What are ten must-see places in Hyderabad, India?

Hyderabad, also called the city of Nizams, has enjoyed a rich cultural heritage for a long time in history. Today it has become a major center of technology in various fields, but it still continues to enchant people from all over the world to witness its magic. The Nizams ruled Hyderabad for a good two centuries until the Indian independence in 1947. Before them, it was the Qutub Shahi dynasty that ruled the region. It was during these four centuries that the city took its shape, raised its majestic structures and built itself a culture without a parallel in India. It has been ranked the 3rd Best City to travel in 2013 (by Lonely Planet). If you ever happen to visit this city, following are some of the places that you must look at.

1. Charminar The icon of the city, it is also among the most recognized structures of India. Think Hyderabad, and you get a picture of this marvellous monument in your mind. The crowded streets and roads around it may seem a dampener to your enthusiasm, but it adds to the charm of the monument. It has become one with the hustling crowd, with all the hawkers around it trying to sell all kinds of things. Climbing the steps of the Charminar and seeing the city from above, one can clearly see all the commotion around it, and how Charminar has been a witness to the growth of a city that began right where it stands. There is something magical about Charminar that cannot be explained in words. The neighbouring Mecca Masjid is also a must-see place, especially in the evening.

2. Golconda Fort It was from Golconda Fort that the Qutub Shahis ruled. It stood the test of time, being claimed as one of the strongest forts in India. Though it now lay substantially in ruins, people continually come in to have a glimpse of the might of this splendid fort. One of the most fascinating features is the acoustical communication system by which a hand clap at the main gate could be heard at the top of the citadel, which is quite a distance away.

3. Birla Mandir This is the place to go to, to get a sweeping view of the city. Situated right in the center of the city, on a hillock, it is one of the finest temples in the country. It is made of more than 2000 tons of Rajasthani marble. During the evening and through the night, it shines in brilliant light and can be recognized from long distance away.

4. Hussain Sagar It is the lake that links the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The large monolithic statue of Gautam Buddha is situated right in the middle of the lake. During night, the statue lit with colourful lights and the Necklace Road that surrounds the lake together create an enchanting atmosphere that will make you stop and enjoy the goodness in life.

5. Chowmahalla Palace This was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Well renowned for its unique style and elegance, the architecture of the palace has been influenced by many different styles. The sight of the awesome chandeliers is sure to leave you spellbound.

6. Falaknuma Palace The grandest and the finest of all the palaces in Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace was built by the then prime minister of Hyderabad. The ruling Nizam, upon being invited to the palace to stay for a couple of days liked it so much that he bought it from his prime minister for his personal use. The architecture is a blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. It has what many consider as the largest dining hall in the world, with a 101-seat capacity. The intricately carved wooden ceilings, parquet flooring, stained mirrors, and handcrafted furniture take you back into the era that saw the palace in all of its glory.

7. Salarjung Museum The museum houses the personal collection of the Salar Jung family, most noticeably by Salar Jung III. It exhibits some of the finest pieces of art that include paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, clocks, and furniture. The most eye-catching sculpture is the Veiled Rebecca, along with the double-statue of Margarita and Mephistopheles in wood. There are also some fine replicas of famous marble statues from the world. Another major attraction is the musical clock in which, every hour, a timekeeper emerges from the upper deck of the clock to strike a gong as many times as it is the hours of the day.

8. AP State Museum Though not as popular as the Salarjun Museum, this museum houses some very fascinating items from history like an Egyptian mummy, which is the main attraction here. There are also Buddhist relics that were discovered at various parts in India.

9. Ramoji Film City It is the world's largest film studio as certified by Guinness Book Records. It has sets that include everything from a railway station to a police station to a court to a temple etc. You name a film set, and the chances are that it is most probably there.

10. Birla Science Museum Situated near the Birla Temple, it comprises a planetarium, science center, art gallery and its major attraction, a dinosaurium that exhibits the 160 million-year-old Kotasaurus Yamanpalliensis. Kids would love to be here. There is another thing that one must not miss when visiting Hyderabad the Hyderabadi Biryani dish.

Written by : Ritesh Saini, IIT Mumbai (India) (lives in Hyderabad, India)

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Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice