Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hyderabad, a history still alive…

 Text and Photograph 
Sitasri De

Sitasri is a final year English Literature student from Kolkata who has traveled across wide portions of the country from a very tender age. As a hardcore travel-lover, she has visited several places around the nation which has in turn generated in her the love for writing. An amateur photographer and freelance writer by choice, she has an aspiration for traveling around the globe and seeing every nook and corner of the world.


If the great Shah Jahan could have built a wonder like the Taj Mahal for his beloved, Mumtaz, the nizam of Hyderabad dedicated an entire city to his love, Hyder Mahal. Hyderabad, thus, literally means the city of Hyder which was initially named Bhaganagar.
Hyderabad, famous for its delicious and mouth watering biriyani and haleem, is a city of immense historical significance that has changed its course over the past 400 years. It is the capital of the south Indian state of Telengana and the de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh and has a twin city named Secunderabad. Originally it belonged to the Nizam, but later came under the Indian Union after the Nizam was overthrown in ‘Operation Polo’ and the city was annexed by independent India. Popularly known as the “city of pearls” or the “city of Nizams”, it is one of the busiest cities in our country owing to its rich cultural heritage that makes it a common-place tourist hotspot among travelers from all the country and abroad.
Hyderabad is a historic city noted for its monuments, temples, churches, masjids and bazaars that are clearly indicative of the fact that the city welcomes people from all races and religions without any discrimination. These vividly portray the traditions and old-age charm that the city never fails to hold on to.  Established in 1591 by Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah, the city was under the rule of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty for nearly a century until the Mughals took over.
Hyderabad has lots to offer to anyone who cares to dive deep into its history. In the long span of 400 years, from a Muslim Nizam naming it after a Hindu woman to countless wars being fought and numerous lives being lost for its possession, from being the capital of one state to gaining the unique identity of being the capital of two states, Hyderabad has seen it all. And for all the people out there who are looking for a change from their usual mundane lifestyles, Hyderabad, I assure you, is the place for you.

Most Notable places in Hyderabad:

Golkonda fort:
Golconda, also spelled as Golkonda or Golla Konda (shepherd’s hill), is situated 11 Km west of Hyderabad. It was first built by Kakatiya dynasty as part of their Western defenses along the line of the Kondapalli fort.It is 120 mt high and is surrounded by massive battlements. The fort was rebuilt and strengthened by Pratapa Rudra of the Kakatiyas. The fort was further strengthened by the Musunuri Nayaks who defeated the Tughlaqi army occupying Warrangal. The fort was ceded by the Musunuri chief Kapaya Nayak to the Bahmani Sultunate as part of the treaty in 1364.After the Collapse of the sultunate,the fort became the capital of Qutb Sahi dynasty. The fort finally fell into ruins after a siege and its fall to the Mughal Empire under Aurangzeb in 1687.
After the collapse of the Bahmani Sultanate, Golkonda rose to prominence as the seat of the Qutb Shahi dynasty around 1507. Over a period of 62 years, the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans into a massive fortification of granite, extending around 5 km in circumference. It remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1590 when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis expanded the fort, whose 7 kilometers outer wall enclosed the city.

The fort is now under the care of the Archaeological Survery of India. The whole complex of the fort is apread across a total area of 11 kms and seeing every nook and corner of the fort is an arduous task. We enter the fort by the Fateh Darwaza, which reflects the engineering marvels of the era.  A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the 'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning note to the royals in case of an attack.

The view of the city of Hyderabad from the top of the fortress is spectacular as is evident in the picture below.

Other attractions -
A light and sound show is held for the tourists everyday (except Monday) from 7pm to 8pm. I would recommend carrying “odomos” as mosquitoes are a problem in the place at night. The cost of the tickets is Rs.130.

Entry fees and timings-
The entry fees for Indian tourists are a minimal amount of Rs.5. Special tickets costing Rs.25 are to be bought if one wishes to click pictures. It is open on all days from 9 am to 5.30 pm.

