South are Tirupathi, Chennai, Puducherry, Coimbatore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kollam, Kozhikode, Madikeri, Mangalore, Mysore and Bangalore.
Central Hyderabad (కేంద్ర హైదరాబాద్)
Central Hyderabad is a zone with a mix of the old and new. The Golkonda area was the seat of the Telugu kingdoms and then the Qutub Shahi dynasty before Hyderabad old city came up.
To the North of Golkonda are the upmarket neighborhoods where the wealthy live and to the East is the old neighborhoods surrounding the old city.
Golkonda (గోల్కొండ) & Ibrahim bagh (ఇబ్రహీం బాగ్)
Golkonda is a huge area that consists of the the military citadel and some ancient structure around it. It is few kilometers away from the old city. A visit there will reveal that this place is not only touristy but have businesses that is sustained by tourism.
Ibrahim Bagh is one of the oldest neighborhood and people lived back in the heydays of the Golkonda.
Golla means shepherd in Telugu and konda means hill. A shepherd told a Kakatiya king that he found an idol on top of the mountain. From then on conquering or strengthening this fort became important.
This was once a mud fort that successive kings took it upon themselves to increase its strength. Granite rocks in the later years gave impregnable strength after the 14th century.
The Kakatiya king built a fort initially which Qutub Shah and his descendants made improvements on. This was home to Koh-i-noor diamond and several rich things. Another element of the fort is that it is famous for its acoustics.
The acoustics of the fort facilitates sounds and claps which act as alarms/Morse codes reach the far corner of the fort. It is to warn the guards of invading armies. Tour guides demonstrate by getting a security guard clap at the main gate that you and your tour guide will hear at the top level.
The main gate (Balaissar gate) is large enough and in front of it is the curtain wall built around the gate to make it difficult for the enemy to break down the gate. Entry through the gate will give you a glimpse of the enormity of the fort.
Back in the days the fort had a brilliant water supply system. Other attractions here are the magazine room, Taramati mosque, Ramdas’ bandigriha, Darbar hall, Qutub Shahi mosque, Jagdamba maa temple and the baradari.
Baradari is at the top and it gives you the glimpse of the modern Hyderabad. The city is dotted with buildings, trees and lakes. You can also see two walls that surround the fort. The fort has 87 semi circular bastions where soldiers could stay and warn of danger.
9 AM to 5:30 PM; 15 for Indians, 200 for foreigners, 25 for a camera and 130 for light and sound show; There are direct buses from Charminar
Taramati Baradari is an old auditorium on a hillock with 12 entrances. Because the structure is on a hilly region its elevation helps the performers from disturbing the town around it.
There is a Persian style garden was built during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, the fourth Golconda sultan. Dancers Taramati and Premamati were sisters and gave performances during the reign of Abdullah Qutub Shah, the fourth king of the Qutub Shah dynasty.
The king was in love with Taramati and named the auditorium after her and the music and the sound of Taramati’s voice would reach the king at the Golkonda fort. Today the venue hosts events, concerts, exhibitions as well as performances in the 1,600 seater theater.
Tuesday to Sunday from 9 AM to 5:45 PM
Qutub Shahi tombs are tombs of the rules of Qutub Shahi dynasty. Seven of eight rulers of the Qutub Shahi dynasty are buried here. Some of the family members and other favorite people of the dynasty are buried here.
The tombs are on cubical platform and the structures were built in Persian and Indian styles of architecture. The largest tomb belongs to fifth king of the Shahi dynasty, Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah.
9:30 AM to 6:30 PM; 10 for adults, 5 for children and 20 for a camera; 850 meters from Banjara Darwaza
Osman Sagar (outskirts of West Hyderabad)
On the Western fringes of Hyderabad is this huge lake where the Musi river takes birth. Spread over 46 kilometers and it can fit most of Hyderabad. It was named after Osman Ali Khan the seventh Nizam after he built a dam over the lake to prevent Hyderabad from flooding.
It is the source of drinking water for Hyderabad, but a visit here can bring peace to you as it is far from the busy city streets. Another fun thing to do here is boating.
