Hyderabad is the capital of the Andhra Pradesh state, located in south-eastern India. The city lies on the Deccan Plateau along the Musi River.
The city today is known as one of India’s IT centers, on par with Bangalore and Chennai. It is also home to the Indian headquarters of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.
At the center of the sprawling shopping malls and glass skyscrapers is the old town going back 400 years so, although most visitors who travel to Hyderabad are there for business, the city also boasts a rich history and many traditions worth exploring.
Hyderabad has a tropical climate. The best time to visit is from mid-November to mid-February when mild temperatures, from 15° C - 29° C, and a lot of sunshine prevail. May to June is very hot and temperatures can occasionally rise to 45°C. July to October is hot and humid, and during the monsoons heavy rains often last for days.
January average temperature 21 deg Celsius 3 mm rainfall February average temperature 23 deg Celsius, 5 mm rainfall March average temperature 27 deg Celsius, 10 mm rainfall April average temperature 30 deg Celsius, 23 mm rainfall May average temperature 31 deg Celsius, 28 mm rainfall June average temperature 28 deg Celsius, 104 mm rainfall July average temperature 25 deg Celsius, 160 mm rainfall August average temperature 25 deg Celsius, 157 mm rainfall September average temperature 25 deg Celsius, 175 mm rainfall October average temperature 25 deg Celsius, 84 mm rainfall November average temperature 21 deg Celsius, 25 mm rainfall December average temperature 20 deg Celsius, 8 mm rainfall
Hyderabad is served by the new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, located 22 km from the city, and is one of India’s most effective airports. The airport has excellent domestic connections and many direct international connections.
Airport’s own air-conditioned buses (Aero Express) serve three destinations in the city that connect with taxi stands. Metered taxis are also available at the exit of the terminal building. Cars can be hired at the exit of the terminal building.
The city is served by an excellent network of bus lines. Most buses start at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Terminus. There are ordinary local buses but there are also Metro Express buses, Metro Deluxe/Veera buses and air-conditioned Seetala Hamsa buses.
Most auto-rickshaws are metered, but convincing the driver to actually use it is another thing. They can take up to 3 passengers plus the driver but more often they will try to fit more in.
Metered taxis are available, but have to be ordered by phone. It is also advisable to book well ahead.
There are a few places in Hyderabad served by train lines and services are very cheap, however, they are infrequent.
Several car rental agencies are available at airport.
The city’s points of interest are spread-out but exploring them on foot is possible. Be aware, however, that walking can also be hazardous as many roads do not have sidewalks. Similarly, crossing a road can be very dangerous. It is recommended to keep alert and be prepared for some erratic driving.
A lush green course with 18 holes, 6434 Yardage and 72 par.
Hyderabad is the shopping hub for the entire Andhra Pradesh state. There are several good markets for jewelry, textiles and handicrafts and is one of the best places to shop for pearls and diamonds. The best markets for jewelry are Basheerbagh, Abids and Nampally. The Begum Bazar is well known for its brassware.
The Charminar Market is the most interesting market in the city especially in the evening when everybody comes alive.
The Old City of Hyderabad is composed of a maze of intertwining alleyways that expand outward from the Charminar Mosque, most of the city’s historic attractions can be found here
Charminar – the city’s icon
Literally its name means ‘four minarets’ and was built to commemorate the end of the plague in the city in 1591. It was built in the distinct architectural style of the Quatab Shahi period. Its towers reach almost 50 meters high where a nice panoramic view of the city can be found. The mosque itself stands at the center of a busy road. It has 45 prayer places inside the upper storey.
This is one of the city’s oldest and largest mosques. The imposing granite structure has a huge main hall that can hold up to 10,000 worshippers at a time. The legend has it that the bricks were made from earth brought from Mecca.
The fort, located on the western outskirts of Hyderabad, was constructed in the 16th century and is considered among the most magnificent fortress complexes in India. It was also one of the strongest. It is famous for its collection of diamonds. It is said that the famous Kohinoor diamond was also once part of its collection.
