The capital of the state of Telangana is known as the City of Pearls for its central role in the historical trade of precious stones. Hyderabad can be simply separated into the old city, where many of the architectural gems are to be found, and the new city, sometimes called Cyberabad for its flourishing tech sector. But this is a sprawling mega-city, with dozens more crowded neighbourhoods in between, each with their own unique and vibrant atmosphere. Get your bearings with a fun auto rickshaw tour, bearing in mind that at rush hour the traffic can be, ahem, a little on the heavy side.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Hyderabad
Old City - The vast majority of Hyderabad’s historical attractions are clustered in the old city, on the south bank of the Musi river. Charminar is probably the best-known sight, and you can climb to the top of one of its four minarets for panoramic city views. The vast Golconda Fort, a short distance outside the city, was once the seat of the Qutb Shahi kingdom.
Central Zone - Ideal for upscale dining and shopping, the central zone also has plenty of sightseeing opportunities, particularly the majestic King Kothi Palace, with its distinctive European styling.
North Zone - The beautiful Spanish mosque, so named for its Moorish appearance, is found in the neighbourhood of Secunderabad, which is sometimes referred to as Hyderabad’s twin city. During the 1890s, a young Winston Churchill was for a time stationed in this area.
Laad Bazaar - One of the best-known bazaars in Hyderabad, the Laad Bazaar has been around for centuries, and is where to come if you want to find inexpensive, gaudy jewellery, especially bangles, and you can also pick up some beautiful hand woven saris and perfumes here. Typically, you’ll be invited to seat yourself on a mattress, while the shopkeeper arranges their wares in front of you.
Things to See in Hyderabad
Take a tour of Ramoji Film City, the world’s largest film studio complex and ground zero for what’s known as Tollywood, a branch of Indian cinema producing movies in the Telugu language. You’ll catch miniature cities, Wild West stunt shows, and breathtakingly choreographed dance performances. The Golkonda Fort, just to the west of Hyderabad, is an Indian archaeological treasure, with an outer wall spanning 10 kilometres, and a vault that was once used to store some of the world’s most valuable gems, including the Koh-i-noor diamond.
Things to Do in Hyderabad
Eat - as much as you can. Even in a country known for its delectable food, Hyderabad is famous. Biryani is a very popular dish here, and the city also has a good reputation for the quality of its street food. Birla Mandir, a Hindu Temple, was constructed with thousand of tonnes of pure white marble and is one of the most iconic sights in Hyderabad. Another must-do in Hyderabad, spend a morning wandering the colourful bazaars to take in the local atmosphere and snapping up a few gifts to take home.