The capital city of Andhra Pradesh - a prominent Indian State, Hyderabad is a sprawling, bustling and vibrant city. Often described as the "City of Minarets" or "City of Nizams" or "City of Pearls", Hyderabad occupies a pivotal position in the heart of the country. It is a premier state in terms of population, revenue and importance. The city stands at an altitude of 1776ft above the sea level on the Deccan Plateau region. Attached to the city is its twin, Secunderabad, which is a part of Hyderabad and they are separated by a lake called Husain Sagar. Husain Sagar, an artificial lake, was constructed during the time of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah Wali in 1562 AD. A 400 years old historical city, Hyderabad is adorned with natural beauty, beautiful historical buildings, mosque and minarets, forts, bridges, parks, gardens, hills and lakes.
Popularly called as the "City of Nizams", Hyderabad, today is a blend of old and new and one of the most developed cities in the country in terms of politics, education, technology, entertainment, media, fashion and arts. The standard of living of the people has developed to such an extent that it has become one of the happening and leading cities of India.
In this "City of Pearls", you can find pearls from almost all over the world. The artisans here are skilled enough to pierce and string pearls without damaging them. The other main essence of Hyderabad is the chime and shine of colorful Hyderabadi bangles in the pearl and bangle market known as Laad Bazaar. All along the streets of the old city at Charminar (Char - four and Minar - Tower) you can find hundreds of bangle shops lined up with around 2500 craftsmen weaving their magic. In addition, you can find pretty colourful clothes embroidered with copper and silver threads giving a royal look to your attire. The Hyderabadi cuisine especially the Shahi Biryaani, is much sought after.
Hyderabad is well known for its IT companies in india and lately it acquired the status of "Cyber City" or "Cyberabad". All major MNCs like Microsoft, Google, Deloitte, Motorola, Oracle, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other companies including the Indian-based Companies like Wipro, Satyam, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, Apollo Health Street and many more have their Product Development Centre in Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh.
The City is known for hospitality and friendly people. People from every walk of life- rich and poor, orthodox and modern, made the city as their abode. All the religious groups, Hinduism, Islamic, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, are all found here. Roads are usually busy on the weekdays at peak time- generally in the morning from 9:00am to 11:00am when people rush to reach offices and schools and in the evening around 17:30hrs to 20:00hr when the roads are jam-packed. Towards the evening and mainly on weekends, many people set for spending leisure time and head for some hot spots like parks, theatres, malls and pubs. A popular avenue, Necklace Road, lying on one side of the Hussain Sagar provides a scenic atmosphere where most of the people like to spend time. There are many popular eateries along this strip where you can pacify your taste buds.
Hyderabad-Andhra Pradesh is decked with many mega malls, recreational parks, IMAX Theater and many other entertainment centres. It is also home to the second largest film industry in India, the Telugu Film industry, known as Tollywood. Chiranjeevi, Nagarjuna, Venkatesh, NT Rama Rao, Negeshwar Rao, Balakrishna are some of the sought after celebrities from Hyderabad film industry. Hyderabad has made its mark in the field of sports by producing some of the luminaries like international tennis player Sania Mirza, cricket player VVS Laxman, badminton player Pullela Gopichand, former Indian Cricket player and present Indian Cricket Team Selector, Venkatapathy Raju, International Chess Player P. Hari Krishna, Olympic Bronze medalist in weight lifting Karanam Malleshwari and many others.
The city has many high-end world class hotels and restaurants like Marriot, ITC Grand Kakatiya, Taj Group of Hotels- Taj Krishna, Taj Banjara, Holiday Inn and many others.
You also have famous international eateries like Mc Donald's, Pizza Hut, Subway, KFC, Coffee Day and others in the city. There are also some exclusive and branded boutiques like Stanza, Neerus, Brisah, to name a few, where you get some of the fashionable and stylish outfits.
Not to forget are the official residence of the Nizam called as Purani Haveli, the King Kothi Palace where the last Nizam - Mir Osman Ali Khan lived and the Birla Planetarium located on the hill of Nawbat Pahad which is a tribute to the advances made in science and technology, the Paigah Tombs that are 200 years old situated at Santoshnagar and which are made of lime and mortar beautifully carved having marble inlay work on them and belonging to the Paigah nobles.
Also Osmania Hospital, City College, MJ Market (Mozam Jha Market), Unani Hospital and the Osmania University buildings, built in the time of Nizams that stand even today are the great examples of the development and architecture of the Nizam era.
