Tourist Places in Hyderabad

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Tourist Places in Hyderabad

History of Hyderabad

Hyderabad the capital of Andhra Pradesh, founded in the year 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth sultan of Qutb Shahi dynasty, offers a fascinating panorama of the past, with richly mixed cultural and historical tradition spanning over 400 years. It is one of the fastest growing cities of India and has emerged as a strong industrial, commercial, technology center, gives a picture of glimpses of past splenders and the legacy of its old history.The history of Hyderabad begins with the establishment of the Qutb Shahi dynasty.

Quli Qutb Shah seized the reins of power from the Bahamani kingdom in 1512 and established the fortress city of Golconda. Inadequacy of water, and frequent epidemics of plague and cholera persuaded Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah to venture outward to establish new city with the Charminar at its centre and with four great roads fanning out four cardinal directions. Hyderabad’s fame, strategic location and Golconda’s legendary wealth attracted Aurangazeb who captured Golconda after a long seize in 1687.

After this defeat the importance of Hyderabad declined and the city fell into partial ruins. As the Moghul empire decayed and began to disintegrate, the viceroy, Asaf Jah I proclaimed himself the Nizam and established independence rule of the Deccan. Hyderabad once again became a major capital city, ruled by successive Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty until the state was merged into Indian Union in 1948.

Shilparamam

Held in the last two weeks of December every year, the annual Crafts Mela, also known as The Overpriced Rip-off Fair Of The Year, is only one part of life at Shilparamam. After ridiculous amounts of money have been spent, ‘folksy’ food has been eaten, and much fun has been had by all, life goes back to normal in Shilparamam. It is a crafts village, where artisans live all year round and make pots that all look the same. We are kidding, of course. They are highly skilled.

A tale told in brick-red, potter’s clay and thatch, this village hosts workshops as well – one sculpture workshop held by the Department Of Culture for sculptors from all over the country saw stone spring to life and chips of rock fly through the air, and Shilparamam was beautiful.

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The village has a small open – air auditorium near the stalls for folk dance performances and the singing of some seriously jarring folk songs. It does, however, have a much bigger and more enticing open-air auditorium at Rock Heights, unsurprisingly set on top of a bunch of rocks. The walk up to it is torturous, but the view is wonderful, and the punugulu ( a fried Andhra snack served with flaming chutney ) are just the thing to munch on when sitting under the wide – open sky. The Colonial Cousins performed here once, to a crowd of cheering teens, happy housewives, and dancing grandpas.

If it is a terra cotta denouement to your well-made money that you quest for, then Shilparamam may be your horizon of enlightenment. Not a bad choice at all for an outing with the family, or with someone who you’re still hiding from them.

Mecca Masjid

It is one of the largest mosques in India – one of the largest in the world in fact – and took 8,000 masons and labourers, 77 years, and, if stories are to be believed, 1,400 bullocks to be finally completed. The Mecca Masjid is a must-see on any self-respecting tourist’s itinerary, and with good reason. Lying in the center of Old Hyderabad and just southwest of the Charminar, this mosque, which claims to be able to accommodate over 10,000 worshippers at a time, has several stories behind it.

Its construction was begun in 1617 by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah, who is said to have transported earth from Mecca, got bricks made out of them, and placed these bricks in the central arch of the mosque. And that is how the mosque got its name. Legend has it that when the foundation stone was about to be laid, the Sultan announced to all the religious elders in the city that he wanted the stone to be laid by one who had never missed his prayers. When no one volunteered, he laid the stone himself; he hadn’t even missed a midnight prayer since he was 12.

The pillars of the structure were carved out of single slabs of granite, which is where the 1,400 bullocks came in – to drag them from the quarry to the site. Fifteen beautiful arches support the roof of the prayer hall, with five arches on each of three sides, and a sheer wall on the fourth to provide mehrab ( a place for the holy books to be kept ).

Chowmahalla Palace

First, you should remember that there were no traffic problems back in the 1750s. Also, if you were the Nizam or a member of his family, it is unlikely that you would be driving around yourself. From what we understand, they must have had enough money to hire a couple of chauffers.

That should explain any misgivings you might have about the location of Chowmahalla. To get there, you should have the dogged zeal of a tourist, pressing business in the whereabouts, or a private chopper. Okay, perhaps we are overdoing it – reaching any place in Hyderabad needs one of those three these days.

