The beautiful city of Hyderabad, built by the Nizams around 500 years ago, provides a fascinating panorama of the past. Some call it a city of pearls, others call it a software hub while still others find glory in the classical heritage of the city: welcome to the city of the erstwhile Nizams!
Words: Ritu Bhandari
Popularly known as the Pearl City, Hyderabad was founded by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. Inhabited by the world’s richest royals, the city offers a richly mixed cultural and historical tradition. To the traveller, Hyderabad presents a variety of tourist attractions ranging from Heritage monuments, lakes and parks, gardens and resorts, museums to delectable cuisine and a delightful shopping experience.
The Enchanting City
Hyderabad is a place with richly diverse cultural heritage and vibrant ethos.
The Nizams have endowed Hyderabad with many landmark buildings, including the Charminar, the Salarjung Museum, the Falaknuma Palace and the Qutb Shahi Tombs. Charminar is the landmark of Hyderabad. The four minarets carved with lotus buds and petals and the central structure, soaring to a height of 180 ft makes it an architectural jewel of the city. It is said to be built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. The four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7 m above the ground.
Salar Jung Museum
Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan popularly known as Salar Jung III is better known for his passion for acquiring art objects. In 1914, after relinquishing the post of Prime Minister to the Nizam VII, he devoted rest of his life in collecting and enriching the treasures of art and literature till he lived. The precious and rare art objects collected by him for a period of over forty years, are showcased in the Salar Jung Museum. The third largest museum of India and single largest one-man collection, it was established in 1951.
Originally a mud fort, the first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years. Used as the residential palace of the Nizams, Golconda had several gardens, lakes, palaces, horse and elephant stables and the famous Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell. The unique Sound & Light Show takes you right back in time, when Golconda was full of life, glory and grandeur.
Qutb Shahi Tombs
The tombs of the legendary Qutb Shahi kings lie about a kilometre away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. The tombs are built in Persian, Pathan and Hindu architectural styles using grey granite, with stucco ornamentation, the only one-of-its-kind in the world where an entire dynasty has been buried at one place.
Ramoji Film City
Established by Indian film producer Ramoji Rao in 1996, the film city is the world’s largest movie studio complex and is situated at an hours drive from Hyderabad. Plenty of movies, TV serials and commercials are produced here annually.
Hussain Sagar Lake,
Excavated in 1562 AD by Hussain Shah Wali, the lake was built on a tributary of the River Musi to meet the water and irrigation needs of the city. One of the world’s tallest monolithic statues of the Buddha stands on the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’, in the middle of the lake.
Built by Nizam Salabat Jung in the 1750s, the palace was restored by traditional craftsmen using a range of elements to uphold the heritage of these structures. The name of the palace is made of two words ‘Chow’ meaning four palaces in Urdu and ‘Mahalat’ which is the plural of ‘Mahalel’ or palaces.