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Hyderabad City Map
Hyderabad represents a confluence of the old and new-it is known the world over for its 400-year-old Charminar as well as for its pearls, bangles, silks, I-T companies and mouth-watering cuisine. The capital of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, though cosmopolitan, has retained its glorious past. Hyderabad is home to people from diverse cultures and traditions.
A Brief History of Hyderabad
The history of Hyderabad goes back to the period when Quli Qutub Shah seized power from the Bahamani Kingdom in 1512 and established the city of Golconda and the Qutub Shahi dynasty. However, lack of water supplies and frequent epidemics like plague and cholera forced Mohammed, the fifth Quli Qutub Shahi to found a new city and thus Hyderabad was founded. Asaf Jah-I proclaimed himself the Nizam and established independent rule of the Deccan as the Mughal Empire started to crumble. In 1798, under the subsidiary alliance agreement signed between the Nizam and the British East India Company, the territory north of the present-day Hussain Sagar lake was established as a cantonment. It came to be known as Secunderabad. Successive Nizams of the Asaf Jah dynasty ruled it until the state was merged into the Indian Union in 1948.
Geography of Hyderabad
Located at an altitude of 536 metres, the mean summer temperature in Hyderabad fluctuates between a maximum of 40 degrees celsius and a minimum temperature of around 22 degrees celcius. Winter temperatures range between a maximum of around 22 degree celcius and a minimum of around 12 degrees celcius. You may need to wear light woolens during early mornings and late evenings.
- By Air: Hyderabad is well connected to various parts of India as well as foreign countries. The Hyderabad airport at Begumpet provides connectivity to all major destinations in India, as well as flights to Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and other places. A new airport is being constructed at Shamsabad in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Click here for Hyderabad Flight Schedule
- By Rail: Hyderbad to connected by rail to Bangalore, Chennai and all other major Indian cities. There are three railway stations in Hyderabad -Hyderabad Railway Station (Nampally), Secunderabad Railway Station and Kachiguda Railway Station.
- By Road: Hyderabad is well connected to other major Indian cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Nagpur, Warangal, Pune among others by National Highways. The city shall be a part of the North-South Corridor.
Getting around in Hyderabad is very easy. Auto rickshaws are by far the easiest and most economical mode of transport. Taxis are another option. There are two types of city bus services available in Hyderabad. The APSRTC(Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation) operates two kinds of buses-the ordinary road transport corporation buses and the Metro Liners in the city. Hyderabad has the MultiModal Transport System (MMTS) connecting Serilingampally with Nampally on one route and Falaknuma via Secunderabad on another. It is also scheduled to develop a Metro system. Hyderabad Economy
Hyderabad is the nerve-center of business for the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is competing with Bangalore for the title of the cyber capital of India and is already sometimes mentioned as Cyberabad. Many top-notch Indian and multinational software firms have set up shop in Hyderabad. The state government is offering many sops to the I-T companies to woo them. Hyderabad is home to the Telugu film industry. The other major business sectors in the city include pearls, glass manufacturing, textiles, railway coaches, paper products, silverware, saris, paintings and artifacts, handicrafts, bangles and pharmaceuticals
Leading Institutions in Hyderabad
Hyderabad is home to several high-quality educational institutions drawing students from various parts of India as well as abroad. It has two Central Universities, two Deemed Universities, and six State Universities. The Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, International Institute of Information Technology, Osmania University Colleges of Engineering and Technology, MVSR Engineering College are some leading technical institutes while the Osmania Medical College, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences and Gandhi Medical College are leading medical colleges. There are reputed dental colleges like the Govt. Dental College & Hospital. The Indian School of Business and the National Academy of Legal Studies & Research (NALSAR) are also located in Hyderabad.
Other leading institutions include the Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Maulana Azad National Urdu Univesity, Hyderabad , Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University and the University of Hyderabad.
Sights and Sounds of Hyderabad
Hyderabad has a plethora of attractions. Though the Charminar remains the city's most important symbol, there are many other attractions which beckon the visitor.
- Charminar: The Charminar is the most famous landmark of Hyderabad. There are four minarets at each corner of the square structure and hence its name. During the period of the Qutub Shahi kings, the first floor was used as a madrasa (religious seminary). A walk around the Charminar takes us to a bygone era. It is believed that during the intervening period of Mughal rule between the Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi dynasties, the southwestern minaret was destroyed by lightning, but was subsequently repaired.
- Golconda Fort: Constructed by the Kakatiya rulers in the 12th Century, the Golconda Fort was expanded by the Qutb Shahi kings. The famous Hope Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, the Orloff Diamond, etc. are believed to have originated here. It is also known for its superb acoustics.
- Hussain Sagar: The majestic Hussain Sagar Lake is one of the major attractions of Hyderabad. Statues of various eminent personalities line the banks of the lake. The monolithic Buddha statue of in the middle of the lake is a major draw for tourists.
- Nehru Zoological Park: The Nehru Zoological Park, one of the largest zoos in Asia is home to nearly 1,500 species of animals, birds and reptiles. The Lion Safari within the zoo is one of the main attractions for tourists in this Park. It also houses a nocturnal zoo, a dinosaur park, a natural history museum, parks and a mini-train.
- Ramoji Film City: Located at a 25 km drive from Hyderabad city, the Ramoji Film City, covers an area of around 2,000 acres. It is famous for its over 500 set locations which include the Hawa Mahal, built on the lines of the Golconda Fort, a Japanese garden, a multi-purpose building, luxury hotels and artificial waterfalls. It is the world's largest integrated film studio, attracting filmmakers from South India, Bollywood as well as Hollywood.
