Established in 1591 CE, Hyderabad has been endowed with a rich culture, a fairy-tale history and a diversity large enough to rival entire continents. Amidst the industrialization, which began in the late 19th century, The City of Pearls has become the foremost centre for cultural convergence as well as a global centre of information technology. In a city where love, art, tradition and culture are celebrated, the potpourri of various ethnic groups has ensured cosmopolitan progress and an embracement of the modern lifestyle. The Hyderbadi architecture and cuisine, which belong to a bygone imperial era, are the pride and joy of the city and its people…to whom hospitality is second nature.
With an influx of varied communities through the centuries, the people of Hyderabad are a diverse lot. An affinity for different cultures and a rare open-mindedness cultivated by a rich history allows for a harmonious way of life in the City of Nawabs. Hyderabadi hospitality is legendary as is its well-founded reputation as one of the safest cities in the world.
Due to its geographical location, Hyderabad has developed a multi-lingual culture unique to India. Though Telugu is the native language, Hindi, Urdu and English are spoken by a large populace, which has resulted in these languages having their own distinct sound and flavor. The Urdu spoken here is also unique, with influences of Marathi and Telugu, giving rise to a dialect sometimes called Hyderabadi Urdu or Deccani. The city has always possessed one of the largest Urdu speaking populations in India. If the real Hyderabadi is laced with Urdu and typical to the old city, the new city lingo has a fair mix of English and Telugu in it.
The decline of the Mughal Empire in Delhi in 1857 CE allowed Hyderabad to emerge as the foremost centre of culture in India. The migration of performing artists to the city particularly from the north and west of the Indian sub continent under the patronage of the Nizam, enriched the cultural milieu. This migration resulted in a mingling of North and South Indian languages, cultures and religions, which have since led to a co-existence of the ancient Hindu and the centuries old Muslim traditions, for which the city has become renowned. Christianity, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism have likewise thrived alongside each other. Now known globally as an IT hub, Hyderabad has a marvelous blend of diverse cultures (historical and modern), which is emulated in the daily lifestyle of the people.
The splendour of the Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi dynasties, Mogul grandeur, Persian brilliance, exotic cuisine and exquisite markets all contribute to the elegance of Hyderabad. Internationally famous for its fascinating contrasts and unrivaled attractions, numerous places of interest prevail in Hyderabad. The most significant among them are the historical monuments viz. Mecca Masjid, Charminar, Golconda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs; the palaces viz. Chowmahalla Palace, Falaknuma Palace, Taramati Baradari; the religious places - Hebron House of Worship, Shahi Masjid, Ananda Buddha Vihara, Birla Mandir, Sanghi Temple, Chilkur Balaji Temple; the museums and planetariums viz. Surendrapuri , Salar Jung Museum, City Museum, Birla Science Museum, Birla Planetarium; the parks and gardens viz. Nehru Zoological Park , NTR Gardens , Lumbini Park, Mrugavani National Park, Public Gardens; among other attractions are Ramoji Film City, Ravindra Bharati, Necklace road , Laad Bazaar, Shilparamam.
To get a taste of the unparalleled Hyderabadi culture, one must visit Lamakaan, an inclusive cultural space that promotes and presents the best of arts, literature, theatre, debate and dialogue with a commitment to being open and accessible.
The South Central Railway, India’s biggest railway zone, is headquartered at Secunderabad which is commonly referred to as Hyderabad’s twin city. The city has extensive connectivity to major cities and other parts of India through three the major railway stations:
- Secunderabad Railway Station
- Hyderabad Railway Station
- Kachiguda Railway Station
Hyderabad is connected to most major cities domestically as well as internationally via the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Located in Shamshabad, about 22 kilometres away from the city, the airport has won numerous global awards and operates non-stop flights to and from most foreign countries. The major international airlines are Indian Airlines, Air France, Lufthansa Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, British Airlines, etc.; the major domestic airlines are Indigo Airlines, Air India Airlines, Jet Airways, SpiceJet Airlines etc. From the airport, there are several options one can take to get to the city. The air-conditioned buses run by the airport can be used to get to five designated points in the city.
Hyderabadi cuisine is a blend of traditional South Indian, Mughalai and Persian palates and has a rich variety to choose from. Considered to be a legacy from the Asaf Jahi dynasty (The Nizams), the cuisine has been shaped by 400 years of Hyderabadi culture and tradition. Aside from the exotic spices and liberal use of ghee, the cuisine also uses fresh fruits instead of dried fruits, but to get the real taste of Hyderabadi food, one must try the city’s iconic dish The Dum Biriyani. Other native delicacies include Khubani ka Mitha, Pheni (a sweet vermicelli delicacy eaten during the festival of Diwali), Paya and Haleem (a meat dish traditionally eaten by Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan).
Hyderabad is a place with numerous hotels ranging from the budget category to 7 star hotels. The best among the top category is Taj Falaknuma Palace.
The aerial view of Hyderabad is enchanting in spite of it not being a planned city. There is a marked distinction between the old and new city along with the recently developed cyber city, which too falls under the jurisdiction of Hyderabad.
Roads occupy 9.5% of the total city area. The Inner Ring Road, the Outer Ring Road and various interchanges, overpasses and underpasses have been developed, including the Hyderabad Elevated Expressway to cater to the growing traffic. The Expressway, as of 2008, is the longest flyover in India. Maximum speed limits within the city are 50 km/h (31 mph) for two-wheelers and cars, 35 km/h (22 mph) for auto rickshaws and 40 km/h (25 mph) for light commercial vehicles and buses.
