Hyderabad is the fifth largest city in India with an ancient civilisation and culture. Hyderabad and Secunderbad are twin cities, seperated by Hussain sagar which is a man made lake. Hyderabad occupies a unique position on the map of India. With its confluence of cultures and traditions, the city is often described as a link between the north and the south, and a meeting place of the east and the west. The city is nearly 400 years old and is noted for its natural beauty, mosques and minarets, bazaars and bridges, hills and lakes. The name itself brings up visions of a vibrant city of minarets and modern high - rise buildings. A natural and sophisticated blend of old and new, an old "Nawabi" culture with a new pro-active approach and hospitality.
The teeming bazaars of the old city, in the midst of which stands the 400-year-old Charminar, the modern shopping complexes and ultra-modern malls in the newer areas of the city add to the charm of Hyderabad.
The Golconda Fort, capital of the kingdom by that name, is today very much part of the city, as is Cyberabad (means Cyber City), a new local area created to keep pace with the zooming Information Technology & Tourism sector.
Pearls, bangles, silks, computer software, handicrafts and above all a delectable cuisine add to the splendour of this great city.
Area: 259 sq. miles
Population : 38,41,396
Rain Fall: 89 cm ( June to Sept )
Tourist Seasons : June to February
STD Code : 040
Air: Indian Airlines has flights connecting Hyderabad with all major cities in India. The nearest airport Begumpet airport is situated on the main road between Begumpet and Parade grounds (Secunderabad), roughly 5 Km from Secunderabad Railway Station.
Rail: The world"s second largest railway under one management the Indian Railways carries more than ten million people every day. Main railway stations are Begumpet Station, Hyderabad Station and Secunderabad Station.
Bus: The AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has a busy district service that connects Hyderabad to every city, town and almost all villages.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Andhra Pradesh State Museum
A visit to the Andhra Pradesh State Museum is a delight for art lovers. Located in the picturesque Public Gardens, the museum boasts of one of the richest repositories of antiques and art objects in the country. Built in 1920 by the Nizam VII, the museum building itself is a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture. The museum contains a Buddist gallery, Brahmanical & Jain gallery, Arms & Armour gallery Numissmatics gallery, Ajanta gallery & more. Adjacent to the State Museum is the Contempary Art Museum.
This shimmering ethereal temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built in sculpted white marble, floats on the city skyline, on Kala Pahad. The idol in the temple is a replica of the one at Tirupati.
Birla Planetarium / Birla Science Museum
Birla Planetarium is India"s most modern planetarium and first of its kind in the country. It is equipped with advanced technology from Japan and is built on Naubat Pahad adjacent to Kala Pahad. And the Science Museum stands tribute to the advancement achieved by science and technology.
Charminar is as much the signature of Hyderabad as Taj Mahal is of Agra or Eiffel Tower is of Paris. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, built Charminar in 1591 at the centre of the original city layout. It is believed to have been built as a charm to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. Four graceful minarets soar to a height of 48.7m. Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it.
Golconda is one of the famous forts of India. The name originates from the Telugu words "Golla Konda" meaning "Shepherd"s Hill". The origins of the fort can be traced back to the Yadava dynasty of Deogiri, and the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Golconda was originally a mud fort, which passed to the Bahmani dynasty and later to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1518 to 1687 A.D. The first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golconda, over a span of 62 years. The fort is famous for its acoustics, palaces, factories, ingenious water supply system 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.
One of the modern monuments of trade & technology, it embodies the new-found attitude of Hyderabad & finds a place of pride today. Situated on the outskirts of the city, it is the nucleus of Cyberabad, the IT destination in these parts of the world.
Hyderabad Botanical Gardens
The first Botanical Gardens in Andhra Pradesh, spread over 120 acres when completed, will have 19 sections (Vanams). Already open to public is the first phase, with the completion of 5 sections. The sections include medicinal plants, timber trees, fruit trees, ornamental plants, aquatic plants, bamboos and so on. The Park has been designed to have large water bodies, rolling meadows, natural forests, rich grasslands and exquisite rock formations - all providing visitors an unforgettable experience.
