Top 10 Things To Do in Hyderabad

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Top 10 Things to Do in Hyderabad

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Hyderabad is a city with a rich regal history. It has been ruled by Nizams and Nawabs and fragments from those opulent times are still strewn all over the city, not only within palaces, monuments, and museums but also in the food, the clothes, and the jewelry that is native to this place. The following list of the top 10 must-dos will let you experience authentic Hyderabad, the one that has been carved by the royals, the locals, and myriad influences from outside.

10. Shop for Hyderabadi Attar

History hangs heavy in the air of Hyderabad and you can sniff it (the pun is intended) from miles away. And nowhere is the smell sweeter than at the many perfumers of the city who have been whipping up delicate whiffs for generations; some have been doing business since the time of the Nizams. The famed and authentic Hyderabadi attar is a non-alcoholic perfume with usually an Oriental fragrance like rose or sandalwood. Some of the most famous perfumers in Hyderabad are located in Charminar, Moazamjahi Market, and Laad Bazaar. The delicate lingering fragrance of Hyderabadi attar conjures exotic visions and evokes many mysterious emotions. It is said that one who has had a whiff can no longer fall for any other variety. This is why, shopping for Hyderabadi attar wafts its way to wrap up the list of top 10 things to do in Hyderabad and add a lingering freshness to your visit to the city.

Shop for Hyderabadi Attar

9. Visit Ramoji Film City

After meandering through the lanes and by-lanes of history in Hyderabad where Father Time has left His indelible stamp, be prepared for a pleasant surprise at the Ramoji Film City near Hayathnagar. One of the top tourist draws in Hyderabad, the Ramoji Film City is the largest studio complex in the world. The complex is studded with both natural and man-made attractions that include an amusement park and film sets that transport you to the Wild West or the streets of the Mauryan or the Mughal empire. There is even a miniature Golconda Fort and the Hawa Mahal within the premises. A visit to the Ramoji Film City is like stepping into a fascinating world of celluloid dreams. Make sure that you go on a coach ride around the sprawling studio complex to visit the many attractions here. A visit to the Ramoji Film City ranks 9th amongst the top 10 to-dos in Hyderabad because nowhere else in the city can you see such an eclectic cluster of man-made wonders.

Visit Ramoji Film City

8. Sample an Andhra Meal

In the land of the Nawabs and Nizams, you can never be too far from a good feast! The Nizams were renowned as food connoisseurs and they not only catapulted the biriyani to sumptuous heights but also promoted the diametrically different tastes of Andhra cuisine. Thus Hyderabad is dotted with many eating joints that serve these lesser-known (than the biriyani) but equally mouth-watering Andhra dishes that give you a taste of provincial Andhra Pradesh without leaving the bounds of Hyderabad. These gastronomic tours thus have all the ingredients to cook up a storm of tastes at the 8th position on the menu of the top 10 tourist activities in Hyderabad. Kamat Restaurant at NTR Estate, Abids and the Abhiruchi in Secunderabad are the joints to head to if you want to experience the spices of typical Andhra food.

Sample an Andhra Meal

7. Shop for Hyderabadi Silk, Sherwanis, and Pearls

You have experienced snippets from Hyderabad’s glorious days of yore in the many monuments and forts in and around the city. You have tucked into a piece of authentic Hyderabad in a plate of biriyani. Now it is time you shopped for a fragment of Hyderabadi culture to take back home. Go shopping for Hyderabadi silk sarees, sherwanis, and pearls. You can pick up the finest silk sarees in the city at Handloom House in Nampally while the sherwani you get stitched at Silver Jubilee in Abids will be nothing short of a work of art. A Hyderabadi silk saree or a sherwani is not just another piece of clothing—each is an embodiment of fine craftsmanship and artistic traditions that have enjoyed princely patronage and have been handed down through generations.Pather Ghati near Charminar is the best place to go pearl shopping and whether you buy an exquisite piece of jewelry studded with these gems or a few stones, you will come to possess a piece of history that has no parallel in India.This shopping experience weaves its way through exquisite silken threads, past the glitter of precious gems and jewels, and settles at the 8th spot on the list of top 10 must-dos in Hyderabad to give you the privilege of actually owning a piece of authentic Hyderabadi tradition.

Shop for Hyderabadi Silk, Sherwanis, and Pearls

6. Sail on Hussain Sagar Lake

The Hussain Sagar Lake, or Tank Bund as the locals prefer to call it, is one of the largest man-made lakes in Asia and divides the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It is one of the most beautiful landmarks of the city and attracts both tourists and locals with the many recreational options. A 16-meter-tall statue of the Lord Buddha in glistening white granite stands in the middle of the lake while at one fringe are the dargah and masjid of Sayedani Maa Tomb. Make sure that you hire a boat to sail on the lake in the evening. This is when the lights on the Necklace Road that encircles the lake come on and present a mesmerizing sight.Sailing on the Hussain Sagar Lake will not only let you escape the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy a few moments of solitude in the midst of nature but will also bring you face-to-face with the permissive and tolerant religious spirit of Hyderabad. This is why, this experience simply sails through (the pun is intended) to the 6th spot in the list of top 10 must-dos in Hyderabad.

