In popular theory, named after Queen Hyder Mahal and established over five centuries ago, Hyderabad is a city of many facets and great historical significance. The region around the city to the west in the name of Golconda encompassed the mining grounds that spawned the world’s most famous and expensive diamond – the spell binding Koh-i-Noor. The Hope diamond, Dara-i-Noor, Noor-ul-ain, the Regent diamond, the Princie diamond among others were also mined here and hence the name “The City of Pearls”. It is currently the joint capital of the Southern Indian States – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. With numerous traditional bazaars, a penchant among tourists and commoners for distinctive cuisine influenced by Mughlai style, the Telugu film industry(the country’s second largest producer of motion picture) , the ever growing IT sector, defence research, biotech, electrical industries and financial institutions, Hyderabad has forged itself over the years as the fifth largest contributor to the overall GDP of the country.
On a traveller’s notepad, one could definitely find a dozen of spots in this City of Pearls that can overwhelmingly strike one with undiluted amazement.
1.The Charminar To start with, we’d recommend the World Heritage Site, an excellency of the Golconda sultanate architecture – The Charminar. Famous for it’s four Minarets and four Grand Arches that open into four streets, is essentially a Mosque and is visited by a multitude of tourists all round the year. It is made of marble, granite and limestone and by its mammoth proportions and interesting design, it is definitely a jewel in the eye. Legend also has it that there exists a secret tunnel that leads to the Golconda Fort, constructed to ensure the escape of the royalty in case of a siege. It has never been found to this day, but you might want to try your luck, high hopes!
2. Hussain Sagar
Next in line is “The heart of the world”. Now you might be wondering what in the world is that, well Hussain Sagar is the name! It is a heart shaped lake with a monolithic statue of Buddha at the center and is the world’s largest heart shaped mark and hence the above title was awarded by the UNWTO. The lake is shared between the twin cities of hyderabad and secunderabad and has been a top attraction for photographers, families, sailing lovers and a usual shooting spot for the entertainment industry.
Birla Mandir, is a temple situated on a hillock with the presiding deity being Lord venkateshwara. The temple architecture is a blend of dravidian and utkala style, made of white marble, the temple also houses a brass flagstaff of over 40 feet in height and it is a one off temple that has no bells. As bells have somehow have grown to be a mandate in all hindu temples through the ages, this one stands ou, in order to establish itself as an ideal setting for meditation.
Now, here comes the most fascinating part, the marvellous Chowmahalla palace. The resting grounds of the illustrious nizams, who were well known for their love of art and style left us with this inanimate yet breathtaking architectural marvel. The Chowmahalla meaning four palaces was an extravagant stately home, then presided by the Nizam’s and officials as guests, the palace mainly has two courtyards – the northern and the southern courtyards adorned by beautiful arches, domes and persian art. The durbar hall called khilwat mubarak, a range of rolls royce vintage cars collection once used by the Nizam’s, the clock tower running for over 250 years are added attractions.
Next on the list is another world heritage site, the colossal Golconda fort. Spread over 5 km area in circumference, walking into it would surely take you back to the times reminiscent of the age of the sultans. An eyebrow raising feature of the fort is its acoustic magnificence, enabling one to hear the clap of a hand at bala hisar (pavilion, the highest point of the fort) originally produced at Fateh darwaza (gate to one of the lowest enclosure).The Fateh Darwaza is studded with iron pikes so as to prevent elephants from breaking down the gate, the parks in the fort have been continually renovated to emulate it’s past glory, the fort also houses a few mosques, a darbar hall, a mortuary bath, stables, private chambers emblazoned by exhilarating designs and art. The outer wall of the fort runs for an astonishing 11 km.
6.Salar Jung Museum
And all those art lovers may not be dismayed for what awaits you next is a sanctuary of eternal enchantment, the Salar Jung museum. It is one of the three national museums and is owned by the government of India. The museum is impregnated with a wide range of collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, artifacts, carpets, clocks, and furnitures etc originating from various countries and fabricated by the hands of some of the greatest names that we’ve heard such as Raja Ravi Verma, M.F.Hussain, Giovanni Benzoni, Rabindranath Tagore etc. Well, after all Hyderabad was once the art capital of the subcontinent, as the Nizam’s throughout their multiple generations tirelessly venerated all that which is pleasing to the various senses and appeals of man’s intrinsic being.
On a side note, Hyderabad as a city can be thought of as an object clinging to it’s position in the air amidst violent bursts of winds and yet relentlessly reverberating a sense of great secularity and this ever saccharine blend of various cultures, languages and styles.