Your Complete Guide to the City of Pearls: Hyderabad
There is so much more to Hyderabad than the biryani and the kebabs. The beautiful city has a rich history and is known for the culture and traditions. Hyderabad has two sides- one is the fast paced city with glittery malls and sleek restaurants found in areas like Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills and the other side is steeped in history with noticeable Islamic architecture. You will need atleast two days in Hyderabad in order to cover the must visit sights and to taste the delicious Nizami cuisine.
Salar Jung Museum
One of the must see places in Hyderabad is the Salar Jung Museum, huge museum and a ton of things to see. It is basically a blend of cultures, from Indian to European to Japanese and Chinese. The museum consists of vintage furniture, walking sticks, crockery, carpets and paintings from a different era. It may take up to two days to see the entire museum which is divided in different wings and the same are numbered.
Take up one wing at a time and then move to the next. You can easily spend hours in the museum if you are willing to see each and every room in the wing like I did. The furniture is exquisite and so is the porcelain crockery. The museum also consists of famous paintings and sculptures. You should ideally begin your sight seeing in Hyderabad with this museum. Also, avoid the weekends because it remains heavily crowded.
Birla Temple is another must visit place while in Hyderabad. Even if you are not someone who likes to visit temples when holidaying, this is one place you should try to visit. Located at a height and in the center of the city, it is an extremely beautiful and peaceful temple. The view from the top of the temple especially at night is magnificent.
For those of you who have been mesmerized by the forts in Rajasthan and have already made up your mind about this fort, let me burst the bubble here. This fort will take your breath away! It is rich with history and is very different from the forts of Rajasthan. A few movies like Tere Naam have been shot in the fort. The fort is pretty huge and depending on the time, you can decide whether you want to see the entire fort or only half of it.
The whole fort takes upto 3 hours to see because of the number of steps that take you to the highest point of the Fort. (Wear shoes!) There lies a temple at the top of the fort. Advice- Take a guide so you will be able to learn about the history of the fort because there is nothing that provides you the details of the same. You may walk up to the tip of the fort but will not know anything about the history, also you may miss out on a few important areas that lie hidden in the fort. Hence, take the services of the guide and take a tour of the entire fort (Recommended). A light and sound show is organized at the fort around 6 pm (timing varies according to season). If you have seen the fort, then you may skip the show but if you haven’t walked all through the fort, then this will help. Catch the sunset from the top of the fort and you will know it was worth it.
A principal landmark in the city, this structure is indeed an impressive sight. Charminar should be avoided on a public holiday and on Sundays because it remains crowded. The famous Laad Bazaar lies adjacent to Charminar and is worth a visit if you have the time and bargaining skills on hand. Do not purchase pearls from here, only pick bangles if you are keen on them.The best time to visit is between 7 pm and 9 pm when it remains illuminated. You can buy pearls from an authentic shop in order to ensure that you are getting only genuine pearls.
Lumbini and NTR Gardens
Located near the Hussain Sagar Lake, both the gardens are ideal for those traveling with children. There is nothing special about the garden except for a couple of rides and a light and sound show. In my opinion, you can definitely give it a miss.
Another attraction for children, this park is ideal for snow lovers. It consists of a number of games and rides where kids can have a lot of fun. If you are not traveling with kids, you might want to give it a miss.
The palace was once a main residence of the Nizams and is now a museum. It houses arts and crafts and the exhibits of the personal possessions of the Nizam. There is a priceless collection of vintage cars in its courtyard.
Ramoji Film City
Located at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Hyderabad, lies the Ramoji Film City which is a must see if you are visiting Hyderabad. One of the largest film city in the country, Ramoji boasts of huge acres of land and entertainment for visitors of all age groups. The entry fee for the same is Rs. 1150 and a VIP entry costs Rs.2250 which includes lunch and a bus ride inside the premises. The premises are extremely huge and it is difficult to walk through the entire area in a day. It may take upto two days to see everything located in it. It includes amusement rides, games, live shows, live shoots, massive sets, restaurants, shops and much more. As you buy the tickets, you will be provided with a map of the entire premises and it is advisable to plan what do you wish to see before you begin. The live shows are worth a watch which includes action fights, music and dance as well as patriotic shows. The timings of the shows are also provided in the map. The tour of the film city by bus is inclusive in the ticket costs.
This includes a one hour ride in the bus which shows different parts of the city. Beginning from the various sets which include central jail, railway station, airport, suicide point, sets from the Mahabharata, sets of different cities as well as a massive wedding set which resembles the movie Jodha Akbar. The bus then moves to the different gardens ending the ride with the Butterfly park, Bird Park and the caves. The closing ceremony is an attraction for the visitors but you may give it a miss unless you have kids visiting with you. If you have not taken a VIP tour, then the only lunch option will be the fixed buffet provided at the restaurants there, also only VIP ticket holders are allowed to watch the live shooting taking place at the Film City. The city is so vast that you are bound to miss out on a few areas however hard you try. Hence it is advisable to plan in advance. Do not miss the bus tour because it shows the main areas of the Film City. There are a few rides for children and only 5 to 6 rides for adults, which also can be given a miss. There are around 5 to 6 live shows during a day, you may plan on watching one or two because it takes around half an hour for each show. Entry inside the Film City closes after 5 pm hence it is advisable to reach there in the morning so as to avoid any rush and to make the most of your day there.