Explore the Hidden Gems of Hyderabad: A Journey Through the City of Nizams
Hi, fellow travelers and adventure-seekers! Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Hyderabad or a seasoned explorer of this fascinating city. I’m excited to take you along on my recent trip and share my experiences with you. From the moment I arrived, I was captivated by the energy, culture, and beauty of Hyderabad, the capital city of Telangana. I knew that I was in for an unforgettable adventure. Over the course of my Hyderabad trip, I explored the city’s vibrant streets, sampled its delicious cuisine, and immersed myself in its rich history and traditions. I discovered hidden gems and unexpected surprises along the way, and I can’t wait to share them all with you in this article. So whether you’re planning your own Hyderabad trip or simply looking to learn more about this incredible destination, sit back, relax, and let’s embark on a journey of discovery together!
Let’s start with a brief about Telangana. Telangana is one of the youngest states in India. Formerly part of Andra Pradesh, on June 2-2014 it was officially formed as a separate 29th state of India. Talking about its geographic location, Telangana is located in southern India, bordered by Maharashtra to the north, Chhattisgarh to the northeast, Andhra Pradesh to the east and south, and Karnataka to the west. Telangana has a rich history and culture, with many historic sites and monuments, along with mesmerizing natural attractions, including forests, waterfalls, and lakes.
Coming back to the star of the show, Hyderabad.The capital of the state, one of the largest cities in the state, and one of the most popular cities in India. Last but not least the Technology Hub of India, supports Exponential growth in the technology Industry. The city is home to many world-class research and development facilities, and has a highly skilled workforce, making it an attractive destination for the technology industry. Personally, I loved the infrastructure of Hyderabad, must say it is well planned.
The city is a perfect blend of ancient and modern, traditional and cosmopolitan. From historical monuments and palaces that showcase the region’s rich heritage to bustling markets and restaurants that offer a taste of its vibrant culture, Hyderabad has something for everyone. Moreover, the city’s strategic location makes it a gateway to some of India’s most spectacular natural wonders, including the lush hills and waterfalls of the Western Ghats and the stunning beaches of the Bay of Bengal.
Ways to reach Hyderabad:
Okay, so there are several ways one can reach Hyderabad. I usually opt for a flight if it’s a day trip, because I need to save precious daylight time and utilize active body energy fruitfully. I will choose to travel only when a night journey is possible. I mean overnight trains are available. I give more preference to night travel overflight.
Below is a brief about several travel options:
Hyderabad has one international airport, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, which is well-connected to major cities across India and around the world. The airport is located about 20 km +/- from the city center, and you can take a taxi or a bus to reach your destination.
If you want pocket-friendly options to reach a specific point in the city from the airport. The Pushpak buses from the airport are a great option. These buses provide transportation to major areas such as Hi-Tech City, Begumpet, Secunderabad, Mehdipatnam, and Charminar. The buses run every half an hour from 3:30 am to 11:00 pm, and every hour from 1:00 am to 3:00 am.
Hyderabad is well-connected to major cities across India by rail, with three major railway stations – Hyderabad Railway Station, Secunderabad Railway Station, and Kacheguda Railway Station. All three railway stations are well-connected to the Hyderabad Metro rail network, making it easier for travelers to reach their destinations in the city. The Hyderabad Metro provides convenient and efficient transportation to various parts of the city from these railway stations. Or Auto is an all-time available option.
Hyderabad is well-connected to other major cities in India through a network of national highways and state highways. The city has several bus stations, including the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, also known as the Imlibun Bus Station. You can also hire a taxi or drive a car to reach Hyderabad from nearby cities.
Which locality and options for the stay in Hyderabad:
In this section, I am going to talk about the most popular, most recommended, and most desired locality not just for travelers but for anybody who is planning to shift to Hyderabad.
Take the below list in the decreasing order of my preference. Along with a small description of the locality to help you build a visual of the locality I am going to also mention a few stay options that you can opt for.
This is a posh residential area and one of the most sought-after localities in Hyderabad. This area is known for its upscale residential apartments, commercial complexes, and shopping malls. It is a preferred location due to its central location and proximity to major attractions and corporate offices.