Those who are looking to pay to get wet for fun, then head out to Ocean park. There are water slides and rides that can dip you in water after a long ride. A day’s fun.
I’m not sure when did the influx of devotees to this temple start, but a visit here will help grant you a visa, to the US mostly. Chilkur Balaji temple is known as the visa temple known to grant your wish for a visa.
Jubilee Hills (జూబ్లీ హిల్స్) & Banjara Hills (బంజారా హిల్స్)
Jubilee and Banjara hills are posh neighborhoods near the Golkonda area. There are many commercial and residential neighborhoods where the upmarket folks live.
Banjara hills had residences some of the elites of the Nizam and friends of royalty. Jubilee hills is where members of the Telugu film industry live and it is home to many movie studios.
Uluvacharu, Kafico, Punjab Grill, Tiki Shack, Menchie’s frozen yogurt, United kitchens of India, Cafe Hut-k, Absolute Barbecue, Hotel Abhiruchi, Seasonal tastes, 4 Seasons, Rotis, Little Italy, Ohri’s Nautanki galli, Firewater fine dining, Paradise, Mainland China, Palamuru Grill, The Street, The Grand Trunk road, Punjabi Affair, The Street, Zafran, Barbeque nation, Ruci & Idoni, Bikanervala, Chutneys, Chinese Pavilion, Khandani Rajdhani, All Seasons, Spice 6, Guilt Trip, Cafe Abbott, Autumn leaf cafe, The Other side, Fusion9, Krishna’s kitchen, Beach house, Olive bistro
KBR national park derives its name from the Late former CM of Andhra Pradesh, Kasu Brahmananda Reddy. There are 600 species of trees and plants in the park, 140 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and 20 species of animals.
11 acres of land belongs to the family of the Nizam and the public cannot enter the premises. At the heart of the premises is the Chiran palace the residence of the reigning prince of the Nizam. There are other properties in the area.
5 AM to 9:30 PM & 4 PM to 6 PM; 20 for adults, 10 for children, 400 for every month, 1500 per year, 1000 per year for senior citizens
Temples in the area
Temples near this area are Sri Jagannath temple and Peddamma temple. The Jagannath temple is a replica of the Puri Jagannath temple. Its main deity is Lord Jagannath and other deities here are Balarama and Subadhra.
Peddamma temple is 150 years old and is a popular tourist attraction where people come to pray to Goddess Laxmi sitting on a lion for wealth and good fortune.
Swayambhu Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Kshetram is a 500 year old temple that Iskcon took on lease and to renovate. The temple’s main deity is Laxmi Narasimha to who people pray for strength to endure a difficult phase of life.
Tolichowki (టోలిచౌకి) & Ameerpet (అమీర్పేట)
Tolichowki is an old neighborhood but has many IT companies working in the area. Toli means troops and chowki means post. The place got the name because of Aurangzeb set a military position here before attacking the Golkonda during the reign of Abul Hasan Tana Shah.
There are many mosques of the times of the Shahi dynasty here. Yousuf Tekri is a bungalow built by Subedar of Gulbarga, Yousufuddin Khan during the sixth Nizam Mir Mehbub Ali Khan. Hatiyan Jhad tree is a 500 year old tree. It has a huge hollow trunk that can accommodate about 10 people.
Close to Tolichowki, Yousufguda and Punjagutta are commercial and a residential neighborhoods. It is a sought after residential area of people working in the IT hubs.
Ameerpet is a commercial and education hub. People who want to seek admissions into higher education institutes come here for entrance exam training.
It has many number of software training hubs. Hyderabadis jokingly say that software training institutes will force people who make a mistake of venturing into Ameerpet to join their institutes.
The Nizam gifted the land at Ameerpet to one of the Jagirdars named Aamir Ali. He built a palace which is now a Nature cure hospital.
Nizamia Observatory is the third observatory in India was set up in the 1900s. The Observatory had telescopes and it observed a section of the sky and published books about it.