- Salarjung Museum: Held to be the largest private collection of artifacts in the world, the museum houses various artifacts collected by Nawab Turab Ali Khan, more popular as Salar Jung I, the diwan of the State of Hyderabad and his descendants. There are some rare artifacts collected from all across the globe, Indian paintings, arms and clothes of the Mughal emperors, clocks etc.
Hyderabad represents a pot-pourri of cultures. There are many important places of worship for people belonging to all religions. The Birla Mandir, a magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara stands atop the Kalapahar. The Mecca Masjid is situated 100 yards southwest of the Charminar. It is believed to have been built using bricks brought from Mecca, thus earning the name Mecca masjid.
The constructions of this mosque was started by Sultan Muhammad Qutub Shah and completed in 1694 during the time of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Another major attraction is the Moula Ali Dargah, built during the period of the Asif Jahis. The Cathedral of Saint Joseph, located in the Gun foundry area was built around 1860 A.D. and has a distinctive Italian touch. The Sanghi temple is located about 25 kms from the Hyderabad city center in Sanghi Nagar. The temple stands atop the Paramanand Giri hillock.
Getaways from Hyderabad
- Alampur: Located at a distance of 200 km from Hyderabad, Alampur is famous for its marvelous temples and remnants of some ancient temples. It is famous for the Nine temples known as Nava Bhramma temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva. These temples were built by the Badami Chalukyas, who reigned for about 200 years, starting from the middle of the sixth century
- Vijayawada: Siutated around 265 kilometres from Hyderabad, Vijaywada is located on the banks of Krishna river. One of the busiest railway junctions in India, it is also known as the business city of Andhra Pradesh. It holds tremendous religious significance for Hindus as well as Buddhists. The main places of worship in Vijaywada include the Kanaka Durga Temple, St.Mary's Church, Gunadala Matha Shrine. Besides, there are plenty of other attractions like the Rajiv Gandhi Park, Victoria Museum, Mogalarajapuram caves, Hazrat Bal Mosque, Kondapali Fort etc.
- Bhadrachalam: Lying about 320 kilometres from Hyderabad, Bhadrachalam is a popular religious spot.Thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit this holy town every year, especially during the time of Ramnavami. It is famous for a temple dedicated to Lord Rama.
- Nagarjunasagar and Nagarjunakonda: Located in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, Nagarjuna Konda is about 156 kms from Hyderabad. It is a pilgrimage spot for Buddhists, housing the relics of a Buddhist civilisation dating back to 3rd Century A.D. The chief draw is a partly ruined statue of the Buddha. The other major attractions in Nagarjuna Konda include a waterfall, a massive dam and a museum. Excavations at Nagarjuna Konda have led to the discovery of an ancient civilization. The museum, located in the center of man-made dam Nagarjuna Sagar houses many of the relics from these excavations.
- Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary: Located at a distance of about 112 kms from Hyderabad, Pakhal Wildlife Sanctuary has earned plaudits for its beautiful landscape. Spread over an area of about 860 square kms, it is named after the man-made lake Pakhal lake. Established as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1952, it famous for its wide range of flora and fauna. The main animal species include the leopard, sambhar, nilgai, sloth bear, spotted deer, mountain gazelle, four horned antelope etc.
There is a wide range of accommodation options to suit the needs of every kind of traveler. Whether it is the executive or business traveler or backpackers, suitable pocket-friendly accommodation is available for the visitors to this city. Hyderabad has 5- Star hotels like the Taj Krishna, ITC Kakatiya Sheraton & Towers, Hotel Taj Banjara, Taj Residency, Viceroy Hotel & Convention Centre , Hotel Manohar, Hotel Sitara among others.
There are 4-Star Hotels like Hotel Green Park and Amrutha Castle. Besides there are economy hotels like Hotel Golconda, Baseraa Inn, Hotel Rukmini Riviera, Hotel Deccan Continental, Aditya Park Inn, Hotel Asrani International, Hotel Tara, Hotel Ashoka for the budget traveler.
Tickle your Palate
Hyderabadi cuisine incorporates Mughal, traditional Andhra and Telangana influences. Hyderabadis love to relish their food. In terms of popularity, Hyderabadi Biryani wins hands down. Besides the Biryani, Pheni and Haleem are also popular dishes. Apart from this, Hyderabadis also swear by 'Irani chai' and 'Osmania biscuit'.
If you are game for shopping, Hyderabad will not let you down. Here you can shop for world famous pearls, jewellery, bangles, traditional arts & crafts, handicrafts, sarees, clothes from reputed international brands, what name you! The main shopping areas comprise Basheerbagh, Abids and Nampally. Other favorite haunts are Begum Bazaar (for brassware), Laad Bazaar (for diamonds, pearls, bangles and precious metals), Sultan Bazar and Mahatma Gandhi Road. Begum Bazar is the largest market in the city. If these are not enough, you can also rummage through Ameerpet, Himayatnagar, Begumpet, Somajiguda and Punjagutta. Besides, for the benefit of toursists, Andhra Pradesh Tourism has opened souvenir and handicraft shops christened 'Gnapika'.
To sum up
Hyderabad has something for everybody. It is a city, which is marching ahead to the future, while retaining its historical roots. If you are not stumped by the flavors of Hyderabadi cuisine, its grandiose monuments will floor you. It is city that pulsates with life and is sure to make you come back for more.