Hyderabad, known as the city of pearls, is the capital of the Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. With an exquisite history dating back to the early 16th century meshing with modern innovation and business, Hyderabad is an excellent destination for travelers on luxury tours of India to feel the presence of history while enjoying the lap of luxury.
About 4 miles west of Hyderabad’s Old City, Golkonda (Golconda) Fort was the original seat of power for Qutb Shahi dynasty that ruled the region starting in 1463. The seven rulers of the Shahi dynasty are interred at the Qutb Shahi Tombs, which can easily be seen and reached from the fort. Local legends say a Shahi Sultan built the nearby Taramati Baradari pavilion so he could view his courtesan’s singing and dancing from the walls of Golkonda Fort.
Water shortages in the late 16th century prompted the construction of Hussain Sagar, a sprawling man-made lake not far from the heart of Hyderabad. Standing on a plinth in the center of the lake is one of the largest Buddha statues in the world. The statue was added to the lake in 1992 to pay homage to Buddhism’s influence in the early history of Andhra Pradesh, which was a monastic hub of learning until the 6th century. Lumbini Park lies on the edge of Hussain Sagar, and watching the sunset from the quiet park is a wonderful way to end the day’s explorations.
Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah moved his capital to Hyderabad in 1591, and ordered the construction of Charminar mosque as a monument to commemorate the new city. Charminar’s four minaret towers and grand arches are Hyderabad’s most iconic monument, and it’s a busy destination for tourists and pilgrims alike.
The Chowmahalla Palace is a UNESCO cultural heritage site built over a period of 100 years for the Nizam sovereigns that ruled Hyderabad between the 18th and 20th centuries. The structure is actually 4 distinct palaces with architectural styles from Europe, India, and Persia blended uniquely together. In the palace’s northern courtyard the splendid Khilwat Mubarak hall is where the Nizam rulers held elaborate ceremonies under massive Belgian crystal chandeliers.
Behind the sprawling Chowmahalla Palace the Badshahi Ashurkhana was one of the very first structures built in Hyderabad after the Shahi dynasty moved their seat of power here. Nondescript from the street, the structure features dazzling tile mosaics, and was built as a mourning hall for Shiite Muslims.
Mecca Masjid is one of the oldest and largest mosques in India. The structure’s entrances are massive triple arches carved from single pieces of granite, and there’s enough space inside for 10,000 people to worship at once.
There are more museums in Hyderabad than can be easily counted, but the exquisitely constructed exhibits in Salar Jung Museum standout from the rest. There are 14,000 exhibits within containing artifacts, sculptures, carvings, paintings, manuscripts, weapons, and toys from every corner of the globe, some of which date back to the 1st century.
Best Time to Visit Hyderabad:
The best weather to visit Hyderabad’s numerous monuments is between October and March. Temperatures rise steadily between April and June until the monsoons from July to September quench the heat.
How to get to Hyderabad:
Hyderabad is the capital of the Southern India state of Andhra Pradesh. It’s best reached by flight from Delhi.
The multicultural nature of many of the monuments and historic structures in Hyderabad leaves guests on our India tours breathless. The unique cuisine and stunning architecture found here make Hyderabad a must-see on any itinerary.
Dress for warm weather, but keep in mind that most Muslim monuments enforce strict dress codes requiring shoulders, arms, and legs to be covered while on holy ground.