What makes Hyderabad unique? Its culture – a fine blend of multiple cultures, enhanced under Turkish, Arab and Persian influences. And people say, ‘Once a Hyderabadi, always a Hyderabadi!’
Sultan Muhammad Quly Qutub Shah, founder of the historic city, was not only known as a renowned ruler, but also a great poet, scholar and art enthusiast. During his reign, Hyderabad was one of the leading cities of the east, well known for its trade in pearls, diamonds and horses.
Go have a glance at the city’s oldest shopping centres. Charkaman, Mitti-Ka-Sher and Laad Bazaar cater to every whim and fancy. These streets open up into a treasure house of bangles, appliquéd patchwork skirts, bags and belts with sparkling mirrors and tiny beads, Pembarthi brass, Kondapalli toys, leather puppets and everything else you could possible want.
Soon-to-be brides can also find Khada Dupatta (uncut veils), a combination of kurta (tunic), churidaar (rucked pair of pants) and a 6-yard dupatta (veil). A matching ghoonghat over her head makes a girl look more beautiful on the special day of their life, and these are all in abundance from the shopping districts of Hyderabad.
Hyderabad is a place where history speaks. They are many historic places, local legends, folk tales and great battles.
The fourteen year old young prince, Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah and a beautiful Hindu courtesan ‘Bhagmati’ were great lovers. Every evening, the prince would ride to Bhagmati’s village, fifteen kilometers east of the fort. Legend has it that when the Sultanate of Golconda was slashed by heavy rains and thunderstorms, the young prince put his life at risk and rescued Bhagmati. Defying all traditions, Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah married Bhagmati and made her his queen. After a few years, he built a splendid new city and named it Bhagnagar. Later, Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah renamed the city…Hyderabad.
A majestic fortress nestled in the city outskirts, Golconda Fort is one of the grandest forts of India. One can see the elegance and grandeur of the Nawabi culture by visiting this giant fort. The fort was built under the patronage of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, in the 12th century. Its architecture is considered to be military in its style. An interesting fact about this historical landmark is the amazing aural features and waterworks. And not to be missed is the sound and light show at Golconda Fort which narrates the history of the Fort – an experience you will forever cherish.
450 year-old Charminar, has been the pride of Hyderabad since it was built by the ruler, Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591. From the first floor balcony of Charminar, you can see the Golconda Fort. It is believed that there is an underground tunnel connecting the Golconda Fort to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutb Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the location of the tunnel is unknown.
Husain Sagar is a man-made wonder and a very popular tourist attraction. It lies between the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. It is majestic in beauty and situated in the heart of the city. The Hussain Sagar was built on a stream of the River Musi by Sufi Saint Hussain Shah Wahi in 1562, during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, the third ruler of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. There is a fascinating legend behind Hussain Sagar that takes you right back, when Qutub Shahi dynasty of Golconda was full of life, beauty and magnificence.
The last Nizam ruler, Mir Osman Ali Khan, was born on 6 April 1886 in Hyderabad and was known as the richest man in the world. His jewels alone were estimated to be worth four hundred million pounds. It is also said that he used the magnificent 187-carat Jacob Diamond, which was the size of a small lemon, as a paper weight.
India’s Scorpion Palace – Taj Falaknuma
Falaknuma, which means ‘Mirror of the sky’, was once the residence of Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam. Located in the southern part of the old city, it was built in the 19th Century by Vikar-ul-Umra, prime minister of Hyderabad. This scorpion-shaped building reflects the royal aura in every sense. The story goes that, by taking his wife’s advice, Vikar-ul-Umra invites his master, Mahboob Ali Khan, to the palace. Impressed by its magnificence, the royal guest, Mahboob Ali Khan, fell in love with that palace. Seeing this, the prime minister presents the palace as a gift to Nizam. Later, Nizam bought it for himself. Then in 2000, the royal family of Nizam leased the palace to the Taj Group of hotels. Though it is a luxury hotel today, Falaknuma stands apart for its splendidness and majesty
The laser show is another tourist attraction for visitors in Hyderabad. The show takes place in Lumbini park located on Tank Bund road in the heart of the city. It offers the opportunity to viewers to experience the breathtaking 3D laser effects in the sky to the sounds of the musical fountain show. Both the visuals together make a mesmerising evening for viewers. Something not to be missed!
Hyderabad is a melting pot of cuisines originating from many different regions of the world. Some of the most popular food people enjoy here are Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Continental, Mediterranean, Oriental, Pan-Asian and lot more. From Irani Chai and Osman biscuits to Pizzas and pastas, whatever we relish it will stay in our memories. Hyderabadi Dum Biryani, Osmania Biscuits, Haleem, Irani Chai are the legendary food items that Hyderabad serves.
Hyderabadis are fun-loving and they celebrate every festival with joy and fervor. It doesn’t matter what the religion is, they celebrate their own colorful festivals with great pomp and piety. Vinayaka Chaturthi, Muharram, Diwali, Holi, Bonalu, Dussehra, Sankranti, Rakhi, Ramzan, Christmas – whatever the festival, Hyderabadis always love to celebrate!
So, for all the Hyderabadis and the visiting guests, Hyderabad has a lot to keep them all amused!
Anukeerthana Rao is a writer, lover of music and a worshipper of history. Anu works as creative writer at Local Secrets and Events Now. WATC India would like to thank Anu for writing the Hyderabad micro-site launch article.