I was visiting Hyderabad on a business trip and it’s highly unlikely I’m in a new place and don’t explore! I wanted to make the most of whatever little time I had off work hours and decided to visit the MUST see places from a plethora of ‘must see’ places Hyderabad had to offer.
I had 4 hours of free time for 2 days out of my 5-day trip. Staying in Hitech City, Madhapur, which was close to work, I had to plan my excursion in such a way that I don’t waste a lot of time stuck in traffic. So I chose to start early in the morning, during non-peak hours and was really impressed with the local cab services and the time taken to reach my destination.
The first visit on Day 1 was to Charminar – the global icon of Hyderabad. Chaminar as the name suggests has four minarets and a mosque on the open roof. The monument overlooks another mosque called the Makkah Masjid. Backpacks are not allowed inside Charminar and you will have to leave your bags at any of the shops surrounding the monument, no lockers are provided. If you don’t intend to take the risk of leaving your valuables and fret climbing 149 winding steps to reach the roof top, Charminar still doesn’t fails to offer a splendid view from the outside. It’s even better enjoying the view with a relishing cup of Irani Chaai from the buzzing Nimrah Cafe & Bakery, right opposite to Charminar. You can also buy Hyderabad’s famous pearls from the myriad of pearl jewellery stores around the monument.
Next stop was at Chowmahalla Palace which is at a walking distance from Charminar. Amidst the lush gardens and sparkling fountains stands the beautiful Chowmahalla palace, which was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad while they ruled their state and still remains the property of the heir of the Nizams.
The palace has two courtyards, and a Durbar hall. The highlight of the palace is the grand Khilawat – the durbar hall with a numerous chandeliers.
The rooms surrounding this central hall have been converted into galleries displaying almost every object used by the Nizams.
I had two hours to spare and had Salar Jung museum and Golkonda fort on my mind. I thought it was only wise to visit the museum instead of the fort, which would easily need more than 2 hours to explore.
Salar Jung museum, probably is the biggest museum I have ever been to. I had little or no knowledge about this place and definitely didn’t expect its magnanimity. There are 39 galleries in the Museum spread over in three buildings. I learnt from the plaques at the museum that Salar Jung is known to be the largest one man, that’s right ONE man collection in the world and is named after the man himself – Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, who spent a substantial amount of his income for this priceless collection. We can understand what a connoisseur of arts the Nawab was.
The museum has a collection of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, manuscripts, clocks, carpets and numerous other artefacts from across the world, from countries such as Japan, France, Persia, Egypt, Nepal, China, India, America, Europe etc.
The Salar Jung Museum is an exquisite place to witness history at a glance. A visit to the Hyderabad is definitely incomplete without a visit to this incredible museum!
Day 2 I visited another iconic place of Hyderabad – Hussain Sagar. The lake separates Hyderabad from its twin city Secunderabad. A large monolithic statue of the Gautama Buddha stands in the middle of the lake. What I missed here is the ferry to the middle of the lake and the tantalising coloured lights at night. Nonetheless, it was refreshing strolling by the tank bund. Sculptures of many Telugu icons who have played a role in the development of Telugu culture line the tank bund road.
A short distance from Hussain Sagar is Birla Mandir, a pure white marble temple built on a hillock. Apart from the presiding deity Lord Venkateshwara, the temple has separate shrines for other Hindu deities. Go there for some peace and calm and a beautiful view of Hussain Sagar from atop the hillock.
Hyderabad definitely needs a second visit, preferably a longer one to explore more hidden gems. My first visit, however, was very satisfying and I have started to admire the city. Until next time, go where life takes and take what life throws, is my motto 🙂