There are several options for staying in Banjara Hills, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses. Some of the popular luxury hotels in the area include Taj Krishna, Park Hyatt, and The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace. For those looking for budget-friendly options, there are several guesthouses, hostels, and serviced apartments available in Banjara Hills. Some of the popular ones include Hitech Inn, Sai Prakash Guest House, and Deccan Comforts.
Apart from these, there are also several Airbnb options available in Banjara Hills, which offer a more personalized and homely experience. These options range from private rooms to entire apartments and villas. Overall, Banjara Hills offers a diverse range of stay options to suit every budget and preference. Initially, I wanted to stay in this area but then I found out that it has a solo traveler and the budget constraint for the 3-star hotel stay was not balancing.
This is another upscale residential area with a mix of luxury and budget-friendly stay options, including hotels, guesthouses, and service apartments. It is located just a few kilometers away from Banjara Hills and is also considered one of the most expensive neighborhoods in India. Jubilee Hills is also known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with many bars, clubs, and lounges located in the area. Some of the popular places to visit for a night out include the TOT Nightclub, Air Live, and Vertigo – The High Life. There are also many shopping options available in Jubilee Hills, including high-end boutiques and designer stores, as well as local markets and street vendors.
This locality is home to many IT and software companies and has a good range of budget hotels, service apartments, and guesthouses.
Some of the popular hotels in this area include Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre, Lemon Tree Premier, Red Fox Hotel, and The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace.
For those looking for a longer stay, there are many serviced apartments available in Hi-Tech City, such as Oakwood Residence Kapil Hyderabad, Falcons Nest Serviced Apartments, and The Lime Boutique Suites. These offer more space and flexibility compared to hotels and are often equipped with a kitchen and other amenities. Hitech City is also known for its shopping malls such as Inorbit Mall and Forum Sujana Mall, which offer a variety of shopping and entertainment options.
This locality is a suburb located in the western part of Hyderabad City, Telangana, India. It is situated in the Serilingampally Mandal of the Rangareddy district. Gachibowli has emerged as a software hub, housing some of the top IT companies such as Microsoft, Wipro, TCS, Infosys, Capgemini, Amazon, and many more.
Gachibowli is well connected to the other parts of the city through the Outer Ring Road (ORR) and the Hyderabad Metro Rail. It is also in close proximity to the financial district of Hyderabad, making it a popular residential and commercial area.
Gachibowli is also home to many luxurious hotels like The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace, Hyatt Hyderabad Gachibowli, and Radisson Hyderabad Hitec City. There are many budget hotels in the area such as FabHotel KRS Nest Gachibowli, Treebo Trend Aamantran, Swan Suites Gachibowli, and many more. I have been in Hyderabad for 3 nights and 4 days. I have stayed at Swan Suites Gachibowli, I must say the overall vibe of the hotel is good.
Where and What to Eat in Hyderabad:
Now comes the most mouth-watering part of this article. Every State in India has something special and unique to offer when it comes to cuisine. So Hyderabad is known for its rich and flavorful cuisine, which is a blend of Mughal, Turkish, and Persian influences. From traditional biryanis to spicy curries and delectable desserts, the city offers a wide variety of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
One of the most iconic dishes in Hyderabad is the Hyderabadi biryani, a fragrant rice dish made with basmati rice, meat, and a blend of aromatic spices. Some popular places to try biryani in Hyderabad include Shah Ghouse, Bawarchi, and Paradise Biryani.
Another must-try dish in Hyderabad is the famous Haleem, a hearty and nutritious stew made with meat, lentils, and spices, cooked over a slow fire for hours. Some popular places to try Haleem in Hyderabad include Pista House, Shadab, and Cafe 555.
For those with a sweet tooth, Hyderabad offers a range of delectable desserts such as Qubani ka Meetha, a dessert made with apricots and cream, and Double ka Meetha, a bread pudding soaked in sugar syrup and garnished with nuts. To be frank I didn’t get a chance to try the above sweet, even though I had the above sweet dish included in my checklist.
