Just like any another city, Hyderabad is the capital of the Indian State of Telangana. The city is famously known for the rulers ‘Nizams’ and historically known as ‘City of Pearls’.Nowadays it’s a popular IT hub and one of the most popular tourist destination too. The city enchanted me since long and finally I made visit this year. As a traveler, I love visiting cities with rich architecture grandeur with diverse culture and Hyderabad has it all. Here is my pick for top places to visit in Hyderabad in 3 days.
This is the most popular tourist attraction of Hyderabad. As the name suggests, the structure has ‘Char’(four) ‘Minar’ (Pillars). Charminar is sheer combination of engineering and religion standing tall for almost 400 years with mosque on its top floor. The structure is known for its profusion of stucco decorations. It is known for surrounding local markets and celebrating festivals like ‘Ramzan’.One can find most of the famous food spots around its vicinity.
One can climb the stairs to top floor, but not recommending for faint hearten people as it is narrow and dark. It will give you views of the Char Kaman, Laad bazaar and Makkah Masjid.
Timings: 9 AM to 5.30 PM daily (close on holidays)
Entry fees: INR 25 for Indian Nationals, INR 100 for foreign Nationals
This is one of the oldest mosques of Hyderabad and of the largest Mosque in India. It is considered as one of the heritage buildings of the old Hyderabad built during Qutub dynasty.
Entry Fees: Free, you need to cover your head and legs to enter the mosque.
Area beside Charminar is famously known for its Bazaars (markets) and the most famous beingLaad Bazaar. Here you can see the artisans at work; who are busy making bangles and streets have tons of shops for bangles and jewelry. Hyderabad is also famous for its pearls in landmark area pathar ghatti near Charminar.
Travel Tip: If you are buying pearls, go at some iconic places like Gulzar House, Modi Pearls at Pathar ghatti.
The Palace is located near Charminar area, the Chowmahalla palace was the official residence of Nizams of Hyderabad during their ruling of the state. The name chow means Char (four) and Mahalla means Mahal (Palace) i.e. four palaces. The four Palaces are Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal which is built in neo-classical style.
As you enter the Palace, you will notice the huge Garden, Pool with fountains and identical corridor on both the sides.The Palace is unique for its style and elegance and considered as architecture marvel.
As you walk from the courtyard, you will enter the Darbar Hall at the end. It is the heart of Chowmahalla Palace popularly known as Khilawat Mubarak.The grand pillared Darbar Hall has a pure marble platform on which the royal seat was laid where the Nizams held their Darbar and other religious and symbolic ceremonies.Beside the main gate, there is Clock Tower known as Khilawat Clock which is ticking away since 251 years.
Presently, the Chowmahalla Palace was renovated and opened for public in 2005.The Palace also has a collection of vintage cars like the Rolls Royce, which were used by the Nizam Kings.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM (Friday Closed)
Entry Fee: INR 60 for Indians, INR 200 for Foreign Nationals
Camera Fee: INR 50 for Still Camera, Videography and tripods are not allowed.
Travel Tip: It takes 3-4 hours to visit the Palace, so wear comfortable walking shoes and carry water bottle. There is a small café at the courtyard entrance.
Salar Jung Museum:
One of the largest museums of the country, the Salar Jung Museum is located on the banks of river Musi in the city Hyderabad. It is one of the three national museums of India.
The museum has collection of art, sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artifacts, carpets, clocks and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. The museum’s collection was sourced from the property of the Salar Jung family, after whom it is named. It is one of the largest museums in the world. The museum has three blocks and it takes almost 4-5 hours to cover everything.
One of the most significant possessions of the museum is the sculpture of Veiled Rebecca by Italian Sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni. It is one of four copies made by the sculptor. The other attractions of the museum are double figure wooden statue of man and woman. I loved the collection of glass ceramics from all over the world. If you are in Hyderabad and not a fan of museums like me; must visit this place. It is one of the best well preserved museum which offers world’s largest collection of antiques.
Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM (Friday closed)
Entry Fees: INR 20 for Indians, INR 500 for Foreign Nationals
Camera Fee: INR 50 for Still Camera
Travel Tip: There is strict security at the entrance and self sticks, tripods are not allowed to carry inside the museum. You can avail audio guide to understand the details of artifacts well. Also you will receive the brochure with map along with the ticket; follow the navigation from one hall to another, otherwise you might have lost in the museum.
Next , Start your day by visiting some far away sites.
The Golconda Fort (Round shaped hill) popularly known as Golkonda Quilla is a citadel and once it was the capital of Qutbshahi dynasty.The surrounding region is popular for mines that have produced precious gems like Koh-I-Noor, Hope diamond, Nasaak Diamond.The fort complex comprises another small four forts,mosques,temples and even stables.A visit to the fort reveals the architectural beauty in many of the pavilions, gates, entrances, and domes.
The fort is in the ruins today but it is one of the important monument of Hyderabad considered as an outstanding example of brilliant engineering and magical architecture. Light and sound show conducted at the Golconda fort in evening is one of the major attractions for the tourists.
Timings: 8 AM to 5.30 PM
Entry Fees: INR 25 for Indians, INR 200 for Foreign Nationals, INR 80 for Light & Sound Show (6.30 PM to 8 PM)
Camera Fee: INR 50 for Still Camera
Travel Tip:You have to climb lot of steps to be up at the top of the fort, hence wear comfortable shoes and carry water bottle with you. The climb is worth as you will get the views of the city and surrounding area.