How to get to Golconda-
It’s a pretty easy route to Golconda. By car it takes around 44 minutes via Fort Rd (12.8km), around 49 minutes via NH7 and Fort Rd (12.7km) and around 48 minutes via Langar House Road and Fort Rd (11.8km). The times taken may vary depending on the traffic conditions. Also a number of bus services are available from the Koti bus terminus.

The charminar means the “four towers”. Constructed in 1591 CE, it is a monument and a mosque situated on the east bank of the river Musi. The Laad Bazaar lies to the west and the Makkah Masjid to the southwest. It is listed under the ASI as a “list of monuments”. The landmark has become a glocal icon of Hyderabad.The fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, built the Charminar in 1591 century. After Shifting His capital from Golkonda to Hyderabad, he built this awesome structure of Charminar. The Old City of Hyderabad was designed with Charminar as its centerpiece. Popular folklore says that during the Mughal governorship between Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rule, the southwestern minaret "fell to pieces" after being struck by lightning and was repaired soon after.

The clock of Charminar is a special attraction for people. Tourists are allowed to take the stairs and enjoy the splendid view of the city from the top of the monument.

Entry fees and timings-
One can visit the place between 9am and 5.30pm on all days of the week. The amount payable for entering the premises of the Charminar is a bare minimum amount of Rs.5.

How to get to Charminar-
By car it takes around 20 minutes to cover a distance of 4 kilometres via NH 9, around 21 minutes (3.7 kilometres) via Maharani Jhansi Rd and around 24 minutes (4.2 kilometres) via Chanderghat Rd. if someone wishes to take the bus, several buses leave for Charminar from the Koti bus terminus and Women’s college.

Other places of tourist attractions are -

The Birla Mandir- which is a Hindu temple, built on a 280 feet high hillock called Naubath Pahad on a 13 acres plot in 1976 by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission with the cooperation of Birla Foundation.

The Lumbini Park- it is a small public, urban park adjacent to Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad, India. Since it is located in the center of the city and is in close proximity to other tourist attractions, such as Birla Mandir and Necklace Road, it attracts many visitors throughout the year. It was constructed in 1994. It was one of the targets of the 25 August 2007 Hyderabad bombings that killed 44 people.
A musically synchronized water fountain and a water clock are major attractions here. The Lumbini Park jetty is an ideal place for pleasure boating. The laser show is a thing to see here.

The Hussain sagar Lake- it was built by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali on 1562 during the rule of Ibrahin Quli Qutub shah. It is spread across an area of 5.7 sq km and fed by the water of river Musi

The Salar Jung Museum- it is an art museum located at Darushifa, on the southern bank of the Musi river. It is one of the three National Museums of India.

 Ramoji film city- this is the largest integrated film city in the world spread across an are of 2000 acres. It was founded by Ramoji Rao in 1996.

The car museum-It is the first and only wacky car museum in the world. Sudha car museum is the brainchild of Mr. K. Sudhakar, a Guinness World Record holder for building the world’s largest tricycle that actually functions.

The Chowmahalla Palace- is a palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad state. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad while they ruled their state.  The palace remains the property of Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, heir of the Nizams.

Falaknuma Palace- is one of the finest palaces in Hyderabad, It belonged to Paigah Hyderabad State, and it was later owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It is situated at a distance of 5 km from Charminar. It was built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra. Falak-numa means "Like the Sky" or "Mirror of the Sky" in Urdu.

 And to conclude, I’d like to urge my readers to take time out of their busy scheduled lives and pay a visit to this beautiful city called Hyderabad. I can claim with utmost authority that anyone who cares to spend a little time in the city will not be disappointed. 


  1. Haven't evevr been ro Hyderabad, still got a vision of the entire.
    Didn't know this talent of you.
    Anyway done a great work, keep this up. @Sitasri De

  2. Nice write up n good clicks..specially of Golkonda fort

  3. I've visited Hyderabad fewdays back for job purpose.. I was there for 4-5 days.. Only visited Ramoji :( Didnt even knw thr r so many beautiful places em leaving without seeing.. The description nd pics are really gd.. #Phir_kabhi .

  4. I hope my article will be of help to you when you visit Hyderabad again. Thank you.