Hyderabad, the city of Nizams, is one of the oldest cities in India. It’s a blend of rich cultural and historical heritage, age old traditions and yet has the best of modern facilities. Start your first morning in the heart of Hyderabad’s Old City: visit the 19th-century Chowmahalla Palace, which has elegant courtyards, fountains and some of the nizams’ vintage cars on display. Then explore the looming Charminar monument – its four-towered arch and mosque. It was built by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 when he shifted his capital from the diamond hub of Golconda. Don’t miss climbing the steps in a winding stairwell to the viewing deck, where you can gaze out over the buzzing Old City.
Make a stop at the 17th-century Mecca Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India. For lunch, sample the famous Hyderabadi biryani at Hotel Shadab at Madina Circle. The fragrant dish will have you feel a little lazy, but beat it by heading right out for some window shopping around Charminar. Among hundreds of jewellery shops, some of the best gems and strands of pearls to take back with you.
You could choose to head to the city’s most premium heritage hotel – Taj Falaknuma Palace for a sunset high tea on the Jade Terrace or go for a candle-lit dinner across lovely gardens at Our Place at Charan Pahadi, where the paneer tikka and chicken 65 will have you licking your fingers.
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Start your next morning by paying a visit to the Qutb Shahi tombs at Fort Road. They are a haunting complex of 16th-century mausoleums that form the final resting place of erstwhile rulers and their families. The beautiful structures are notable for their onion-shaped domes, but the Great Mosque stands out for its intricately carved spires.
For a cosy lunch in a rather elite set-up, head to Olive Bistro. This place is more Santorini than south India. Remember to order their signature drinks and wood-fired pizzas.
You can bring your trip to a close by taking a walk along Necklace Road that forms a garland of sorts alongside the Hussain Sagar Lake. You could also hire a boat from Lumbini Park to the Buddha statue in the middle of the lake and spend your evening taking in all the sights and sounds of Hyderabad.