Historically, Hyderabad was known for its pearl and diamond trading centres. Industrialization brought major Indian manufacturing, R&D, and financial institutions to the city, such as the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the Defense Research and Development Organization, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the National Mineral Development Corporation. The formation of an information technology (IT) Special Economic Zone (SEZ) by the state agencies attracted global and Indian companies to set up operations in the city. The emergence of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries during the 1990s earned it the titles of "India's pharmaceutical capital" and the "Genome Valley of India". The Telugu film industry (Tollywood) is also based in Hyderabad.
Hyderabad features many heritage buildings constructed during the Qutb shahi and Nizam eras, showcasing Indo-Islamic architecture influenced by Medieval, Mughal and European styles. After the 1908 flooding of the Musi River, the city was expanded and civic monuments constructed, particularly during the rule of Mir Osman Ali Khan (the VIIth Nizam), whose patronage of architecture led to him being referred to as the maker of modern Hyderabad. In 2012, the government of India declared Hyderabad the first "Best heritage city of India". Qutb Shahi architecture of the 16th and early 17th centuries followed classical Persian architecture featuring domes and colossal arches, the oldest surviving Qutb Shahi structure in Hyderabad is the ruins of Golconda fort built in 16th century. The Charminar, Mecca Masjid, Charkaman and Qutb Shahi Tombs are other existing structures of this period; among these the Charminar has become an icon of the city. Located in the center of old Hyderabad, it is a square structure with sides 20 metres (66 ft) long and four grand arches each facing a road. At each corner stands a 56 metres (184 ft) minaret. Most of the historical Bazaars that still exist were constructed on the street north of Charminar towards Golconda fort. The Charminar, Qutb Shahi tombs and Golconda fort are considered to be monuments of national importance in India; in 2010 the Indian government proposed that the sites be listed for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Among the oldest surviving examples of Nizam architecture in Hyderabad is the Chowmahalla Palace, which was the seat of royal power. It showcases a diverse array of architectural styles, from the Baroque Harem to its Neoclassical royal court. The other palaces built by the Nizams include Falaknuma Palace (inspired by Andrea Palladio villas), Purani Haveli, King Kothi and Bella Vista Palace all of which were built at the peak of the Nizam rule in the 19th century. During Mir Osman Ali Khan's rule, European, styles along with Indo-Islamic, became prominent. These styles are reflected in the Falaknuma Palace and many civic monuments such as the Hyderabad High Court, Osmania Hospital, Osmania University, Hyderabad and Kachiguda railway stations, State Central Library, City College, Andhra Pradesh Legislature, State Archaeology Museum and Jubilee Hall. Other landmarks of note are the Paigah Palace, Asman Garh Palace, Basheer Bagh Palace, Errum Manzil and Spanish Mosque, which are villas constructed by the Paigah Family.
Hyderabad is the capital city of the southern Indian state of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Occupying 650 square kilometers (250 sq mi) on the banks of the Musi River, it is also the largest city in the state. As of 2011, the population of the city was 6.8 million with a metropolitan population of 7.75 million, making it India's fourth most populous city and sixth most populous urban agglomeration. Hyderabad is also one of the most developed cities in the country with an established Information Technology (IT) hub and an emerging Bio-Technology hub.
The historic city established by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah on the southern side of the Musi River forms the "Old City", while the "New City" encompasses the urbanized area on the northern banks. Many bridges connect the two across the river, the oldest being Purana Pul (old bridge). Hyderabad is twinned with neighbouring Secunderabad, from which it is separated by the Hussain Sagar lake. In the southern part of central Hyderabad are many historical and touristic sites, such as the Charminar, the Mecca Masjid, the Salar Jung Museum, the Nizam's museum, the Falaknuma Palace, and the traditional retail corridor comprising Laad Bazaar, Pearls Market and Madina circle. North of the river are hospitals, colleges, major railway stations and business areas such as Begum Bazaar, Koti, Abids, Sultan Bazaar and Moazzam Jahi Market, along with administrative and recreational establishments such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat, the Hyderabad Mint, the Andhra Pradesh Legislature, the Public Garden, the Nizam Club, the Ravindra Bharathi, the state museum, the Birla Temple and the Birla Planetarium.
North of central Hyderabad lay Hussain Sagar, Tank Bund Road, Rani Gunj and the Secunderabad Railway Station. The majority of the city's parks and recreation centres, such as Sanjeevaiah Park, Indira Park, Lumbini Park, NTR Gardens, the Buddha statue and Tankbund Park are located here. In the northwest part of the city there are upscale residential areas such as Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Begumpet and Khairatabad. The northern end contains industrial areas such as Sanathnagar, Moosapet, Balanagar, Pathan Cheru and Chanda Nagar while the northeast end is dotted with residential colonies. The "Cyberabad" area in the southwest and west parts of the city has grown rapidly since the 1990s. It is home to information technology and bio-pharmaceutical companies and to landmarks such as Hyderabad Airport, Osman Sagar, Himayath Sagar and KBR National Park. In the eastern part of the city lie many defence research centres and the famous Ramoji Film City.
North of central Hyderabad lay Hussain Sagar, Tank Bund Road, Rani Gunj and the Secunderabad Railway Station. The majority of the city's parks and recreation centres, such as Sanjeevaiah Park, Indira Park, Lumbini Park, NTR Gardens, the Buddha statue and Tankbund Park are located here. In the northwest part of the city there are upscale residential areas such as Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Begumpet and Khairatabad. The northern end contains industrial areas such as Sanathnagar, Moosapet, Balanagar, Pathan Cheru and Chanda Nagar. The northeast end is dotted with residential colonies. The "Cyberabad" area in the southwest and west parts of the city has grown rapidly since the 1990s. It is home to information technology and bio-pharmaceutical companies and to landmarks such as Hyderabad Airport, Osman Sagar, Himayath Sagar and KBR National Park. In the eastern part of the city lie many defence research centres and Ramoji Film City.