Folk lore has it that Hyderabad is named after the emperor's favourite wife, Bhagmati who later became Hyder Mahal, of the ruler of Golconda, Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah. He Hyderabad City had wrested independence from the Behmani rulers and when epidemics threatened the growing population of Golconda he sought to create a new capital. He built the Charminar and the planned city of Hyderabad 400 years ago.
The city ﬂourished during the reign of his successors and several monuments were made to enhance the beauty of the city. Aurangzeb was drawn to Hyderabad to expand the Mughal Empire and by the tales of the wealth of the Deccan. Hyderabad had grown to be an important centre for the trade of diamonds, pearls, arms and cloth. After years of battle, Hyderabad fell to the Mughals and Aurangzeb installed Asaf Jah as his viceroy at Hyderabad. After Aurangzeb's death, Asaf Jah declared independence and set up the Asaf Jahi dynasty and took on the title of Nizam. His successors confabulated with the British and remained largely independent by signing the subsidiary alliance.
After India became independent, the Nizam chose to remain independent but nationalist forces ensured Hyderabad became a part of India after Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel's Operation Polo. Later in 1956, under the State Reorganisation Act, Andhra Pradesh was created along linguistic lines by uniting all Telugu people speaking. Today, Hyderabad remains a centre of culture and learning. Apart from the famous Osmania University, Hyderabad also has one of India's leading law schools, business schools and the National Police Academy. Hyderabad has also been at the centre of the IT revolution with several IT majors their ofﬁces here. A dedicated business hub was created to draw this business to the city in the form of a Hi-Tech City. Hyderabad has also earned the sobriquet of Cyberabad.
Forts in Warangal
With the Hussain Sagar Lake at the heart of the Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, the city has a lot to offer to tourists with all kinds of interests. For the religious tourist there is the Mecca Masjid and the Charminar; the Birla Mandir is a new addition but is well worth a visit. For lovers of antiques the Salar Jung Museum and the Nizam's Museum are a treat. For nature lovers there is the Hussain Sagar Lake and the plethora of gardens. Historians can go back in time at the Taramati Baradari, the Chowmohalla Palace and the Golkonda Fort. For shopaholics the lanes of the Charminar that form the Laad Bazaar are a treasure trove as are the upmarket malls.
It is a man-made lake excavated in 1562 A.D. by Hussain Shah Wali during the time of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah. The lake is famous for the 19-metre tall Buddha statue, one of the world's tallest monolithic statues of the Buddha, present in the middle of the lake. AP Tourism has provided additional boating facilities such as speed boats, motor boats, 48-seater launch, etc. On the other side of the lake, is the Necklace Road. This popular boulevard lies, linking the IMAX theatre and Sanjeevaiah Park. This is the-place-to-be for Hyderabadis in the evenings. This strip provides a scenic atmosphere with lush lawns and long rows of ﬂower beds. Eat-street, Ohri's and Water Front are popular restaurants located on this strip. The latest addition to this strip is the Jalavihar, a mini water world designed to soothe your senses.
The Charminar is to Hyderabad what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. It lies at the centre of the original city layout and is believed to have been built as a charm by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad in 1591, to ward off a deadly epidemic raging at that time. The Charminar has 45 prayer spaces and a mosque in it. It is the symbol used to represent the city and the state frequently and is hailed as a unique Deccan monument. The monument is illuminated in the evenings and a walk-around pathway around the monument exists.
Golconda Fort is one of the most magniﬁcent fortress complexes in India. The name Golconda originates from the Telugu words 'GollaKonda' meaning 'Shepherd's Hill'. Golconda was originally a mud fort, which the ﬁrst three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt over a span of 62 years. The fort is famous for its acoustics, palaces, factories, ingenious water supply system and the famous Fateh Rahben gun, one of the cannons used in the last siege of Golconda by Aurangzeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell. The Sound and Light Show at Golconda Fort narrates the glorious past of Golconda Fort.
A hundred yards southwest of the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, so named because the bricks were brought from Mecca to build the central arch. Sultan Muhammad Qutub Shah, the 6th Qutub Shahi Sultan of Hyderabad started building the mosque, which was completed by Aurangzeb in 1694. The Mecca Masjid has a hall measuring 67m and soaring to a height of 54m.
Alar Jung Museum
This museum houses one of the biggest one-man collections of antiques and artefacts in the world by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III. The objects d'art include Persian carpets, Mughal miniatures, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquer ware, famous sculptures including the Veiled Rebecca; and Marguerite and Mephistopheles, a superb collection of jade daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jahan and the Emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb's sword and many other fabulous items.
The Nizam's Museum
Located in the stately Purani Haveli, the palace acquired in the year 1750 by the second Nizam, is now a museum. The museum showcases the gifts and momentos presented to the last Nizam on the occasion of Silver Jubilee Celebration in 1937. A 1930 Rolls Royce, Packard and a Mark V Jaguar are among the vintage cars displayed. There is an interesting collection of models made in silver of all the prominent buildings of the city, the burnished gold and wooden throne and more.
The museum is open between 10.30 am and 05.00 pm on all days except Friday.
Chow Mohalla Palace
This is where the Nizam entertained his official guests and royal visitors. The construction was started in 1750 by Nizam Salabat Jung and designed along the lines of the Shah's palace in Isfahan. It consists of a group of palaces each used as a Durbar Hall. Built in several phases by the Nizams between 1857-1869, this is now one of the heritage buildings.
Ramoji Film City
It is the world's largest integrated ﬁlm studio cum theme park, spread across nearly 3,000 acres. It is also one of Asia's most popular tourism and recreation centres. Recently, it has made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest ﬁlm studio in the world. Opened in 1996, it is a short drive from Hyderabad on the Vijayawada Highway. It is like a dream world created for the celluloid on a sprawling 1000 acres, with every imaginable set and location lined up. Visitors can go round in conducted tours which start at 9 am and end at 5 pm. The entry fee includes the conducted tour, live shows and some rides. You have the option of taking an air-conditioned bus or the vintage buses.
Lumbini Park is a public park spread over 7.5 acres next to the Hussain Sagar Lake on the busy Necklace Road. Is is one of the popular parks in the city. The main attractions of this park are the boat rides that take you across the lake to give you a closer glimpse of the Buddha statue in the middle of Hussain Sagar Lake and a 1500 seater Laserium, the ﬁrst of its kind in the state.
This temple of Lord Venkateshwara, built in sculpted white marble, is located on Kala Pahad which overlooks the Hussain Sagar Lake. The idol in the temple is a replica of the one at Tirumala Tirupati. This white marble temple is always open for devotees.