Located on the banks of the Musi River on the Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad is the capital of Andhra Pradesh in Southern India.

Once the seat of the powerful and wealthy Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi dynasties Hyderabad has seen centuries of great prosperity and innovation. The city owes its existence to a water shortage at Golconda in the late 16th century. The reigning Qutb Shahis were forced to relocate, and so Mohammed Quli and the royal family abandoned Golconda Fort for the banks of the Musi River. Sultan Muhhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who founded Hyderabad in 1591, was an enlightened ruler, and a poet, scholar and patron of the arts. His kingdom was also a flourishing centre of trade, especially in pearls, diamonds and horses. At his court and in his bazaars, Hyderabadis rubbed shoulders with traders, scholars and artisans from different lands. This cosmopolitan tradition, and the culture of courtly elegance and etiquette, continued with the next dynasty – that of the Asif Jahi Nizams, which ruled from 1724 until 1947. As a result, Hyderabad has a uniquely composite culture, a melange of Hindu and Muslim customs, mingled with Arab, Persian and Turkish influences, evident in its language, food, manners and arts.

Today, the ‘Old City’ is full of centuries-old Islamic monuments and even older charms. In fact, the whole city is laced with architectural gems: ornate tombs, mosques, palaces and homes from the past are tucked away, faded and enchanting, in corners all over town.

Hyderabad has now grown well beyond the confines of the original walled city, to include another town north of the Musi river, the military cantonment at Secunderabad, and a burgeoning high-tech estate, nicknamed “Cyberabad”. A city rich with history and tradition, Hyderabad now competes with Bangalore, Chennai for the crown of India’s IT capital; Microsoft and Google have their India headquarters here.

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