This is the famous, colourful shopping centre of the Old City. It is tucked away in one of the streets leading off from Charminar. Bridal wear, pearls & the traditional Hyderabadi glass & stone studded bangles are sold here.
Built in 1913, the building was originally the Hyderabad State Town Hall. The architecture is a synthesis of Rajasthani and Persian styles, with an all white, aesthetic look. Located adjoining the picturesque Public Gardens, a massive statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a sitting posture is erected at the entrance park to the Assembly.
This beautiful entertainment park is situated on the shores of Hussainsagar lake. The landscaping here is a visual treat. A musically synchronized water fountain and a floral clock are major attractions here. Lumbini Park jetty is a major point for pleasure boating.
A hundred yards southwest of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. The Qutb Shahis never finished the building of the mosque, which was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694. Mecca Masjid is poetry in stone, with a hall measuring 67m & soaring to a height of 54m. Fifteen graceful arches - five to each of the three sides, support the roof. Towards the southern end of the mosque lie the graves in marble of Nizam Ali Khan & the families of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
Nehru Zoological Park
Spanning 300 lush green acres, the Nehru Zoological Park is a must for nature lovers. The biggest Zoo in India, it has over 250 species of animals and birds, most of which are kept in conditions as close to their natural habitats as possible. This is the first zoo to create moated enclosures for animals. The Lion Safari Park, Natural History Museum and Children"s Train are the added attractions. APTDC runs its "Pongali" restaurant and an ice-cream parlour here.
A leisure and entertainment centre adjoining the Hussainsagar lake, the NTR Gardens house a memorial (Samadhi) of Late N.T. Rama Rao, one of the most charismatic Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh. The sprawling NTR Gardens, set up on an area of 36 acres, offers a serene atmosphere and yet provides recreation facilities such as a Machan tree, Japanese Garden, Car Cafe, Souvenir shops, Fruit Restaurant and Children"s Playing area. A monorail system takes the visitors around the garden.
Established in 1918, it is one of the oldest universities in India. Named after Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, the university buildings are splendid, especially the Arts College building which is a perfect example of Indo - Saracenic architecture.
Qutb Shahi Tombs
The tombs of the legendary Qutb Shahi kings lie to the north of Golconda, about a kilometre away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. Planned and built by the Qutb Shahis themselves, these tombs are said to be the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad. They form a large group and stand on a raised platform. 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
A dream world created for the celluloid on a sprawling 1000 acres, with every imaginable set and location, Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of Hyderabad offers facilities to produce any kind of movie. Apart from sets, there are hotels where artistes and technicians can stay. Visitors too can go round in conducted tours. (040-23235777)
Salar Jung Museum
This museum houses one of the biggest one-man collections of antiques and artifacts in the world by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III. The objects d"art include Persian carpets, Moghal miniatures, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquer ware, famous sculptures including the Veiled Rebecca and Marguerite and Mephistopheles, a superb collection of jade, daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jahan and the Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb"s sword and many other fabulous items. APTDC has a "Pongali" snack bar here.
The Arts & Crafts VillageThe latest attraction at Madhapur beyond Jubliee Hills in Hyderabad is the 30-acre village, which houses arts & crafts of the country. India is an ocean of various arts & crafts but the talents of most of the artisans & artists goes unrecognized. To encourage them & give the necessary boost to their art, the crafts village hosts annual bazaars, where artists & artisans from all over the country exhibit their talents.
The Nizam"s Museum
Located in the stately Purani Haveli, the palace acquired in the year 1750, by the second Nizam, is now converted as a museum with a fascinating collection. The museum showcases the gifts & mementos presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of Silver Jubilee Celebration in 1937. A 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard & a Mark V Jaguar are among the vintage cars displayed. There is an interesting collection of models made in silver of all the prominent buildings of the city & citations in Urdu about H.E.H Mir Osman Ali Khan, gold burnished wooden throne used for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations, gold tiffin box inlaid with diamonds, gold model of Jubilee Pavilion and a silver filigree elephant with mahout are some of the notable items on display. The museum is open between 10.30 am & 05.00 pm on all days except Friday. Location: 2 Kms from Charminar & 1 Km from Salar Jung Museum. Ph:040-24521029.