But I would highly recommend you to try Khoya Jalebi. This was not on my checklist but it was recommended by my friend. Trust me it’s worth it, khowa jalebi is delicious, you might find it on the higher side of sweetness though. One place where I ate it was near Charminar, the shop’s name is BURHANPUR Khowa Jalebi.
Ways to get around in Hyderabad:
Hyderabad has several modes of transportation that you can use to get around the city. Whatever mode of transport you choose, if you are traveling solo I would suggest you install the Hyderabad Traffic Police app on your smartphone. The app has an SOS button you can use in case of emergencies.
Here are some of the ways to get around in Hyderabad:
The Hyderabad Metro Rail is a fast and efficient way to travel around the city. It connects various parts of the city and is a great way to avoid traffic. The metro system currently has three operational lines: Red Line, Blue Line, and Green Line. The Red Line runs from Miyapur to LB Nagar, covering a distance of 29.21 kilometers and 27 stations. The Blue Line runs from Nagole to Raidurg, covering a distance of 28.64 kilometers and 23 stations. The Green Line runs from JBS to MGBS, covering a distance of 11.5 kilometers and 9 stations. The fare is based on the distance traveled, with a minimum fare of Rs. 10 and a maximum fare of Rs. 60.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) operates several bus routes within the city. These buses are affordable and cover almost all major routes and parts of the city. TSRTC operates both regular and air-conditioned buses with different fare categories.
Auto-rickshaws are a common sight in Hyderabad and are a great way to travel short distances. Make sure to negotiate the fare before getting into the auto-rickshaw as they often tend to overcharge tourists. There are also shared auto-rickshaws, which are a more economical option, but they have fixed routes and only stop at designated stops. It is also advisable to use a ride-sharing app or hire an auto-rickshaw through a registered service provider to ensure safety and avoid any issues with the fare. In Hyderabad Ola and Ubers are available but I think Rapido is more common. My friends in Hyderabad were also using Rapido.
Taxis are easily available in Hyderabad, and you can book them through various apps like Ola, Uber, and Rapido.
Rental Cars or Rental Bike:
You can also rent a car in Hyderabad to explore the city at your own pace. Several rental car companies offer both self-drive and chauffeur-driven options. Similarly, you can rent a bike in Hyderabad. Note that when you are renting a bike or car, you are going to self-drive. The number plate should be black-yellow. Some of the apps you can use for renting a car or bike are Drivezy and Vogo.
You can also rent a bicycle in Hyderabad to explore the city. The government has also launched a bicycle-sharing program called YoBike, which is an eco-friendly way to get around the city. Another option for renting bicycles in Hyderabad is through private companies such as Yulu and Rentrip. These companies offer dockless bicycles that can be rented using their mobile apps. The bicycles are equipped with a GPS system and can be picked up and dropped off at any location within the designated service area.
Top Things to Do in Hyderabad:
Hyderabad is a city of rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant traditions. There is no shortage of things to do and see in this fascinating city, from exploring ancient forts and monuments to savoring delicious cuisine and shopping for traditional crafts.
In this section, we will take a look at the top things to do in Hyderabad, so you can make the most of your visit to this captivating city.
Visit the iconic Charminar:
This historic monument is a must-visit attraction in Hyderabad. Built-in the 16th century, the Charminar is a beautiful example of Islamic architecture and is located in the heart of the old city. It was built in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, to commemorate the end of a deadly epidemic that had ravaged the city. I didn’t get a chance to climb due to the renovation process. If you are lucky, you can climb to the top of the Charminar for a panoramic view of the city. Charminar is open to visitors every day from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. I will suggest that you visit Charminar around 4 pm since you will get a chance to see Charminar in daylight and evening light too.
