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Hyderabad in Southern India is rich in tradition and history. Book a flight to Hyderabad with Qatar Airways and you will find plenty to discover. The modern-day city is home to the Indian headquarters of Google and Microsoft, yet it's the old city that captures the hearts of visitors. Filled with charm, its Islamic monuments, ornate tombs and palaces hint at decades of glorious history.
In stark contrast, the sprawling glass high-rises and shopping malls in the modern business district tell a different story. However, there's much more to Hyderabad than gleaming office buildings and IT – differences in culture are visible throughout the city's five districts. You can fly to Hyderabad with Qatar Airways to explore the jewel in Telangana's crown.
Most visitors head for the Old City, south of the river, where the majority of historical attractions can be found. On your trip to Hyderabad, visit Charminar (Four Minarets), a stunning palace with its own mosque and temple, offering panoramic city views from atop the minarets.
Charminar, Hyderabad’s principal landmark was built by Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 to commemorate the founding of Hyderabad and the end of epidemics caused by Golconda’s water shortage. The dramatic four-column, 56m-high structure has four arches facing the cardinal points, with Minarets sitting atop each column.
Although most of the 16th century Golconda Fortress dates from the time of the Qutb Shah Kings, its origins as a mud fort have been traced to the earlier reigns of the Yadavas and Kakatiyas. And for one of the largest collections of artefacts visit the Sala Jung Museum. The huge and varied collection, dating back to the 1st century, was put together by Mir Yusaf Ali Khan (Salar Jung III). The 14,000 exhibits from every corner of the world include sculptures, wood carvings, devotional objects, Mughal miniature paintings, illuminated manuscripts, weaponry, toys and textiles.
Visitors flock to Chowmahalla Palace, once home to the Nizam. Although many feel the architecture of Falaknuma Palace is more impressive, this has been turned into a hotel, and is now inaccessible to members of the public who want to appreciate its more aesthetic qualities. Take an afternoon out to explore Golconda Fort – you can pay for a guided tour or wait for the sound and light show that takes place after sunset. The maze of winding, bustling streets surrounding the fort is filled with beautiful, old-world shops selling everything from jewellery to naan bread.
Travel to Hyderabad and you'll notice the tropical climate can make summers quite hot and humid. Cooling off with a boat ride at Lumbini Park or a picnic at NTR gardens is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon and an opportunity to escape the heat. Families can enjoy a trip to GoGoa Aquarium, where rare sea life such as the Quaran Angel and Star Fish can be spotted.
With so much history and culture on offer, a Heritage Walk is the best way to learn more about Hyderabad's past. Organised by the tourist department, these guided walks include breakfast and take in the major sights of the Old City. For a day trip with a difference, film lovers take the one-hour drive to Ramoji Film City for a guided tour of the world's largest film studio.
Hyderabad's cuisine is heavily influenced by traditional South Indian spices and Mughlai flavours, so expect to be surprised (and sometimes amazed at the sheer heat of some dishes!). The city's most popular dish is Hyderabadi Biryani, and the aroma of a traditional biryani cooking is not to be missed. Most restaurants and street food vendors will serve chicken, mutton and vegetable versions.
Other regional specialities include khubani ka meetha (apricots boiled in sugar syrup) and Irani Chai, Hyderabadi spiced tea. Visitors to Hyderabad find the street food here is amongst the best in India, and it's possible to sample a range of dishes for reasonable prices. Snacks such as Samosa Chaat and Dahi Puri can be found at popular vendors.
Nowhere is Hyderabad's wealth more obvious than on The Golden Mile, a stretch of designer shops, jewellery boutiques and malls. There's a more traditional side to shopping in the Old City too though, and for an authentic Hyderabadi experience check out the city's bazaars. Colourful and at times frenetic, the aroma of spices fills the air as street entertainers jostle for attention with vendors selling their wares. Try Meena Bazaar for saris, suits and fabrics (fixed prices) or Laad Bazaar for glass and lacquer bangles. Even if you don't plan to buy, visiting a food market such as Monda Market is a memorable experience.
When you travel to Hyderabad, take the time to shop for jewellery, pearls and handicrafts, all available at reasonable prices.
Travel to Hyderabad and you'll find evidence of Islamic influence everywhere.
Young people from across India have moved to Hyderabad to work in the city's business district in recent years, and attitudes in the area are more modern than they used to be. But visitors should bear in mind that the old city is still a conservative place, and dressing modestly is wise, particularly for women.
Flights to Hyderabad with Qatar Airways arrive at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, 14 miles from the city centre.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Hyderabad please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Voltage: 230 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / D
Language: Hindi / English
International dialing code: +91