Dhola-ri-Dhani in Hyderabad is a replica of an ethnic Rajasthani village. The place forms the ideal weekend getaway since it is located far from the maddening crowds of the main city. The place is only 11 km from the city of Secunderabad and is well known as a theme restaurant. You feel like a royal as soon as you enter the place through a majestic gate. You step into a world of folklore from Rajasthan. In the evening, the entire place is lighted with close to 2000 lanterns and the whole place starts bursting and bubbling with activity.
The place has plenty of entertainment and fun to offer, including camel and horse rides, folk music and dances, puppet shows, rain dance and boating. There is also a swimming pool, with waves, to beat the heat of Hyderabad. If you are lucky, you can also catch the shooting of Telugu movies since the place is a favourite for film shoots.
The Chowmahalla Palace belongs to the Nizams of Hyderabad and was the official residence of Asaf Jahis. The palace derives its name from Persian words 'chahar' and 'mahalat', meaning “four palaces”. The palace has been built on similar lines as the Shah of Iran’s palace in Iran. The construction of the palace began in the 18th century and it took almost 10 years to complete it. As a result, the design and architecture of the palace is a result of a combination of various styles and influences.
In olden times, the palace was used for conducting various functions including the coronation of the Nizams, as well as the welcome parties of the governors-general. In fact, all ceremonial functions were known to take place in the Chowmahalla Palace during the reign of the Nizams. There are two courtyards in the palace; the northern courtyard and the southern courtyard. Both the courtyards are surrounded by rooms unparalleled in design. The uniqueness of the palace lies in its grandeur and elegance.
The Andhra Pradesh State Museum was established by the third Nizam in the city of Hyderabad. The museum offers an incredible insight into the rich and magnificent historical past of the city. The museum was opened in the year 1928 and was built on the lines of Indo-Saracenic style that speaks high volumes of the artistic splendour of the times. The museum is built within the Public Gardens and receives hundreds of curious visitors everyday.
The State Museum has a gallery that showcases the life of Buddha and his disciples. In fact, there is an amazing antique collection on display in the gallery that is believed to belong to the times of Lord Buddha. The Museum has chambers built inside; each chamber represents the different phases of human civilisation. Each chamber houses a collection of items from a specific period of time. There are also galleries dedicated to Hindu as well as Jain religions. The galleries have items that show the structuring of the two religions along with the advancing times. There are also items that hold religious importance.
The Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad gathers nationwide attention for being the first planetarium to be opened in the country. The planetarium was inaugurated by the late N. T. Rama Rao in 1985. If you are with children, then you must definitely make it a point to visit the Birla Planetarium since it has the distinction of being the most visited wing of the Science Center. Inside the Birla Planetarium, you can go on an exciting journey of our universe and discover so many of its mind-boggling secrets.
The planetarium offers you an experience that is unmatched and unparalleled. The modern technology allows for a mesmerising visual treat of the universe. The planetarium has the latest equipments that are also trendy to make the visit worthwhile for you and your family. The entire experience makes you believe you are actually on your way to a thrilling and exciting journey of the universe. The Birla Planetarium is truly educational while being entertaining.
The Birla Mandir is located adjacent to the Birla Planetarium in Hyderabad. The mandir is built on the Naubat Pahad and is a venerated place among the Hindus especially those who are devotees of Lord Venkateshwara.
The temple took 10 years to be built and was commissioned by Swami Ranganathananda, who belonged to the Ramakrishna Mission. The unique feature about the mandir is that it has been built using only white marble that was specially brought from Rajasthan. Also, the mandir has no bells so as to not to disturb the peaceful and meditative atmosphere of the temple.
Along with the main idol of Lord Venkateshwara, there are other deities enshrined in the temple. The mandir has separate wings for the deities of Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman, Brahma, Sai Baba, Shakti, Lakshmi and Saraswati. One can also see on the walls of the temple the teachings of holy men including Guru Gobind Singh.
Golconda Fort or Golla Konda Fort means the “shepherd’s hill” and is a fort built 11 km from the city of Hyderabad. During the 15th century, Golconda was a flourishing city, but now one can only see the ruins of its bygone splendour. The fort at Golconda was built by the rulers of Qutub Shahi dynasty who reigned over the city starting from 1512. The major contribution to the fort came from Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah Wali. The fort was built in order to defend the city from Mughal attacks from the north. An interesting feature of the fort is its acoustics.
If you stand in the patio of the fort and clap your hands, the voice can be heard at the topmost point of the fort that is situated at a height of 91 m from the main gate. It is also believed that a secret tunnel connects the Golconda Fort with Charminar though no evidence has been found of this passage.
Hayath Bakshi Begum Mosque is also known as the Hayat Bakshi Mosque and Hayathnagar Grand Mosque. The mosque has religious significance for the Muslims of Hyderabad. The construction of the mosque commenced during the rule of the fifth Sultan of Golconda, Abdullah Qutb Shah and got completed in the year 1672. Like the many constructions carried out during the reign of the Qutub Shahi family, the mosque too, has been done in the characteristic Qutub Shahi style.
The mosque has been made not only for offering prayers but also for allowing travellers to rest a while before carrying on with their journey. Keeping this in mind there is a Sarai or a rest house for the tired travellers. The structure of the mosque has five arches, a frieze and a parapet, two minarets and a prayer hall. The parapet runs along the galleries that have twelve protrusions. The prayer hall has been built on a platform to raise its level. One can wash hands and feet in the ablution tank that is built directly below the mosque.
Chilkur Balaji Temple in Hyderabad is also famously known as the Visa Balaji Temple or Visa God. This is a very ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Balaji and his consorts, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. This temple is famous all over the world for being the only temple that does not accept any money. In fact, there are no 'patr dan' or money boxes in the temple. All people are equal in the eyes of God and hence, no one including the VVIPs are given any special treatment.