Pista house, Shah Ghouse, Arabic Mahhaba, Mataam Al Emaam, Mohammedia Shawarma, Sher-E-Punjab dhaba, Iyer Tiffin center, Roti Wala, The Golden cave, Moghul’s paradise, Santosh dhaba, Rayala vari ruchulu, Meghana, Sri Poorna tiffin center, Green Bawarchi, Anupama, The Spicy venue, Syala, Meridian, New Kritunga restaurant, Chili’s, Southern mirchi, Wok republic, Shriji rasoi
Mehdipatnam (మెహ్దిపట్నం) & Gudimalkapur (గుదిమల్కపుర్)
Mehdipatnam and Gudimalkapur are commercial neighborhoods that has many markets, shopping malls and street vendors that sell street food, garments and books.
Rythu bazar is a wholesale market where farmers sell their produce to consumers directly and without help of middlemen. The flower market at Gudimalkapur is popular among photographers and flower lovers.
Nam means wet and pally means place. Nampally was a wet and moist place when the 7th Nizam built the Hyderabad Deccan train station also known as Nampally station. It is the biggest landmark in this neighborhood.
Trains from Secunderabad and Begumpet would stop here. Today it is a terminus of fast long distance trains.
Some of the biggest markets of Hyderabad, Nagari market and Aziz plaza is here. The exhibition grounds is another shopping destination because it provides more variety due to vendors from various states of India setting shop here.
By now you should know that hyderabad is full of palaces. Gyan Bagh palace is a palace built by Dhanrajgir, a 19th century wealthy merchant and philanthropist.
Afzal Gunj is to the North of the Musi river and to the South of Hussain sagar lake which was the gift of the 5th Nizam, Afzal ad-Dawlah to the grain merchants. There are many markets here.
Lakdikapul (లక్దికపుల్), Abids (అబీడ్స్) & Basheerbagh (బషీర్బాగ్)
Some of the oldest neighborhoods, Lakdikapul, Abids and Basheerbagh are of commercial importance. Whilst Lakdikapul got its name from a bridge made of wood, Basheerbagh got its name from a senior Paigah noble named Bashir-ud-daulah Bahadur. Abids took its name from Albert Abid, an American valet of of the 6th Nizam.
Chicha’s, Kabul Darbar, Rayalaseema Ruchulu, Prem di rasoi, Palace heights, Kamat hotel, Blue diamond chinese, Mohini’s, Shanbag Veg, Cafe Bahar, Bikanervala, Apoorva mess, Swathi veg, Al Saud Al Mandi, Mayur pan house, Santosh dhaba exclusive, Veg Nation, Pragathi tiffin center, Sagar papaji ka dhaba, Grand hotel and restaurant, Sohanlal tea point
Telangana state archeology museum, public gardens and auditorium
It is the oldest museum in Hyderabad that has a good collection of artifacts. The museum became operational in 1930 and since then Neolithic relics, art collection of Ajanta, statues of Buddhism and Jainism are on display.
There is an Egyptian mummy which is a popular attraction. There are manuscripts on display that people like Dara shikoh, Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan wrote, pots and pans belonging to the Indus valley and more.
The public gardens surrounds the museum and the people use the park for their morning walk. There is an artificial lake and a tennis court.
Indira Priyadarshini auditorium is where 450 people can sit and watch performances and events.
St. Joseph’s cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral that belongs to the Archdiocese of Hyderabad built in 1820. Built with Italian style of architecture. The hall can accommodate 500 people. There are five big bells at the top of the cathedral. There are tombs of three priests inside the church.
St. George’s church was built in 1844 and it became part of Church of South India in 1947. It is a heritage building.
Originally the home of Kamal Khan, a wealthy businessman, the Nizam Osman Ali Khan bought it from him. The building built in Neo-classical style, it has three buildings.
There is a huge library where once the last Nizam would sit to read and sometimes gather his thoughts. Nazri bagh are the residential buildings of the palace. There was a curtain covering the palace.
When the curtain was up, it was a signal to citizens that the Nizam was not in the building and when the curtain was down covering the palace, then people knew that the Nizam was in the house. However, a wall is in place of the curtains now.
A part of the property still belongs to the Nizam and three boxes with padlocks contains his treasure. The Nizam’s private army guards the gates of the palace.