Explore the Golconda Fort:
Golconda Fort is a historic fort located on the outskirts of Hyderabad. It is known for its beautiful architecture and stunning views of the surrounding area. A sound and light show is held here every evening, which is a must-see attraction. The fort was originally built in the 13th century during the Kakatiya dynasty. It was originally a mud fort built on a granite hilltop by the Kakatiya rulers. Later, it was fortified by the Bahmani Sultanate and became the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty from the 16th to the 17th century. The fort is located about 11 km from the city center and is spread over an area of 11 km². You should climb to the top of the fort to enjoy panoramic views of Hyderabad and explore the so-called rooms and halls within the fort. The fort also features a unique engineering marvel, the “Rahban Cannon”, which was used to warn the residents of the fort of an impending attack. It is said that the sound of the cannon could be heard up to 15 km away! During the reign of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Golconda Fort became a thriving center for trade in diamonds and other precious stones. The famous Kohinoor diamond was also believed to have been mined from the nearby Kollur Mine during this time.
Enjoy the vibe of Chowmahalla Palace:
The Chowmahalla Palace is a beautiful palace located in the old city of Hyderabad. It was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad during their rule, and today it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The palace complex has four palaces, namely Afzal Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, and Aftab Mahal, and a courtyard in the center. The palace was built in the 18th century and features a blend of architectural styles, including Persian, Indo-Saracenic, and European. It hosts a mesmerizing light and sound show every evening that is a must-see attraction.
Experience the beauty of Hussain Sagar Lake:
Hussain Sagar Lake is a beautiful artificial lake in the heart of Hyderabad. It was built in 1563 by Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, the founder of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. The lake was originally built to provide water to the city and to prevent floods. It is a popular spot for boating and offers stunning views of the city. The lake also has a giant statue of Lord Buddha, which stands at the center of the lake on a small island called the Rock of Gibraltar. Hussain Sagar Lake is also famous for the annual ‘Deccan Festival’, a cultural festival that is held every year in the month of February. The festival is a celebration of the rich culture and heritage of the Deccan region, with many cultural events and performances taking place over several days.
Visit the Salar Jung Museum:
The Salar Jung Museum is a must-visit attraction for art lovers. It houses one of the largest collections of art and artifacts in the world and is a great place to explore Hyderabad’s rich history and culture. The museum was established in 1951 and is located on the southern bank of the Musi River. The museum houses over 40,000 objects, including paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, textiles, furniture, and weapons, among others. The collection includes items from various parts of the world, including Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Asia. One of the highlights of the museum is the Veiled Rebecca, a sculpture of a woman that appears to be draped in a transparent veil. Other notable pieces include a jade book, an ivory tusk, and a clock in the shape of a peacock.
Visit the Ramoji Film City:
Ramoji Film City is the world’s largest integrated film city and a popular tourist attraction. Ramoji Film City is a world-renowned film studio complex located in Hyderabad, spread over 2000 acres. It was built by the Telugu film producer Ramoji Rao in 1996 and is considered to be one of the largest and most advanced film studios in the world. The film city is home to many studios, sound stages, live sets, amusement parks, and other attractions, making it a popular destination for tourists and film enthusiasts alike. It offers a range of activities such as film studio tours, live shows, and adventure sports. The film city also has a large number of theme parks, including a bird park, a butterfly park, and a dinosaur park.
Ideal sessions or months to visit (to be in) Hyderabad:
The ideal time to visit Hyderabad is from October to February. During this time, the weather is pleasant with cool mornings and evenings, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities. The temperatures range between 15°C to 30°C, making it comfortable for tourists to explore the city.
Visiting Hyderabad during the monsoon season, from July to September, can also be a good idea as the city looks lush green and the weather is pleasant with occasional showers. However, heavy rainfall can sometimes disrupt travel plans.
Avoid visiting Hyderabad during the summer season, from March to June, as the temperatures can soar up to 45°C, making it difficult to move around and explore the city. Hyderabad is really hot in summer, a small demo I got during my trip in March, and I can just imagine what will happen in April and May.
Hyderabad is a city that offers a unique blend of tradition and modernity. It’s a city that has something for everyone – from history and culture to delicious food and exciting nightlife. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a family, or a group of friends, there’s no shortage of things to see and do. With its rich heritage, stunning architecture, and bustling city life, Hyderabad is a must-visit destination in India. From the iconic Charminar and Golconda Fort to the beautiful Hussain Sagar Lake and the vibrant markets, Hyderabad is a city that will leave you mesmerized.
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