The temple is not under the control of the state or the central government. It is believed that the temple is at least half a millennium old and this has been proven after studying the style and architecture of the temple. The temple is beautifully located on the banks of the Osman Sagar Lake and is about 33 km from Mehdipatnam. Because of the unique style of governance, the temple attracts thousands of devotees each year.
Ananda Buddha Vihara is a quaint Buddhist temple located on a small hillock in Hyderabad. The first sight of the temple is sure to take your breath away. Once you have managed to climb the hillock, you can take in a splendid view of the entire city from this great height. The temple has been beautifully built keeping in mind the Buddhist form of style and architecture. The temple has a huge hall that is naturally lit by the sunlight that streams in through the life-size French windows.
What strikes one at this time is the calm and peace that seems to be oozing out from the walls of the temple and is everywhere around you. The moment you enter the temple you are bound to forget the hustle and bustle of the city life. A large and golden statue of Lord Buddha is placed in the centre of the hall and you will find many devotees sitting around here meditating.
Durgam Cheruvu is a freshwater lake in the district of Rangareddy near Hyderabad. The lake is also referred to as Secret Lake because it lies well hidden between the Jubilee Hills and Madhapur areas. The lake has a historical significance for the people of Hyderabad because, during the times of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, the lake provided drinking water for those living in and around the Golconda Fort. Farmers used the water from the lake for irrigation purposes as well.
In 2001, the state government decided to develop the lake and its surrounding areas as a major tourist attraction. Soon the lake acquired a reputation as an ideal fishing place and plenty of people started to fish here as a hobby. To turn the place into a major tourist destination plenty of attractions like lights, rock garden, floating fountain and artificial waterfalls were added. Now the place boasts of fun activities like trekking, rock climbing and rappelling.
HITEC City or Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consultancy City is now a major township area situated in Hyderabad. The township is very close to the suburbs of Madhapur and Gachibowli. After Bangalore first emerged as the IT centre of India in the beginning of the millennium, the then chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu wanted to make Hyderabad into a major IT hub. He invited several IT companies to set up centres in Hyderabad after offering the best infrastructure facilities.
The first phase of the HITEC City project was the Cyber Towers after which the second phase, the Cyber Gateway, started. Cyber Towers was the office for several multinationals like GE Capital and Oracle Corporation. Today, the HITEC City, also known as Cyber City, houses companies like Satyam Computers, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, Mindspace, L&T, Infosys, APIIC, IBM, Google and more. Many major companies, like Infosys, have set up their self-sufficient campuses in HITEC City to meet the daily requirements of the company and its employees.
Charminar was built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi in the year 1591 and to this day it is a prominent feature of the city of Hyderabad. This historical structure is now associated with Hyderabad in a big way and has even gained global recognition.
Charminar gets its name from two Urdu words, 'char' and 'minar', the combination of which literally means “four towers”. The structure of the tower spells magnificence and radiates the architectural grandeur of ancient times. The tower has four baroque and resplendent minarets that are annexed to four arches. The arches also support the minarets. The construction of Charminar was done after Quli Qutb Shahi moved from Golconda, to make Hyderabad his new capital.
The monument was built to thank divine powers for eradicating plague (of epidemic dimension) from the city. The Charminar attracts thousands of tourists every year not only because of its majestic presence, but also because of the old-world charm that can be still seen in this part of the city.
The Asman Garh Palace in Hyderabad stands majestically on a hillock and has, therefore, been aptly named Asman Garh or 'Sky Home'. The palace is now a museum showcasing archaeological relics. It also has within its premises the St Joseph’s Public School. Asman Garh Palace was designed and constructed by the then prime Minister of Hyderabad, Sir Asman Jah, in 1885.
The palace was a retreat of sorts for the family of Paigarh to which the prime minister belonged. He wanted to build a home that was close to the skies and thus, he chose the top of a hillock for constructing his dream home. The palace was designed to keep up with the popular styles and architecture of the times. The style in trend at the time was Gothic and the Asman Garh palace represents everything Gothic in terms of architecture. It has been built on the format of a European medieval castle.
The Falaknuma Palace was designed by an English architect and the construction of the palace began in 1884. The palace initially belonged to Nawab Viqar-ul-Umra who was the then prime minister of Hyderabad. Later, the palace was given to Nizams. The palace derives its name from Urdu and means “mirror of the sky”.
The Falaknuma Palace is located 5 km from Charminar and is easily accessible by road. Interestingly, the palace has been built to resemble the shape of a scorpion. The two stings of the scorpion are the extended wings of the palace towards the north.
The body of the scorpion that forms the middle portion of the palace contains the main building as well as the kitchen. The Zenana Mahal and the harem are situated on the south side of the palace. The palace is a unique blend of Tudor as well as Italian architecture. The glass used in the windows is stained keeping in with the Tudor style.
The Hussain Sagar Lake is a major landmark in the geography as well as the history of Hyderabad. This man-made lake was constructed by Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali during the year 1562. The lake has been built on an ancillary of the river Musi. The primary need for building the lake was to provide water to the city for irrigation purposes. This huge lake has the capacity to contain water perennially and forms the link between the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
Around the lake is the famous Necklace Road, that lights up much like the diamonds in a necklace during the night. The Necklace Road with Hussain Sagar in its midst forms a mesmerising view especially at night -time. In 1992, a large and magnificent statue of Lord Buddha (carved out of a single stone) was erected in the centre of the lake. One can access the statue via a boat. If you are in Hyderabad, you cannot miss the Hussain Sagar and its adjoining tourist attractions.