9 AM to 7 PM; Free; Hyderabad train station
Iskcon temple is a temple with Lord Krishna as the main deity.
Khairatabad is the area around the Hussain Sagar lake and this neighborhood derives its name from Khairunnisa whose tomb is next to the Khairatabad mosque.
Hussain Sagar lake & its Parks
Hussain Sagar lake is the largest artificial lake in Asia built during the rule of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah in 1563. It takes its name from Hussain Shah Wali.
A 16 meter tall statue of Lord Buddha made of white granite stands on the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ in the middle of the lake. You can take a boat and embark on the platform and take selfies with the statue of the Lord.
Families come here in the evening to spend time in the recreational park, take long walks in the walkway and go on a boatride. There are statues of famous people around the lake that includes statue of Swami Vivekananda.
Lumbini park was developed in 1994 and is named after the birthplace of Siddhartha Gauthama (Lord Buddha). There are many eateries at the park and it has a boating jetty where you can take a boat to the Rock of Gibraltar. There are boats that take you around in the lake and end the tour at the jetty.
9 AM to 9 PM; 20 for adults, 10 for children, 350 per person for speed boat ride, 35 per person for mechanized boat ride, 100 and 100 for Bhagmati and Rajahamsa boat ride respectively, 50 per person for laser show.
Sanjeevaiah park has about 100 species of birds, 50 species of insects and butterflies. It is a stop for migratory birds and winter is the best time to visit the park and spot them. It is a good place for families especially children.
8 AM to 7 PM; 5 per person, 50 for a morning walk monthly pass
Jalavihar water park is on the Necklace road on the banks of the Hussain sagar lake. There are lots of rides that people can enjoy like tilt bucket, mushroom umbrella, sides and more.
11 AM to 7 PM; 200 for children and 300 for adults
Birla mandir is a temple built by the Birla family in 1976 out of white marble in South Indian architecture. The main deity is Lord Venkateswara which is 11 feet tall and other deities are Goddess Padmavati and Andal.
7 AM to 12 PM & 3 PM to 9 PM
Birla science museum has many exhibits and sections. It educated people about physics, mechanics, sounds, energy, motors, electricity and optical illusions. The archaeology section has a fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur.
In the same campus there is a planetarium that is in operation since 1985. It has a sky projector and a dome shaped screen that shows planets, celestial events and other things about the cosmos.
Himayatnagar, Kacheguda, Narayanaguda, Chikkadpally and Nallakunta are other commercial and residential neighborhoods located between the Hussain Sagar and Osmania University.
Kachiguda is a popular neighborhood which got the name from the Kachi community of Hyderabad. Kachiguda train station is the biggest landmark and was built in 1916.
Bawarchi, Alex’s kitchen, Ming’s court, Bade miyan kabab, Veerji ka dhaba, 25 hours, Sri Sai Prasanna Delux Mess, Rambarosa Bandar, Gufaa Ohri’s cuisine court, Mehfil, Swiss castle bakers, Master bakers, Golden crown, Uluvacharu biryani house, Clay oven bakers
West Hyderabad (పశ్చిమ హైదరాబాద్)
West Hyderabad and the neighborhoods of the western fringes have their IT corridors, high real estate prices, corporate offices and upmarket crowd.
Kukatpally (కూకట్పల్లి) & Miyapur (మీయాపూర్)
Kukatpally is part of the Medchal district and Miyapur is part of Rangareddy district. Both these neighborhoods are part of the Hyderabad metropolitan area. Both these neighborhoods have become urban economy, apart from agriculture and dairy production.
Gachibowli (గచ్చిబౌలి), Nanakramguda (నానక్ రామ్ గూడ) & HITECH City (హైటెక్ సిటీ)
Gachibowli crowd is predominantly an IT crowd as it is a hub. Hyderabad’s IT revolution started here. It gave Hyderabad’s economy a boost and hence people who want to live here pay premium price.
As time went by, the IT companies and IT parks spread into Nanakramguda and HITECH city. HITECH city is also known as Cyberabad.
