Hyderabad is one of those rare cities that is both rich in culture, and is at par with the ever-escalating standards of modernity. Visiting Hyderabad is equivalent to travelling in a time machine. While the charm of Charminar and Golconda Fort take you back in time by at least 400 years, the ultra-modern infrastructure of Hitech city makes you feel like you have stepped into the future. With attributes such as these, it is hardl surprising that Hyderabad is one of India’s hottest tourist destinations.
Charminar, a 420-year-old edifice made of granite, lime and pulverised marble, is the pictoral representation of “Hyderabad”. The structure is a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture, and is aesthetically pleasing. Referred to as the Arc de Triomphe of the East, Charminar presents a striking picture especially when illuminated in the evenings. A visit to the Charminar is incomplete without exploring the market place circumferencing the monument. A tourist may easily pick up the perfect memento from one of the 14,000 shops present.
Golconda Fort is touted to be one of the most magnificent forts ever constructed in India. Built by Kakatiya kings, the fort comprises a palace, a mosque, an armoury, royal apartments, 80 gateways and 4 drawbridges. The invaluable Koh-i-Noor diamond was excavated from mines located near this fort.Though in ruins, the Golconda fort still makes a strong impression on the minds of visitors, and is definitely worth a visit.
A visit to one of the many royal palaces gives us a glimpse of the luxurious life enjoyed by Hyderabad’s rulers. The structures themselves are architectural marvels, and the eyeball-grabbing interior designs mimic various medieval Middle-East and Gothic architectural styles. The ingenuity of Indian architects is evident in the marvellous designs boasted by Chowmahalla Palace, Asman Garh Palace, Falanuma Palace, Taramati Baradari, King Koti Palace and Bella Vista, among others.
That Hyderabad has always been secular in nature is testified by the beautiful temples, mosques, churches and monasteries found in the city. Makkah Masjid, a regal mosque that is believed to have been constructed from bricks brought from Makka, is one of the most admired mosque in India. Shahi Masjid is one of Hyderabad’s oldest mosque, and its pleasing appearance continues to sooth twanging nerves till date. Ananda Buddha Vihara is a Buddhist tourist destination that serves as a rest-house for monks. Birla Mandir, Chilkur Balaji Temple and Sanghi Temple are other religious places in Hyderabad city that attract a lot tourist traffic.
Hyderabad is also home to the largest one-man antique collection in the world, which is being showcased in the Salar Jung museum. The museum houses innumerable antiques dating back to a few centuries, and exploring the museum in entirety within a day is a herculean task. Birla Science Museum and Birla planetaruim are other places that entertain and educate young ones.
Ramoji Film City (RFC) is the world’s largest integrated film studio and theme park that is sprawled over 3,000 acres of land. Ranked among Asia’s most popular recreation centres, a visit to the film city is the perfect way to end a trip in Hyderabad. RFC is always abuzz with activity as numerous events involving the glitterati and film-buffs are conducted here. One can explore the many natural and artificial attractions in RFC either by embarking on a short guided tour, or by staying at one of the 3- and 5-star hotels located at the entrance of the film city.