The splendid architecture of Hyderabad’s glory days is what brings most visitors to the city.

Hyderabad, one of the poster boys for India’s biotech and software boom, has emerged as a great place to soak up the atmosphere of the New India. However, it is the splendid architecture of Hyderabad’s glory days that brings most visitors to the city. The 16th-century Qutub Shahi rulers produced some masterful architecture including the stunning Charminar, Golconda Fort and their final resting place at the opulent Qutub Shahi tombs – all are top places to visit in Hyderabad. It’s also a city that heaves with history: splendid markets, mosques, architecture, museums and pearl bazaars. On the outskirts of the city are film-set theme parks, as well as the grand medieval fortress and tombs of the old rulers. A day’s drive to the southeast lies Nagarjunakonds, where the relocated ruins of one of India’s richest Buddhist civilizations rise from the middle of an artificial lake.

The Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, founded by the rulers of two separate Muslim dynasties, have long since bled into one conglomerate metropolis. The southern half, Hyderabad, holds the dusty and congested Old City; most of the places to visit in Hyderabad are located here. In the Old City you will find the beautiful but faded palaces of Islamic architecture such as Chowmahalla Palace, while the atmospheric lanes around the Charminar throb with a contemporary Muslim mania. Mecca Masjid, the second largest mosque in India, is one of the Hyderabad attractions worth visiting here. Secunderabad, which served as a prominent British army base prior to independence and remains the biggest military cantonment in the country, is separated from Hyderabad by the Hussain Sagar lake.

One of the best things to do in Hyderabad is shopping. Hyderabad is famous for its high-quality pearl industry hence it’s nickname ‘City of Pearls’. Laad Bazaar located in the Old City has a sprawling bazaar of pearl, perfume and jewellery shops.

Below is a list of popular places to visit in Hyderabad.


1. Golconda Fort Hyderabad

Golconda Fort, one of the greatest medieval fortresses in India, was the capital of the Qutb Shahi kings who ruled over the area from 1507 to 1687. Golconda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions (some still mounted with cannons), eight gateways, and four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, and stables inside.


2. Charminar Hyderabad

Charminar (“Four Towers”) is the iconic landmark of the city of Hyderabad. Built in 1591 by King Muhammad Kuli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, it was built in commemoration of the eradication of plague. Today, it stands at the crossroads of a bustling cosmopolitan city surrounded by lively markets selling all kinds of goods.


3. Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad

Located southeast of Laad Bazar, Chowmahalla Palace is a palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Modelled on the Shah of Iran’s palace in Tehran, this palace is unique for its style and elegance.


4. Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad

Salar Jung Museum is the third largest museum in India housing the biggest one-man collections of antiques in the world. Belonging to the Salar Jung family who served as Prime Ministers of Hyderabad, it is well known throughout India for its huge and varied prized collections belonging to different civilizations dating back to the 1st century.


5. Mecca Masjid Hyderabad

Located in the historical district of Hyderabad Mecca Masjid is the second largest mosque in India and one of the largest in the world. Several bricks embedded in the central arch are made with soil from Mecca hence the name Mecca Masjid. To the left of the mosque, an enclosure contains the tombs of five Asaf Jahi rulers, the Nizams of Hyderabad.


6. Qutub Shahi Tombs Hyderabad

About 1.5km (160 miles) northwest of Golconda Fort’s Balahisar Gate, lies the graceful domed Qutub Shahi tombs. This royal necropolis with intricately carved stonework is laid out in gardens with water channels, pools and tree-lined pathways. Among the mausoleums, Mohammad Quli Qutub Shahi is the most impressive. Also worth a visit are the tombs of Hayat Bakshi Begum and Abdullah Qutub Shah (VII ruler), the Great Mosque and the Badshahi Hammam.


7. Laad Bazaar Hyderabad

West of the Charminar, the crowded Laad Bazaar is the perfect place to get lost. It is the oldest and biggest market in Hyderabad selling everything from bangles, jewellery and perfumes to fabrics, wedding related items and kitchen implements.


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