Qutub Shahi Tombs:
The Qutb Shahi Tombs are located very close to Golconda fort.They contain the tombs and mosques built by the various kings of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Ithas tombs of seven Qutb Shahi rulers. One can see the influences of Hindu, Islam, Deccan as well as Persian styles in the structure of tombs.These seven Qutb Shahi tombs are of varying sizes. Smaller tombs have single storey while the bigger tombs have two storey.It is considered to be few of the oldest monuments of Hyderabad;these tombs present a beautiful blend of Persian and Indian architectural styles and captivate tourists with architecture marvellence.
Timings: 10 AM to 4.30 PM (closed on Friday/Holidays)
Entry Fees: INR 10 for Indians
Camera Fee: INR 20 for Still Camera
Taramati Baradari is located some 2 Kms from Golconda fort.Taramati Baradari has a music hall with 12 entrances to it. It was used as an auditorium. Taramati has been situated on the top of the hill, which was done so as to avoid any disturbance to the sound from the population of the surrounding area.
This place has great acoustics and because of its association with Taramati, who had dedicated her entire life to dance and music, it is now used for performances on classical music and other folk art forms.Presently, this complex is run by TSTDC where various events,performances and exhibitions are conducted. Also it is popular for shooting purposes by photographers.
Timings: 11 AM to 6 PM daily
Entry Fees: free , Camera is not allowed but you can click with your mobile phone camera.
Travel Tip: Must have lunch/dinner at Haritha restaurant in Taramati Complex which serves good North Indian as well as international cuisines.
Hussain Sagar Lake was built across Musi river during Qutb shah dynasty to supply water in Hyderabad city. It separates Secunderabad from Hyderabad.Due to its heart shape, Hussain Sagar Lake is considered as one of the largest world’s heart shaped mark.
The Lake is surrounded by multiplexes, shopping malls, eateries and Parks which makes good hangout place for locals. There is a large tall statue of Lord Buddha in the middle of the lake which is a major attraction. The Lake has Lumbini Park; where there is a jetty point which takes you to the center of the lake near the statue. The Buddha statue is illuminated at the night and I highly recommend visiting it due to the serenity it offers from bustling city life.
Entry Fees: INR 20 for Lumbini Park and INR 55 for boating
Birla Temple Hyderabad is similar to other Birla temples built across India by Birla foundation in white marble. The temple is located on the hill top and dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati Temple.The architectural style of the Birla temple is a blend of North Indian and South Indian styles of temple architecture.It also has shrines for other Hindu Gods and Goddesses namely, Shiva, Hanuman, Brahma, Ganesh, Saraswati, Shakti, Lakshmi and Sai Baba.
Birla mandir being situated on the hilltop, makes it one of the highest spots of the city. You need to climb few steps to enter the temple but the view of the city from the temple is worth all the efforts. It overlooks the waters of Hussain Sagar providing a panoramic view of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
Timings: 7 AM to 12 PM, 3 PM to 9 PM
Entry fee: Free
Travel Tip: You are not allowed to carry your camera,mobile phones,wallet,handbags inside the temple; you can deposit it at the free locker facility available in the complex.
What to Eat in Hyderabad:
- Nimrah Café & Bakery – one of the most famous cafes in Hyderabad which is located near the Charminar. The place is famous for their Irani Chai and Osmania Biscuits. If you are visiting Charminar, must visit this place.
- Matwale Doodh Ghar – This place is famous for its Lassi and Faluda. I tried Lassi and it was one of the best I ever had.
- Biryani –One of the iconic foods of Hyderabad is Biryani and one should not leave the city without having it. However, you can have biryani at every nook and corner, the most famous are Paradise hotel and Shadab Hotel.
- Govind Ki Bandi – If you are in Charminar area during Noon (6 AM to 1 PM), must visit this little street side stall.It serves delicious fluffy soft idlis and Dhosas with tangy coconut chutney. Must try their Tawa Idlies which I had two Plates. 🙂
- If you are vegetarian, must visit Tiffin Centers throughout the city which serves delicious Idli Sambhar and Dhosas at cheapest price. The Chutney’s outlets are also famous for it.
- Karachi Bakery– It is considered as one of the most popular bakeries of Hyderabad, I highly recommend trying some fruit biscuits, plum cake and other variety of biscuits. You can bring it back to home for gifting one to your family members. The main branch is located at Mozamjahi market and they have several outlets throughout the city.
- Famous Ice Cream: As you leave charminar area, at Mozamjahi market in Nampally, you can have famous fruit ice-cream at famous ice-cream shop. I tried their fruit ice-cream which was good.
- Must try few deserts – Qubani ka meetha, Shahi tukada and double ka meetha.
Nearby Places to Visit:
- Pochampally – This town is famous for traditional Double Ikkat textile weaving. It is 50 Kms from Hyderabad and can visited as day trip.I couldn’t visit here this time,may be next time.
- Paigah Tombs – It is resting place for Paigah family members; stunning combination of architecture styles and opulence.You can read more about Paigah tombs by Rashmi.
How to Reach:
Being the Capital of Telangana State, Hyderabad is well connected by air, train and bus from all major cities of the country. There are numerous trains available from Mumbai,Bangalore and Chennai as overnight journey.
Where to Stay:
Hyderabad is one of the prominent IT City of the country and it offers plethora of options to stay in the old city (secunderabad) as well as in Hi-Tech city. I was there with my family and stayed at OYO Property which was near to all sightseeing attractions. If you want to avoid commute, stay near Nampally area.
As being busy city, Hyderabad has lot of traffic in every area.We used mix of Local Buses, Uber Taxi/OLA Taxi and Local autos for sightseeing purpose. OLA and UBER services are good in the city.
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