The State Library, the Public Gardens are among the old and official buildings of the city. There is also a Lal Bahadur Stadium or LB Stadium, Indoor Stadium at Gachibowli, GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium and Kotla Vijay Bhaskar Reddy Stadium where many prominent games like Asian Games, World Military Games took place. Every two years there is International Children Film Festival that takes place in the city.
Other prominent and latest places to visit are KBR Park, and NTR park/gardens that are popular parks in the city, the Statue of Buddha on the Hussain Sagar Lake. Apart from this you also have other theme parks like Ocean Park, Mount Opera, Elles World, Snow World and the latest Jalvihaar. There is also Nehru Zoological Park located close to Mir Alam Lake, which is amongst the largest Zoo parks in India.
Around 25kms from Mehedipatnam you have Chilkur Balaji temple of Lord Venkateshwara also called as 'Visa Balaji'. There is Sanghi Temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara close to the Ramoji Film City.
There are some man-made lakes like Gandipet, which is the largest in Hyderabad and a major drinking water source to the city; the Himayat Sagar Lake close to Gandipet; the Hussain Sagar Lake that separates the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Durgam Cheruvu, a lake in the HI-Tech City is also one of the happening places. There are a number of malls and entertainment centres in the city. Lifestyles, Hyderabad Central, The City Centre, and Babu Khan Mall are some of the high-end happening shopping malls where you can get everything you desire.
During your stay in Hyderabad, do not forget to taste the fabulous Hyderabadi cuisine. This Mughalai style of cooking dates back to the Asaf Jah period, which has a typical Mughalai flavour and an exotic blend of spices. This mouth-watering royal food can be found at many good restaurants in the city. Not-to-miss is the Hyderabadi Biryani; Kebabs cooked in different styles like Boti, Jhammi, Kalmi, Shikampur, Sheek and Dum; Khormas- a vegetable or meat dish cooked with rich creamy and spicy gravy; Rumali Rotis- bread as thin as handkerchief.
Things to do in Hyderabad City:
If you are visiting the city in the month of Ramzaan (usually in the month of October/November), don't forget to taste Haleem- pounded wheat and meat cooked with coriander and mint leaves and rich spices and Sheer-Khorma- a sweet dish made of spaghettis.
If you are visiting in the month of January, don't forget to visit the All India Industrial Exhibition where craftsmen from all parts of the country and from various industries like cottage, small-scale, large-scale, electronic and handloom industries exhibit their workmanship, skills and latest inventions.
The city is overall a safe place to visit. However, you will have to be cautious with your belongings especially in the crowded places and while walking on the road. It's always better if you avoid travelling alone during night times. Also double-check with your belongings and baggage as you get down from a taxi or auto. Any inconvenience, you can call 108 and 100 for police service.
All money in bills and travellers cheque should be changed into Indian currency only through authorized money changers and banks.
Some minimum precautions should be taken anywhere you travel in the city. Drink aerated or mineral water as the tap water is not filtered.
Local Travelling Services:
The public transportation in Hyderabad is more convenient and easy way to get around. You have taxis, auto-rickshaws, APSRTC buses and Multi Modal Transport System (MMTS) or suburban railway system that connects to some of the major places in the city.
The best way to get around is to use the yellow colour auto-rickshaws, generally called as "auto". They are fast, bear reasonable amount and have digital meters for fare, which depends on the distance travelled. The minimum fare starts with Rs.12/- and make sure the meter is turned on before you get in. From night 22:00hrs to early morning 5:00, you will have to pay double the meter charge or sometimes half the amount from your point of hiring. They are one of the convenient ways to roam about as the city suffers with traffic congestion.
The APSRTC inter-city bus service is the other best option and economical way to get around, as the ticket fares are cheaper. You just have to know the proper bus number and the destination it goes which is displayed on the board in the front and back side of the bus. There are also some Metro Liner buses with comfortable but limited seats and offering service to limited destinations. In the peak hours the buses are heavily stuffed making it almost impossible to get in. The ticket can be bought at the conductor of the bus. The minimum fare starts with Rs.2/- for the first stop from the point of boarding and a maximum of Rs.7/- for a distance of 16kms roughly. These buses run from early morning 5:00 to 23:00 hours. The main bus stops are at Koti, Secunderabad, Nampally, Afzalgung, Charminar and Dilsukhnagar from where you can reach to most of the places in the city.
There are many private-owned taxi services and cabs that take you to your desired destination. You will have to make an advance booking over phone or at their offices. Most of them are located at nampally station where you can rent a car and drive. Some of them are Casy Cab: +91-040-27762023/27767146 and City Cabs: +91-040-55316000/55316001.