One of Hyderabad’s finest palaces, it was constructed in 1872 and was once the residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The stunning building encompasses 32 acres of land and stands on a hill 600 meters above the city. The interior is particularly impressive. It houses Nizam’s acclaimed collection of the Holy Quran, the famous dining room with the world's longest dining table that seats 100 people, marble staircases, Venetian chandeliers, a vast crystal collection, marvelous statues, and valuable artwork. After a renovation that took ten years to complete, the palace has been transformed into a luxury Taj hotel.
Salar Jung Museum
The museum is one of the top attractions of the city. The numerous collections have artifacts ranging from the 2nd century B.C to early 20th century A.D Greek, Roman, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Islamic cultures are represented and the exhibits range from fine art and tapestries to jade artifacts, and from weaponry to sculpture.
The popular week-long festival is a rich program of musical recitals and dance performances by students and famed professionals.
Deccan Festival Hyderabad
Date: February 25
This annual five-day festival celebrates the city’s cultural diversity. The program offers music, dance, art and cuisine at various stalls and demonstrations.
Ugadi is a celebration of the New Year and is practiced all across India. People usually decorate the doorways of their houses with fresh mango leaves, buy new clothes and enjoy dinners and parties with family and friends.
Buddha Purnima is among the most important festivals in the Buddhist calendar. The festival is also known as Vesak Day, and pays tribute to the life of Buddha and his achieving enlightenment.
Ganesha Chaturthi festival
Date: usually between August 20 and September 22
Ganesh Chaturthi is an important festival in honor of Lord Ganesh, the son of Shiva and Parvati. He is the God of knowledge and the remover of obstacles. The festival usually takes place between August 20 and September 22 and lasts for 10 days during which time the deity is worshipped until the final 11th day when the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in water, to signify a ritual farewell on his journey towards his abode in Kailash and at the same time, taking away all the misfortunes of his devotees.
Date: October or November Location: throughout the city
Diwali is the most popular traditional festival in India. It has its roots in Hindu mythology and is celebrated each year for 5 days in October or November with much grandeur. It is also known as the festival of lights because of the thousands of diyas (small oil lamps) that are lit in every home, which signifies a bow to the God, and is supposed to bring joy to a person’s life. It also brings hope of finding life in the darkness, and happiness instead of unawareness. During the festival the cities all over North India are turned into a carnival, houses are decorated with lanterns and candles and the streets fill up with food and nick-nack stalls. Firecrackers are set off and people exchange sweets and gifts.
This three day festival observed in the cities of Hyderabad and Nagarjunasagar celebrates the Buddhist heritage of the state of Andra Pradesh and pays homage to Gautama Buddha.
India is a hierarchical society so the eldest or most senior person should be greeted first.
Shaking hands is common, especially in the cities and in more educated circles, where people are used to dealing with westerners.
Avoid public displays of affection, as these are seen as impolite and rude.
Bargaining is common in shops and markets.
Indians are very curious about personal things and asking extremely personal questions is not seen as impolite.
Also, Indians are reluctant to say ‘no’, which means, if something is not available they will give an affirmative answer, but will be deliberately vague about the specific details.
Gifts: Care should be taken when giving gifts to either Hindus or Muslims. For example, do not give anything made of leather to a Hindu. Similarly, avoid presenting Muslims with anything made of pigskin or alcohol.
People usually do not open the gifts upon receiving them.
Wrap gifts in yellow, green or red colors, as these are deemed lucky. Do not give frangipani or white flowers because these are used at funerals.
If you are invited to an Indian household, bring sweets or flowers.
Women are advised to dress conservatively, to show respect and also to avoid unwanted attention.
Topless bathing is illegal.
Smoking in public was banned in October 2008.
Visitors to the temples should remove their shoes and cover their heads.
Tipping: Usually a service charge is already added to a restaurant bill but if not, a 10% tip is expected.