Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, is more than 400 years old. A bustling metropolitan city situated at an altitude of 650 m above sea level, hills, tanks, forests and rock formations dominate it. Richly endowed with diverse cultures, Hyderabad is famous for its unique harmonious existence of the old city dominated by Muslims such as the area of Charminar and the Anglo-Indian dominated modern Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad. An attractive fusion of old-world-charm and industrial growth and enterprise, Hyderabad has a large share of majestic old edifices built in Medieval, Mughal, Colonial and Indo-Saracenic architectural styles along with the latest glass and chrome skyscrapers that are the commercial centers of the city. Mohammad, the fifth Quli Qutub Shahi ruler, founded the new city with Charminar as its center. It gained the status of the capital during the times of the famous Nizams of the Asaf Jah dynasty, who ruled the city until British took it over in 1948.

The twin city of Secunderabad was founded in 1798 by the then Nizam, Sikander Jah. With time, it merged with Hyderabad. Hyderabad is famous for its minarets and its pearl market. The artisans here are known for their skills in piercing and stringing pearls without damaging them and thus pearls from all over the world come here. The colorfully attired gypsy tribes called 'Lambadas' and 'Banjaras' of Hyderabad have gained fame throughout India. Known as the second Silicon Valley in India after Bangalore, Hyderabad has a Software Technology Park that houses leading IT industries such as TCS, Wipro, Baan and Satyam. Hyderabadi cuisine is unique. Even the Muslim cuisine here is the only cuisine of the sub-continent that can boast of a major vegetarian element. The key flavors of coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds and chilli as the key spice, the piquant Hyderabadi culinary has almost become synonymous with 'Gosht', meat of a baby male goat.
Attractions of Hyderabad
Built by Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah in 1591, Charminar was said to be the centre around which Hyderabad was once built. This majestic architectural monument is said to be built to commemorate the eradication of plague from Hyderabad.
Mecca Masjid
One of the largest mosques in India, Mecca Masjid has a capacity to accommodate about 10,000 worshippers. The biggest mosque in Hyderabad, Sultan Muhammad Qutub Shah started the construction of this mosque. The works continued during the reigns of Abdullah Qutub Shah and Abul Hassan Tana Shah and was finally completed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1694.
Golconda Fort
The mighty Golconda fort, a majestic monument on the outskirts of Hyderabad city, speaks of a great cultural heritage of 400 years.
Salar Jung Museum
Salar Jung Museum has the largest one-man collection of antiques in the world, exhibiting over 35,000 objects of art such as Chinese Porcelain, Aurangazeb's Sword, and Daggers belonging to Queen Noor Jehan, Emperor Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Sculpture, Indian paintings and Persian carpets. The most notable of these are the Veiled Rebecca, Bezzoni's translucent white marble statue, the Arms section, the Jade section and the Oriental Section.
Hussain Sagar Lake
Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah constructed Hussain Sagar Lake in the midst of the city in 1562 in the honor of Hussain Shah Wali, who helped him to recover from illness. Forming a link between the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, it is also known as Tank Bund as it was once the cantonment area of Secunderabad.
Jama Masjid
Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah built the Jama Masjid, the oldest mosque in Hyderabad, in 1597.
St. Joseph's Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Joseph is perhaps the most beautiful in the twin cities. It is situated in the Gun foundry area.
Birla Mandir
Birla Mandir, a modern temple on the shores of Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad provides an excellent view over the city from the summit. The magnificent marble structure stands atop the 'Kala Pahad', the twin hillock of 'Naubat Pahad'. It is said that the marble used in its construction was brought all the way from Rajasthan and it is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara.
Birla Planetarium
Situated on the hillock of Naubat Pahad, the Birla Planetarium is a tribute to the advances made in science and technology. Sorting a beautiful dome-shaped architecture, tt was inaugurated by Late Mr. N.T. Rama Rao on 8th September, 1985.
Falaknuma Palace (Star of Heaven)
One of the most magnificent of its kind in India, it was built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra Bahadur atop a 650 m high hill.
Hi-Tech City
A preferred destination for famed Software Companies; Hi-Tech City is the hub of IT industries and is situated in the outskirts of the city.
High Court
A beautiful Mughal-style building built in 1916 of local pink granite and red sandstone carved panels and columns, the British architect Vincent Esch designed it. It is said to have been estimated at a cost of 2 million rupees.
Qutub Shahi Tombs
The tombs of the Qutub Shahi rulers are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches. In the centre of each tomb is a casket overlying the actual burial vault in a crypt below. Originally, these domes were overlaid with blue and green tiles. However only a few of them can be seen now.
Paigah Tombs
Situated at Santoshnagar, the tombs of Paigah nobles, relatives of Nizams, are said to be about 200 years old and have unique lime and mortar construction and are beautifully carved sporting a marble inlay work on them.
Chote Hazrat Ki Dargah
Chote Hazrat ki Dargah situated inside Devan Devadi was built during the period of the Asif Jahis, in the memory of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of prophet Muhammad. The row of arches and 400 stairs leading up to Dargah present a majestic sight.
Raymond's Tomb
The tomb of Michel Raymond, a French mercenary and a close friend of the then Nizam lies in Saroornagar in east Hyderabad. An annual commemorative 'Urs' fair is held at his 7 m high black granite tomb bearing the initials JR.
Sanjeevaiah Park
Sanjeevaiah Park, a major recreation centre next to Hussain Sagar, is named after the former President of India, Mr. Neelam Sanjeev Reddy. The highlights of the park are a rose garden, rock garden and a floral clock.
Nehru Zoological Park
One of the biggest zoos in Asia, it houses of over 250 species of fauna. Some of its highlights are the lion safari park, pre-historical animal’s park, natural history museum, nocturnal birds, a children park with a train ride along with special sections and amusement facilities.