To avoid submersion of the outstanding structures in the valley, a rare feat of reconstruction and relocation of the remains was taken up, using the original raw material. Anupu, four kms from the dam site, was chosen for relocation of a Buddhist University, the ruins of which were found during the special excavations. The painstaking reconstruction using a technique adopted for the first time in the country ensured that serenity of the seat of learning was preserved. The transplanting was done along the lines of those at Abu Simbel (Aswan Dam Project) in Egypt.
Eight kms from Nagarjunasagar is the Ethipothala waterfall. Ethipothala in Telugu means to "lift and pour" and the impressive picnic spot has the hill stream Chandravanka cascading down 22 metres to join the mainstream Krishna river. The waterfall has created a beautiful lagoon below. After sunset, the waterfalls are illuminated by dynamic lighting. A crocodile breeding centre has been located here by the Forests Department. APTDC has "Pongali" restaurant here with two rooms attached.
As the area was threatened with submergence by the reservoir the Archaeological Survey team made determined efforts to virtually transplant nine monuments from the valley onto Nagarjunakonda (the Hill of Nagarjuna) where they stand now in almost the original form in which they were found. While most of the monuments were relocated at Nagarjunakonda, the hill that now forms an Island in the middle of the reservoir. A museum at Nagarjunakonda contains Buddhadatu or relics excavated from the valley. The museum at Nagarjunakonda is a structure modelled along the lines of a "Vihara" and contains a number of precious artefacts of all cultural periods through which the valley passed. Carved limestone and stone slabs, inscriptions and sculptures dating to the third and fourth century AD constitute a majority of the exhibits, arranged methodically in five galleries. The sculpture at Nagarjunakonda brings out the mastery of the Satavahanas and the Ikshvakus. The themes are mainly from episodes involving the Buddha but the outstanding example of the sculpture of that age is the life-like depiction of the Enlightened One. The Buddha images, be they in the "sthanaka" (standing) or "asana" (sitting) position, beautifully portray a serene oval face with a moderately-built body and rounded shoulders. The right hand is held up in the symbolic gesture of "abhaya" (protection) or "pravachana" (preaching). One can transport oneself into that glorious age through a model of the submerged valley, exhibited in one of the galleries at the museum. The Nagarjunakonda island is approachable by motor launch.
Sriparvata, Vijayapuri, Nagarjunakonda - call it by any name but it remains today the modern day Nagarjunasagar - an engineering marvel, largest masonry dam and one of the largest man-made reservoirs. Nagarjunasagar, a massive irrigation project on the River Krishna, about 150 kms from Hyderabad, has a rich and interesting past. It was a valley in the Nallamalai range of the Eastern Ghats with civilizations dating back to thousands of years. Recorded history, however, assigns the first signs to the later Satavahanas and subsequently the Ikshvakus in the third century. Archaeologists assert that the fertile Krishna Valley hummed with life in the third millennium BC, the Neolithic age and then the Megalithic age around 1500 BC. The tallest masonry dam in the world, Nagarjunasagar stands about 124 metres high, creating one of the largest man-made lake with a capacity of 11, 472 million cubic metres. The water spread of the reservoir is about 380 sq.kms. The main canals - Jawaharlal (on the right) and Lal Bahadur (on the left) carry water to two regions of the State - parts of Coastal Andhra and Telangana. The canal system under this magnificent hydro-electric project is over 40,000 kms cumulatively. Jawaharlal Nehru called Nagarjunasagar a "modern temple". The Sriparvata and Vijayapuri of yore were really temples where the famous savant and Buddhist disciple Acharya Nagarjuna preached the message of Tathagatha during the lifetime of the Lord Himself. With a decision being taken to build a dam at the site, large-scale excavations were carried out during a special project to retrieve most of what could be. The special project, under the stewardship of R. Subramanyam, went on for six years from 1954 to unearth a cultural sequence from the early stone age to medieval times.
The largest wildlife sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh lies between Nagarjunasagar and upstream Srisailam. Spread over 3,500 sq.kms., it encompasses thickly wooded hills in five districts - Nalgonda, Kurnool, Mahboobnagar, Guntur and Prakasam.