10 Best Things To Do @ Hyderabad
Neeraj Shinde Tuesday, September 30, 2014 Andhra Pradesh
Call it the Land of Biryani, the land of the Nawabs or in recent days the High Tech City, Hyderabad always has the same aroma, the same uniqueness to offer no matter at what point in time in history you have been to the place. Undoubtedly, this city has not lost it’s charisma all these decades or probably centuries. Although, the City has witnessed a great deal of modernization in terms of the Information Technology Industry, but the very essence of the Old City of Hyderabad seems to remain the same. And, the very feel of this City has not deviated with respect to all the best things it has been promising for several years to offer to the tourists and visitors.
I had been visiting Hyderabad for business reasons and recently spent a whole week trying out several usual things tourists do at Hyderabad City and also some offbeat things that really makes your tour in the City remarkable. After all those days spent at Hyderabad, here are the top 10 best things to do while spending your time in the City.
10. Feel the Old City at the Charminar
You haven’t really visited Hyderabad if you fail to visit the Old City and the Charminar. Decades after decades, generations after generations, this place has seen absolutely no change. And, that is the specialty of the Charminar area. The Archaeological Survey of India has been maintaining this monument and charges a nominal fee of INR 5 for Indians. Buying this ticket will provide you access to enter the monument building and climb upstairs for a spectacular view of the busy Hyderabad street. Beware of the pick pockets since this area is rather known for this. The Charminar is always a busy place and there are numerous stalls, hawkers and street food sellers surrounding the main street.
|An Amazing View of the Market from Charminar|
This is a good place to shop bangles and pearl ornaments. However, you really need to know an authentic shop selling pearls and other valuables. There was a coin seller selling old coins right in front of the Charminar which was a center of my interest. There were also other small shops selling clothes, sunglasses, fancy ornaments and China products. It is quite obvious to find an over-friendly localite who would pretend to be a guide and would take you for a ride. You may hire him at your own risk. For all other things you want to know about the Charminar, I recommend the Internet! :-)
|Complete View of the Charminar|
9. Experience the Serenity, Peace and a Gorgeous City View from the Birla Temple
Built with fresh white marble all around, the Birla Mandir is one of the most serene places to be. It’s proximity from the famous Hussain Sagar lake and the soothing view of the Hyderabad City makes it my one of the favorite places. Cameras and cell phones are not allowed inside the temple and this was a matter of my disgust. Nevertheless, the majestic view is better experienced than captured in a picture. One can easily spend an hour or two at the temple and if you happen to fall in love like me with the ambiance you may spend an entire day all by yourself. At the temple foothills, there are some interesting shops exhibiting several religious books and statues. I remember buying a cutest Ganesha Idol from this shop which I have treasured at home. A few minutes from the temple is Birla Planetarium which is worth a visit.
8. Try the Awesome Biryani and Haleem at Café Bahar
You won’t believe me but during our recent one week visit to Hyderabad, we have been eating Biryani almost every day at different restaurants and local joints. This was one of the best attempts one could have made to review the various Biryanis available in the City. We tried and reviewed almost every famous Biryani centers including but not limited to the Paradise Restaurant near Prasad’s Multiplex, Shadab’s, Bawarchi’s and Café Bahar. It was just that we happened to come across this awesomest Biryani at Café Bahar at Begumpeth on our last day of the tour. I am not too supportive to several people I come across who adore and overhype the Paradise chain of restaurants for Biryanis, rather I would like to stick and go with my personal experience and by far the Café Bahar Biryani was the best ever I had in Hyderabad. I welcome other thoughts but until I could prove myself wrong with a better Biryani outlet, I would keep on recommending Café Bahar. Needless to mention that this is not a paid post and I do not get any perks for writing such a positive review about this business. The next time you visit Hyderabad, just try them.
Haleem is quite famous dish in Hyderabad and is made out of meat or chicken or beef by crushing down the flesh into granular pieces. It is a very healthy and heavy snack or rather a complete meal. It is abundantly available all across Hyderabad City esp. during the month of Ramadan. I have seen Haleem stalls on the streets which I would not recommend if you are new to the City. It is better to have it at a decent restaurant where I am sure it is more hygienic and enjoyable.
7. Visit the Chowmahalla Palace
This is a huge ancient neatly maintained palace of the Nizams. We came across several rooms in the palace which are now transformed into exhibition rooms displaying several old artifacts of the Nizams which includes the clothes, weapons, furniture and even the vintage cars. I remember one room was dedicated to the Sarees of varied kinds which is a must see for Indian women who are fond of this traditional Indian attire. The Palace has a beautiful pond right at the entrance which clearly exhibited the prosperity and royal lives of the Kings of Nizams. The palace also displayed pictures of several generation of Nizams who have been associated with the Palace and the city of Hyderabad.
|Interior View of the Chowmahalla Palace|
With such a large historical heritage present at just one place, the Chowmahalla Palace is just too good to miss.