The fact remains that like most of Hyderabad’s older tourist attractions, Chowmahalla is in no glamorous location. You have to hit Charminar – no breezy drive in itself – and then take a couple of confusing turns through the remorseless traffic there. If you are a beginner in this part of town, you might be back where you began, since those turns will most likely be wrong. But if you are lucky, you will see a green dilapidated 2 – storeyed tenement – ish building with its unassuming boundary wall painted “Chowmahalla Palace” outside.

Certainly doesn’t seem worth it. If you choose to be indomitable and persevere, however, then you will realize that you were mistaken – that green dilapidated building isn’t what you thought it was. It is just a green dilapidated building. It’s neighbour is hidden behind it.

Necklace Road
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Modelled after the Queen’s Necklace in Mumbai, the Necklace Road links Hyderabad to Secunderabad, and provides young lovers with an avenue to express themselves.

But there’s more to this stretch of tar than whispered nothings and nervous handholding. There are the families. Large families with screaming kids, small families with screaming kids, they’re all here. The Hussain Sagar stink is negligible, there’s plenty of grass ( to sit or play frisbee on, we mean ) and there are innumerable vendors with puchkas, bhel and cool drinks.

Well, some form of entertainment with loudspeakers would be nice. For that we have the People’s Plaza, an outcrop of land from the road that plays host to several cultural events that are usually free to the public. Masses of people can be accomodated here easily, and if it’s a cool evening, masses will turn up. Many music concerts have been held here, with maestros like Zakir Hussain playing to hundreds. Buddha Jayanti celebrations are also held here every year, and there is the occasional handicrafts or tourism fair.

Charminar

The Charminar is many things to many people – an instantly recognizable landmark for out-of-towners, a handy half-second establishing shot for filmmakers, a supremely convenient logo for everyone from municipal corporations to cigarette manufacturers. Perhaps most of all, it is an ancient but comforting presence at home, like a much – loved elderly relative or household help who reminds you of where you come from and makes no insistent demands on your time or attention.

Legends have sprung up all around it, like plants and creepers will in the cracks of abandoned buildings. They say that it was built by a monarch at the very spot where he prayed for the end of a plague. They say that there is a secret underground passage that leads under the city to the Golconda Fort, that silent sentinel that looms over the city even in this skyscraper age. What is known for sure is that it was commissioned by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah to commemorate the end of the plague, and completed in the dying years of the 16th century.

Today, it stands regally in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Old City. A ticket will allow you into the gallery above the vaulted arches, and for a while you can pretend to be Qutub Shahi or Asaf Jahi royalty and look out over your realm. Higher up, at the uppermost level, is a small mosque and even higher still at the ends of those DNA staircases are the tops of the minarets, from where the view must surely be gob smacking. You won’t find out, because the staircases are closed, thanks to some unfortunates who used the minarets for quick escapes from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Hyderabad Public Gardens

Situated at the heart of Hyderabad, Hyderabad Public Gardens is the most popular and the most frequented garden in the city. Hyderabad Public Gardens, one among the biggest parks of Hyderabad, holds a prominent place among other gardens in the city. It is famous not only for the beautiful landscaping of gardens, lawns and pathways but also for the prestigious institutions situated within.

Hyderabad Public Gardens is an important landmark of Hyderabad as it encloses the State Legislature, Andhra Pradesh State Archaeological Museum, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Indira Gandhi Auditorium and Telugu Lalita Kala Thoranam, an outdoor theatre.

Art lovers visiting the city often pay a visit to the State Archaeological Museum within the Public Gardens. This archaeological museum is considered to be one among the richest repositories of antiques and art objects in India. It was built in 1920 in the Indo – Saracenic style of architecture by Nizam VII.

Another important building situated within the Public Gardens is the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly was inaugurated in 1985 by the then Prime Minister of India, late Sri Rajiv Gandhi. It has added a huge statue of Mahatma Gandhi, sitting in a praying posture, in the Garden.

The Public Gardens also consists of a Health Museum, Contemporary Art Museum and a children’s park. The outdoor theatre called Lalitha Kala Thoranam is the venue for film festivals, fashion shows and beauty pageants. It has an ancient mosque and the office of the Department of Horticulture in its premises.

Timing : 9.00 am – 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm ( Friday Holiday ).

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