Hyderabad: The Nawabi Eden Of Cultural Amalgamation, A Must Visit

August 30, 2018

by Akshita Prasad

Every city has a distinct culture, but the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, has a culture that is an amalgamation of the beauty of its diversity and the richness of its history. The City of Pearls is bustling with life, color, and a myriad of tales to tell. The city holds something for everyone who visits, and anyone who visits it doesn’t go back having seen it, but having lived it.

History:

Muhammad Quli Qutab Shah established his kingdom in 1591 near the Golconda region. It was later expanded to the west of the now non-existent Musi river, and the new found city was called, Hyderabad, the entrance of which was marked by the famous Charminar.

When To Visit:

The perfect time to visit would be during the spring, between January and March. Winter’s can be a little too chilly, but between October and December, after the unpredictable monsoon comes to an end, is also a good time. Summers can get exceptionally hot with temperatures soaring to 40°C, so visits during the summers are best avoided, owing to the scorching tropical heat.

How To Get There:

Hyderabad has regular flights to and from all major international and national airports. The city can also be reached by the well-connected train lines and highways. For those looking to experience the country’s flavors, trains and cars are the recommended option.

How To Move Around:

The best way to travel around the city on a budget is to take the bus, with a well-connected and frequent schedule, taking the bus won’t be much of a hassle. Cabs operated by Uber and Ola are also reasonably priced options and so are the autos that can be found on every street corner, although haggling can be an issue with them. It is recommended that travelers avoid the city’s new metro, owing to its lack of connectivity.

Must Visits:

Charminar:

The structure originally marked the entrance of the city, but today it has come to be the most recognized symbol associated with The structure housing a mosque on the very top is surrounded by various colorful bazaars. Tourists can walk-up to the very top of the structure, through its minarets.

(Charminar in Old City)

Golconda Fort:

The citadel and fort that housed the Qutub Shahi dynasty, built centuries before their reign, lays in ruins today, but having witnessed centuries of history, it still has numerous tales to tell.

Qutub Shahi Tombs:

Located not too far from the Golconda Fort, these beautifully constructed tombs and mosques, spread across the curated lawns of Ibrahim Bagh, houses the bodies of the members of the Qutub Shahi dynasty.

Chowmahalla Palace:

Once the seat of the Nizams, the palace continues to stand tall, not too far from Charminar. The palace now houses a museum that showcases relics from the era of the Nizams and gives a glimpse into their lives.

Salarjung Museum:

One of the largest museums in the world, the museum boasts a vast and diverse collection, housing artifacts, manuscripts, sculptures, textiles, carvings, furniture, and ceramics from all over the world. What makes the museum all the more different is the fact that the entire collection housed in it was collected by of one man, Salar Jung III.

Birla Mandir:

A Hindu temple located on a hillock, built entirely of pure white marble, the Birla Mandir is a must-see for it’s beautiful and intricate architecture comprising of various architectural styles from various regions.

Mecca Masjid

Made of bricks from the holy site of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid is breathtaking. The beautiful structure was once located at the city centre and the city was planned around it.

Mandatory Food Stops:

Hyderabad is infamous for its Biryani, the best of which can be found in a restaurant chain called Paradise. Which is located in Paradise Circle, Gachibowli, and Somajiguda.

If visiting during the month of Ramadaan, which falls somewhere between June and August in the Gregorian Calendar, Haleem is a foodie’s essential. Made of meat, rice, ghee, and nuts, slow-cooked for over a day, the rich food left behind by Hyderabad’s Nawabi past, is to kill for. Haleem can be found on every street corner during the month of Ramadaan, but the best one can be found in Pista House, which has stalls at select locations and their main branches in, Nampally, Gachibowli, and Shalibanda. Hotel Madina, located in the populated area of Madina, near Charminar is also said to serve scrumptious Haleem.

Where To Shop:

Hyderabad is adorned with ancient bazaars that have existed since the times of the Qutub Shahis and the Nizams. The colorful and lively markets are part of Hyderabad’s long and rich history and house various things, most indigenous to Hyderabad.

Laad Bazaar:

Laad bazaar located on the street branching out from Charminar is the most popular of all Hyderabadi bazaars. Famous for selling Hyderabad’s famous lac ke chudiyaan (bangles made of lacquer and embellished with stones). Apart from this, the bazaar also sells, pearls, semi-precious stones, kalamkari paintings, Karnataka’s bidriware, and the beautifully embellished, khara dupattas.

Madina:

Madina market located in the locale of Madina near Charminar is a popular market selling everything from wedding dresses to Hyderabad’s famous ittar (perfume derived from botanical sources and distilled with water). Madina is also popular for the small and numerous restaurants it houses, which specialize in authentic Hyderabadi flavors.

Begum Bazaar:

The biggest commercial marketplace in Hyderabad, Begum Bazaar came into being nearly two centuries ago. Housing everything from home decor to perfume, tobacco, and spices.

Koti Sultan Bazaar:

Known by the masses as Residency Bazaar during the Nizam’s time, the 200 years old bazaar is widely known for its wide range of women’s clothing sold at exceptionally affordable prices. Sultan Bazaar also houses silver jewelry and is a good place to find rare, statement pieces of jewelry.

Must Buys:

Lac Ke Chudiyaan:

Lac Ke Chudiyaan are exquisite bangles made of lacquer and embellished with stones and gems. These bangles are widely popular in Hyderabad and can be found in Laad Bazaar for rather low prices.

Ittar:

Ittar or Attar is a perfume locally made out of botanical sources and distilled with water. It is sold in tiny bottles and can be found for as cheap as 20 INR.

Khara Dupatta:

These beautifully embellished dupattas are a part of the complete Islamic wedding ensemble for women, but these dupattas can be purchased separately in various bazaars, especially Laad Bazaar and Madina.

Pearls:

The city’s association with pearls dates back to the eighteenth century and three centuries later Hyderabadi pearls continue to be popular country-wide.

Hyderabad is a city that has a lot to offer to people from all walks of life, who hold varied interests. The essence of the city is captivating and mesmerizing. and the city holds legions of culture, history, surprises, and tales at every turn. The Nawabi paradise of Hyderabad deserves to be to seen and its essence lived, at least once.

 

Akshita Prasad

By Akshita Prasad

I am a nineteen-year-old high school graduate and I live in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. I have taken two years off after graduating to pursue writing and my interest in music and languages. I am an avid reader and I take great interest in travelling, as well as exploring my city.

Read more at akshitaprasad.in

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