Sail on Hussain Sagar Lake

5. Visit Salar Jung Museum

The Salar Jung Museum at Darushifa in Hyderabad is one of the three National Museums in India and the third largest in the country. But you must visit this museum to pay homage to the extraordinary efforts of a single man who has built up the extensive collection of antiques here containing sculptures, paintings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramic and metallic objects, clocks, and furniture from places like (other than India) Japan, China, Myanmar, Nepal, Egypt, Iran, Europe, and North America. In fact, the museum houses the largest collection in the world made by one man, the Prime Minister of the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad.The Salar Jung Museum houses artifacts that date back to the 1st century and includes amongst others, paintings by Raja Ravi Verma, a wardrobe that belonged to Tipu Sultan, and exquisitely crafted and bejeweled daggers belonging to emperors Jehangir and Shah Jahan and Noor Jahan. There are also pieces of furniture that belonged to Napoleon. There are 38 galleries in the museum! So plan for a long day here. A visit to the Salar Jung Museum firmly houses itself at the 5th spot on the list of top 10 tourist activities in Hyderabad by giving you the unique opportunity to witness history come to life.

Visit Salar Jung Museum

4. Visit Charminar

Charminar, meaning four towers, is a global icon of sorts of Hyderabad and is one of the most readily-recognizable monuments in India. The monument was built in 1591 CE during the reign of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the erstwhile ruler of Golconda. In fact, this grand edifice is the first building to be built in Hyderabad after Qutb Shah shifted his capital here. The city of Hyderabad was actually designed and built around this monument. The monument presents a grand and imposing sight, standing tall amidst the rows of shops and houses around it. It was built in the traditional Islamic style and has a square structure with four sweeping arches that point to the four cardinal directions. There is an exquisitely structured and intricately carved minaret on each of the four corners of the structure.The immense historical significance of Charminar makes a visit to this monument rank 4th amongst the top 10 activities in Hyderabad. After all, there is no other place in the city that bears so deep an imprint from the time of its inception.

Visit Charminar

3. Tuck into Hyderabadi Biriyani

It is the most famous biriyani in the world and can only be found here. And it has quite an ancient lineage, dating back to the time of the Nizams. The typical Hyderabadi biriyani is more than just an exotic and mouth-watering blend of spices, sauces, crunchy bits of nuts and dried fruits, fragrant rice, and succulent pieces of meat (or tasty vegetables, if you prefer). Every mouthful bears imprint of the myriad cultural influences that Hyderabad has embraced and absorbed while retaining its unique identity. For instance, the Hyderabadi mutton biriyani, a signature dish from the region, is a fine blend of the elements from Mughlai and Telengana cuisines. Hyderabadi biriyani is truly a feast for the kings and the best places to gobble it are Paradise in Paradise Circle, Hyderabad House at various locations of the city like Banjara Hills, Begumpet, and Brindavan Colony, Café Bahar at Bahseer Bagh, Banne Nawab in Salar Jung Colony, Nayaab, and Shadaab (both in the old quarters of the city). It is the true taste of Hyderabad on a platter; that is why, tucking into this authentic dish sizzles and simmers its way to the 3rd position amongst the top 10 must-dos in the city.

Tuck into Hyderabadi Biriyani

2. Watch the Sound and Light Show at Golconda Fort

Once a mud fort during the reign of the Kakatiyas, the Golconda Fort gained prominence during the rule of the Qutab Shahi dynasty, one of the most powerful in India. The fort is however, more famous in history as the site where the Kohinoor diamond was unearthed. It was kept secure in a heavily-guarded vault chamber along with the Hope diamond. There were several diamond mines around the fort during that time and the walled city within the fort was a bustling trading center for these priceless stones. And while you explore the magnificent ruins of the fort, make sure you visit the 800-year-old Kalpavriksha Tree that is 80 feet round and whose hollow center can accommodate 12 people! The intriguing history of the fort and of the lives lived here come alive here every evening (except on Mondays when the premises are closed to the public) with the mesmerizing sound and light show—Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone voice deepens the spell that the enchanting play of lights and shadows casts on you. The first show starts at 6:30 p.m. from March to October and at 7 p.m. from November to February. A visit to the Golconda Fort to watch this show sparkles at the 2nd position in the list of the top 10 things to do in Hyderabad because nowhere else can history be so magically experienced through multiple senses.

Watch the Sound and Light Show at Golconda Fort

1. Take a Tour of the Palaces of the Nizams

When in the land of the Nizams, your trip MUST begin with a tour of their palaces. The city is dotted with many such palaces that afford glorious ring-side views of the lives of the erstwhile Nizams of Hyderabad and of a time when grandeur was a way of life. The majestic Chowmahalla Palace, the Purani Haveli, the surreally beautiful Falaknuma Palace, King Kothi, the very elegant Asman Garh Palace, the Chiran Palace, and the Mehboob Palace are some of the more well-known royal hotspots of the city. These grand old edifices are some of the finest architectural specimens in India; each lovingly-crafted stone and every nook and cranny of these palaces preserve the essence of royal Hyderabad. A visit to the many palaces of the Nizams of Hyderabad tops the list of top 10 must-dos in the city simply because there is no other way to experience an almost-extinct culture that has shaped the city and take a peek into the lives of some of the most famous residents here.

Take a Tour of the Palaces of the Nizams

Conclusion

The journey to understand the heart and soul of Hyderabad takes an interesting route—past many historic monuments, through colorful bazaars, across placid waters, and may end in a plateful of goodies or a bottle of scent. The above-mentioned top 10 must-dos in Hyderabad trace this route and let you experience the many facets of Hyderabad.

Conclusion

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