Barbeque nation, Jodhpur wala’s food house, Holy moly, Rendezvous, T Grill restaurant, The fisherman’s house, Al-Saba restaurant, Shah Ghouse, Punjabi rasoi, Pakwaan grand, Karachi bakery, Banana leaf, Udipi’s upahar, Hotel Samskruti, F5 Drive in, Hyderabad Chefs, Pariwar eatery, Tempteys, Sriji rasoi
An interesting feature inside the University of Hyderabad is the Mushroom rock which is a huge boulder standing on two small boulders. How did a rock weighing tons place itself on two small rocks. Work of aliens? Gods?
Sri Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy botanical garden in the area has more than 600 species of plants. There are many water bodies that cools the surroundings and invites bird population. A nice place for walkers and joggers.
Shilparamam is an arts and crafts village that presents the work of artists from different parts of the country. It started in the year 1992 and the works people display here are wooden crafts, metal wares, hand-woven dresses and sarees, and more.
They conduct workshops in their facility, they have auditorium, research center, and an auditorium. The museum depicts tribal and rural lifestyles, and there are models that teaches about daily activities.
10:30 AM to 8:30 PM; 40 for adults, 20 for children, 30 for boating and 15 for battery car; Hitech city train station
To the West of Hyderabad
Maharashtra, Goa and North Karnataka are to the West of Hyderabad. Many Telugu, Kannada, Tamil kingdoms and Muslim sultans exchanged territories between them in wars throughout history and has cultural influences other than their own.
Some of the important cities to the West are Gulbarga, Solapur, Bijapur, Pune, Mumbai, Belgaum, Nashik, Surat, Aurangabad and Goa.
North Hyderabad (ఉత్తర హైదరాబాద్)
North Hyderabad was home to the British cantonment. This part of Hyderabad is multi ethnic and has people of many religions coexisting.
One of the major commercial and residential hubs of Hyderabad and it is a transit hub with Begumpet airport and the Jubilee bus station that has connections to the suburban trains and metro train stations.
This neighborhood derives its name from the sixth Nizam’s daughter Basheer ul-unnisa Begum after acquiring this piece of land as her wedding dowry in her marriage to second Amir of Paigah, Shums ul Umra Amir e Kabir.
Begumpet airport came up in 1930s for the usage of the last Nizam and improvements to the airport led to completion of the airport terminal in 1937 . Nizam’s own Deccan Airways was operating from this airport until its nationalization and merger into Indian Airlines.
It was the main airport until 2008 when RGIA became the main airport. Now its airfield is used by Rajiv Gandhi Aviation academy, Telangana Aviation Academy and Asia Pacific Flight Training Academy Ltd. The Northern part is for the usage of the Air Force.
Paigah nobleman Vicar ul-Umra built the Paigah palace after gifting the Falaknuma palace to the sixth Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan. It is today the site of the US Consulate in Hyderabad.
Secunderabad was a twin city of Hyderabad but today is it part of the city. It derives its name from Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam and it was a British cantonment.
The Nizam became an ally of the British during the reign of the second Nizam. The British established their military cantonment to the North of the Hussain Sagar lake. Post the independence, the cantonment came under control of the Indian army. Outside the cantonment, Secunderabad is a place of commerce and culture.
Trimulgherry (తిరుమలగిరి), Malkajgiri (మల్కాజ్గిరి) & Alwal (అల్వాల్)
Trimulgherry or Tirumalagiri is part of Secunderabad and is to the North of Begumpet. It is major residential neighborhood and has many townships and colonies. There are colonies where families of the army live.
One of the biggest neighborhoods of the Metropolitan region of Hyderabad, Malkajgiri is to the East of Trimulgherry and is part of the Medchal district. Alwal is a neighborhood in the Medchal district and it is to the West of Trimulgherry.
To the North of Hyderabad
Hyderabad is in the Deccan, which is a junction of the cities in the South and North. There are many places to the North. Some of the must visit cities are Nagpur (Maharashtra), Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneshwar, Puri (Odisha), Kolkata, Darjeeling (West Bengal), Northeast India, Patna, Gaya (Bihar), Delhi, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and the cities in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Kashmir.
