Hyderabad/Old CityHyderabad is the historic centre of the city. Established by Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591, successive rulers of the Qutb Shahi dynasty and subsequently the Nizams ruled their domains from here. They built many iconic monuments that, for many travellers, form the primary reason for visiting Hyderabad. Most prominent among these is the Char Minar. The monuments are not the only reminders of the past though. In the crowded bylanes of the old city, you will find a distinct culture that came about when the Islamic rulers interacted with their Hindu subjects. Dakhini, the dialect of Hindi/Urdu that is spoken in the Deccan, is the street language here. The shops around the Char Minar sell chooris (glass bangles) and henna as they have for centuries, and hoardings advertising schools that promise to teach children English but keep them in tune with their Islamic heritage represent the city's struggles to navigate the modernity that is closing in on it without losing its soul.
Bus service is good. The Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, more commonly known as Imlibun is located in the Old City.
MGBS Bus Stationphone: +91 40 24614406, +91 99 59226257 (inquiry counter), +91 40 24613955 (ticket reservation office)This is said to be the largest bus station in the world with around 84 bus bays side by side.
The following MMTS stations serve the Old City:
Falaknuma MMTS Station
Uppuguda MMTS Station
Yakutpura MMTS StationYerra Gunta Pond with a Hindu crematorium, big Saidabad's mansions of nawabs, Ameen Manzil Royal Palace in Saidabad suburb, Venkateshwara Temple and Kankadurga Temple, Reliance Fresh store and Sunday fish market in Santoshnagar suburb,
Dabeer Pura MMTS Station
Malakpet MMTS Station
Kachiguda MMTS Station
CharminarLiterally "Four minarets" (Char means four and Minar means minarets). Quli Qutb Shah built the Charminar in 1591 at the very spot at which he prayed for the end to the plague epidemic. The Charminar, made of pulverized marble, limestone, mortar and granite, has long been the icon of Hyderabad. The towers rise to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. It has 140 steps. Graffiti on the walls have diminished the beauty of the Charminar. There is a mosque with 45 prayer spaces located inside in the upper storeys. The structure stands in the middle of a busy road with vehicular traffic, but a pedestrianization project is under way. Atop the minarets, you get a panoramic view of Hyderabad city; to reach the top of the monument, there are 149 winding steps to the upper floor. At the very bottom of one of the minar, there is a Hindu temple. The traffic is terrible. Plan an early morning trip around 09:00 if shopping is not on the to do list. There is a separate entry way for foreigners. If taking trains, you can take an auto (₹25) or walk from Yakutpura (~25 minutes).
phone: +91 40 2452-2032address: Khilwat, 20-4-236, MotigalliSituated near Charminar, it was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizam entertained his official guests and royal visitors.
address: Engine Bowli, FalaknumaBuilt by Nawab Viqar al-Umra in 1872, Falaknuma is a stunning piece of architecture and the most opulent of the Nizam's palaces. The interior is particularly impressive and features the works of Florentine sculptors and a 100-seater dining table. The palace has been converted into a hotel run by the Taj group and is no longer accessible to the general public.
phone: +91 40 2452 1029address: Purani HaveliHome to the famous wardrobe of Mahbub Ali Pasha, who is said never to have worn the same thing twice. It is the world's longest wardrobe, built in two levels with a hand-cranked wooden lift (elevator) in place. This occupies the entire length of one wing of the palace. Hard to find, take small road next to Princess Durru Shehwar Hospital, entrance gate.
Mahboob Chowk Clock TowerA five-storied architectural clock tower which was built in 1892.
Purani Haveliaddress: Dewandevdi, Pathar GattiOriginally, the palace of the Nizam's Prime Minister, later it was renovated and became the quarters of the Nizam's son. It is a U-shaped complex with a single-storeyed building in the European style.
phone: +91 40 2452 3211address: Naya Pul, AfzalgunjThis collection belonged to the Salar Jungs, Prime Minsters of Hyderabad, but has been augmented since. The collection includes articles mostly from medieval and modern times, with a concentration of articles from the Islamic era. The western wing on the second floor is interesting. It contains paintings, furniture and other objects that the Salar Jung got from the West. The collection of Nizam jewellery is displayed only on special occasions. Free guided tours lasting two hours each are available at scheduled times, four times a day. Inquire at the entrance. Cameras, bags and liquids are not allowed, but mobile cameras are winked at. Deposit your contraband at the free lockers available near the ticketing area.
Purana pulA bridge over the Mosi River, built in 1578.
The High Court of Andhra Pradeshaddress: High Court Rd, Nayapul
Khursheed Jah DevdiA palace, once home to the Paigah nobles.
Mecca MasjidOne of the oldest mosques in the city, and easily the biggest. Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah began building it in 1617 under the supervision of Mir Faizullah Baig and Rangiah Choudhary. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb completed the construction in 1694. The mosque is a granite giant with awe-inspiring innards. The main hall of the mosque is 75 feet high, 220 feet wide and 180 feet long, big enough to accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time. It is believed that Muhammed Quli commissioned bricks to be made with the soil brought from Mecca and inducted them into the construction of the central arch of the mosque, which explains the name of the mosque. The arched facades have been carved from a single piece of granite. Women must mandatorily have dupatta / shawl to get entry into the premises. Women can not wear skin-tight pants or leggings into the mosque, so wear something loose-fitted.
Badshahi AshurkhanaA mourning place for Shia Muslims, built in 1594.
Jama Masjid Darushafa
Mian Mishk mosqueBuilt in the 17th century. Located on Karwan Road, close to the Purana Pul bridge.
Laad BazaarExotic lacquer and glass bangles market.
- Imitation Jewellery. From Charminar.
Gulzar HouseRetail market for ladies.
Safeena Bakersaddress: Charminar, Alijah kotlaBaked biscuits, cakes and burgers. Has 3 outlets:
Pista Housephone: +91 93965-00786address: 20-4-140/1-8, Shalibanda Rd, CharminarFamous bakery in Hyderabad world famous haleem only available during Ramadan, cost around ₹ 150 per person.
phone: +91 98480 89343address: Shop No 20 - 4 - 1238 Champapet Main Road, CharminarThe most well-known cafe selling Irani chai and Osmania biscuits in Hyderabad. Very crowded.
phone: +91 40 2457 3116address: 22-8-290/291, Hamad Plaza, Salarjung Museum Road, NayapulStandard budget hotel. There are both air-conditioning and non-air-conditioning rooms available.