6. Enjoy an Auto-Rickshaw Ride
My opinion about Auto-Rickshaw drivers changes spontaneously when I think of the Auto-Rickshaw drivers of Hyderabad. How can I forget my unique experience with one of the Auto-Rickshaw drivers in Gacchibowli area in Hyderabad who simply offered me a lift. That was one of the cutest experience one could have with an Auto-Rickshaw driver ever in India. The rides here in Hyderabad are like a roll coaster ride. For a vehicle meant to carry a maximum of three passengers, there is always a space for three more. I have also traveled with eight other fellow passengers just to save money during the start of my career. I remember how we used to bargain with the drivers over a five rupee deal.
|An Auto-rickshaw Ride|
Auto-Rickshaw journey is just a unique experience in Hyderabad and I really get nostalgic travelling in one. They are abundantly available and take you almost anywhere in the City.
5. Experience the History at Golconda Fort and Kutub Shahi Tombs
The Golconda Fort and the Kutub Shashi Tombs are situated hardly a couple of kilometers away from each other. I have visited both these places twice – the first time in the year 2005 and the latest being in the year 2013. Like I always say, almost everything in Hyderabad remains the way it is irrespective of when you visit. The Kutub Shahi Tombs are a series of Mughal Tombs which imparts a strong message to humankind. It is said that these tombs were built by several Mughal emperors when they existed. The primary purpose of these tombs being built by them was to see their own graves during their own presence. In literal terms, these emperors built their own graves. Death is a reality of life just like life itself is. They strongly believed that man must remember his own death every single day of his life. Built several centuries back in time, these tombs stand straight today signifying the importance of remembering death just as we live and breathe.
|One of the Several Kutub Shahi Tombs|
Forts always excite me and Golconda has been one of my favorite forts so far. After several years of glory, the Golconda stands straight amid-st several ruined walls. It is a sweaty experience to climb this fort and the best time to visit is in the early evenings. When it turns dark, there is a special light show arranged at the fort which narrates the glorious past of the Golconda for tourists. I happened to witness this light show in 2005 but did not wait until dark during the recent visit. I am not really sure if the light show still happens. Nonetheless, spending a peaceful time over the Golconda watching the beautiful view at the horizon is by far a rejuvenating experience.
|A View from the Golconda Fort|
4. Visit the Durgam Cheravu Lake near Madhapur
This is my favorite place in Hyderabad. Cheravu, as I learnt from my Andhra friend means a lake. This place is at it’s best ambience at evenings. With beautiful flower gardens and plantations all around this is a popular place among families and couples planning to start families. There is a small lake where one can also enjoy a boat ride which is one of the best experience in the evenings.
3. Get Filmy at the Ramoji Film City
If you are a movie freak, I would definitely recommend you to visit Ramoji Film City once and experience the reality of the sets you often see in your favorite movies. They have several packages to suit different budgets. If you plan to stay overnight, accommodation can also be arranged in advance. I believe, this is how movie crew does when they plan a big banner project. But, for the tourists visiting Ramoji, they have enough things that will keep them entertained all around the day. Do not forget to bring your camera as you just cannot stop getting filmy at Ramoji. I really loved the Ramoji Tower which hosted a 4D movie experience of an earthquake. Airports, London street, Statue of Liberty, Hospitals, Railway stations or Meena Bazaar, you will find a replica of nearly everything at the Film City. There were several other rides that cannot be described in words, you would rather love to experience them all by yourself.
|The Ramoji Film City Entrance|
I was quite happy to see several sets and gardens in the same condition as they were seen in several Bollywood movies. A short one hour tour hosted by the Ramoji Film City was remarkable and I am sure all the visitors would cherish this tour and remember the facts publicly shared by the tour guide about the most famous movies shot at Ramoji which they had been watching for years.
2. Board a Ferry to the Buddha Statue
Consecrated by the Dalai Lama the Buddha Statue standing right in the center of the Hussain Sagar Lake remains a new Identity of Hyderabad. There is a ferry service from the NTR Gardens to the statue. However, spending much time near the statue is prohibited since the same ferry will take you back to the starting point. Evenings are the best times to spend around the Hussain Sagar Lake.
|The Buddha Statue at the Hussain Sagar|
There are several places around this lake which will keep you busy and entertained. A drive around the necklace road is very nice experience. There are several things that will keep you busy at NTR Gardens including the light show which starts as soon as it gets dark.
1. A Romantic Walk at the Hussain Sagar Lake at Night
The best time to visit the Hussain Sagar lake is in the late evenings and nothing could beat a romantic walk around it. Do I really need to explain about it any further!