East Hyderabad (ఈస్ట్ హైదరాబాద్)
East Hyderabad is to the East of Osmania University, Secunderabad cantonment and the old city of South Hyderabad. Some of the important neighborhoods are Uppal, Kapra, Dilsukhnagar, LB Nagar and Saroornagar.
Osmania University is a state public university that was established and named after the last Nizam Nawab Osman Ali Khan in 1918. It has Urdu as its medium of instruction and it offers undergraduate and post-graduate courses in Technology, Science, Law and the Arts.
Rajiv Gandhi cricket stadium is home to Hyderabad cricket association and is located in Uppal. This world-class stadium built in 2003, it has a capacity of 60,000 which makes it one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world. It hosts test, one day and T20 matches.
To the East of Hyderabad
East Hyderabad may not have much attractions to see. However, that will change when you travel East of Hyderabad. Here are some of the popular stops:
Ramoji film city is the largest studio complex in the world open to public since 1996, built by the Ramoji group in Hayathnagar in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Many filming groups can film at the same time and visitors will still have room for their tour.
There are many recreational rides, butterfly park, bird park and movie sets. There are train stations, hospitals, temples, airport that serve as movie sets. It is a place for destination weddings.
9 AM to 8:30 PM; See link for packages
Sanghi temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and other deities and it is near the film city.
To the East is Andhra Pradesh from which Telangana bifurcated in 2014.
1. Amaravati is presently the capital of Andhra Pradesh and was the capital of the Satavahana and Kamma kings. People have been inhabiting the city since 3000 BC but the modern city is in existence since 2015.
The city has come under the administration of the Bahamani sultans, Vijayanagara empire, Mughal empire, French, British, Mysore kingdom and the Golconda sultans.
2. Rajahmundry is an 11th century city also known as Rajamahendravaram in Andhra Pradesh. The city is on the East of River Godavari because of which there are ghats.
3. Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary is to the South of Kakinada and is on the estuary of River Gautami, a distributary of River Godavari. It is one of India’s largest mangrove forest and it has birds like herons and cranes, then it has elephants, turtles, antelopes, bears and crocodiles.
9 AM to 5 PM
4. Yanam (Puducherry) is to the South of the Coringa sanctuary on the banks of River Godavari. It is a district of the Union Territory of Puducherry. While there is predominant usage of Tamil and French at Puducherry, Yanam has usage of Telugu and French languages. People go there to visit temples, mosques and churches.
5.Vijayawada is the second most populous city in Andhra pradesh is on the banks of River Krishna. It is famous for its diamond mines found during the Qutub Shahi dynasty starting the diamond industry . It came under the administration of Hindu kings in the past. There are caves where Buddhist monks lived. What to do in Vijayawada?
6. Visakhapatnam is the largest city in Andhra Pradesh. Despite being an industrial city, it has nice beaches and parks. It was under the administration of the Kalingas, Pallavas and Eastern Ganga kingdoms.
The shipbuilding industry is the big in this city and it is where they build the state-of-the-art military ships. It is the HQ of the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy. Check out Culture Trip, Southreport and Trip 101 for things to do in Vizag.
1. Go shopping and hunt for pearls
2. Support Hyderabad’s sports teams
Some of the top sportspeople who have earned a name in the Olympics and other team sports are from Hyderabad. The city has a good sporting infrastructure and has teams that can make their opposition sweat. Sports team to cheer for are:
Basketball – Hyderabad Sky – UBA Pro Basketball league – Gachibowli indoor stadium
Badminton – Hyderabad Hunters – Premier Badminton league – Gachibowli indoor stadium
Kabaddi – Telugu Titans – Pro Kabaddi league – Gachibowli indoor stadium
3. Go on a heritage walk
Hyderabad has its fare share of walking tours. Hyderabad Trails is the top walking tour company. They will introduce to lesser known streets, people, sights and culture.
4. Go on a trek and adventure
Places around Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh have terrain that exists since ancient time and it is ideal place for trekking and bouldering. See this link to see trekking places.
Join Greater Hyderabad Adventure Club for fun activities, team activities and rock climbing that they have on their schedule.
Hyderabad has boating and rowing clubs that use the lakes in Hyderabad to pursue their sport.
5. Watch a performance
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