Hyderabad like the rest of Deccan was ruled by several dynasties in the past. Some of these empires have left their impressions in the form of landmark buildings and forts. The monuments found in Hyderabad are nothing but the remnants left by them. Although not many are present in the city, but the few that are present are really incredible. These monuments have survived the ravages of time and the onslaughts made by catastrophic forces of nature. The city used to be bounded by stone walls and there were regular gates providing the entry. Most of these gates and the walls have been taken by floods.
The monuments at Hyderabad are located in what is considered as the Old City. These monuments were built during the reign of Qutb Shahi rulers. Important among them are Golconda Fort and Charminar. Equally interesting are Falaknuma Palace, Purani Haveli, Asman Garh Palace and Legislative Assembly. These places are popular for their building style as well for the historical importance attributed to them.
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Popular as: The Arc de Triomphe of the East”
Other Attractions Nearby: Mecca Masjid, Chowmahalla Palace, Shahali Banda, Laad Bazar, Kali Kaman and Patthar Gatti.
Built By: Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah
Built In: 1591
Hyderabad’s most popular landmark Charminar is located at the center of the old city and surround by lively bazaars. It was built by Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah in 1591 in honour of his wife Bhagmati, shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golconda to what now is known as Hyderabad. It is popular as the Arc de Triomphe of the East and considered as the legendary masterpiece of Qutub Shahi’s.
Charming structure define as its name from four intricately carved minarets, the four graceful minarets which means ‘Four Minars’. Charminar is in square shape with four towers in the four corners of the square, each side is 20 metres long. Every side opens into a plaza through giant arches, which overlook four major thoroughfares and dwarf other features of the building except the minarets. Each arch is 11 metres wide and rises 20 metres to the pinnacle from the plinth. The minarets soar skywards by 24 metres from the roof of Charminar. Each minaret has four storeys, each looking like a delicately carved ring around the minaret. From the ground to the apex, the minarets cover a length of 48.7 metres.
Charminar is surrounded by markets and many other structures which adds to its grace. It boasts Chow Mohalla palace, Shahali Banda, Laad Bazar, Kali Kaman and Patthar Gatti and Mecca Masjid. The structure of Charminar show both Indian and Mughal architectural styles. You can see good views of all over the old city from the top of the minarets.
Location: 11km. from Hyderabad City
Famous For: Acoustics, Palaces, Ingenious Water Supply System, and Diamond Trade
Built By: Quli Qutub Shah
Attractions within Golconda Fort: Taramathi Gana Mandir, Premathi Nritya Mandir, Sound And Light Show.
Best Time to Visit: September & March
Opened: 7.00 A.M. to 8.00 P.M. (Daily)
About Golconda Fort: Golconda Fort is one of the most wonderful monuments, located 11 km. from Hyderabad, and the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The name of Golconda originates from the telgu words “Golla” and “Konda” which means ‘shepard’s hill’. One of the most important features of this fort is that the sounds of hands clapped at the entry gate can be heard quite clearly at the top of the hill.
History of Golconda Fort:The 13th century Golconda Fort was built by the Kakatiya kings. The existing structure was later built by Qutub Shahi Kings into a massive fort with granite walls having eight gates and 87 bastions spread upto 7 kms, in circumference over a span of 62 years. Golconda Fort, popularly known in Telgu as “Golla Konda”, which means “Shepherd’s Hill”, has an exotic story behind it. In 1143, on the rocky hill known as ‘Mangalavaram’, a shepherd boy came across an image and conveyed to the Kakatiya king, who was ruling at that time. The 10km long road from Golconda to outer Hyderabad was a fantastic market selling jewellery, diamonds, pearls and other gems, popular in all over the world.
Attractions within the Fort | Acoustics: One of the most interesting look of Golconda Fort is its system of acoustics. The sounds of hands clapped at the entry gate can be heard clearly at ‘Bala Hissar’, the highest point, a kilometre away, palaces, factories, water supply system and the famous ‘Rahban’ cannon, that was used during the last seize of Golconda by Aurangazeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.
Taramathi Gana (Song) and Premathi Nritya Mandir (Temple): You can see two separate pavilions in outside of Golconda Fort, built on a rocky prominence the Taramathi Gana Mandir and the Premathi Nritya Mandir, both the legendary sisters Taramathi and Premamathi resided. Both gave their performance on a circular dais atop a two-storied structure, the Kala Mandir, which was visible from the king’s durbar (king’s court) on top of the Golconda Fort.
Sound and Light Show at Golconda Fort: You can enjoy Golconda Fort with the sound and light, the show that brings the legend of Golconda to life. People gather to see and hear this show in the evening. The show has voice-over of Bollywood living legend Amitabh Bachchan. The show starts with a spectacular interplay of audio and visual effects. The show can be watched in English, Hindi and Telugu.
Winter – (November – February) 6:30pm,
Summer – (March – October) 7:00pm
Duration – 55 minutes
In English – Wednesday, Sunday
In Hindi – Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday
In Telugu – Thursday
Closed on – Mondays
Show Ticket – INR 45/-
Location: 2 km. from the Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
UniqueFeature: Many Tombs in One Place
Architecture: Mixture of Persian, Pathan and Hindu Forms
Timing: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Closed on Friday
About Qutub Shahi Tombs: The Qutub Shahi Tombs is situated 2 km. from the Golconda Fort, the most reliable evidence of the Qutub Shahi architectural traditions. These exquisite structures and every arch, dome minarets, columns and gallery surrounded by landscaped gardens. Amidst landscape gardens known as Ibrahim Bagh, there are seven tombs dedicated to the memory of the former king of Golconda popular as Qutub Shahi Tombs. All the Qutub Shahi kings except Abdul Hassan Tana Shah who died in captivity in Daulatabad are buried here. This is the only palace in the world where one can see so many tombs in one place.
Mixture of Persian, Pathan and Hindu forms: The Qutub Shahi Tombs is a perfect amalgamation of Persian, Pathan and Hindu forms, constructed in grey granite embellished with stucco ornamentation. The tombs form a large collection and stand on a raised platform. The tombs are domed structures built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches, each tomb are quadrangular and rise from 9 to 15 meter above the terrace. The smaller tombs galleries are in single storied while the larger tombs are two storied. The domes were originally made with blue and green tiles, of which only a few pieces remain now.
The Structure of Qutub Shahi Tombs:Qutub Shahi Tombs is surrounded by enchanting minarets at the corners. This magnificent tomb is one of the largest monuments with height of 42.5 m with a large dome and open 28.2 arches. The architect has judicially planned it on a double terrace, rising to a height of 6 metres from the ground level. The lower one is 60.8 mts. square supported by a facade of 28 open arches on each side and the upper terrace is 38.3 metres square. The tombs were furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. Built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches. The mausoleums of the Golconda Sultans are truly magnificent monuments that have stood the test of time and braved the elements. During the Qutub Shahi period, these tombs were held in such great pleasure that criminals who took refuge there were granted pardon. But after their reign, the tombs were neglected, till Sir Salar Jung III ordered their restoration in the early 19th century.
Department of Tourism conducts every year “Deccan Festival” for five days by organising programmes of internationally renowned artists. Also these make a good picnic spot and a lot of the recent movies are shot here.
Timing: 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.
Open: All days (Closed on Friday & National Holidays)
Entry Ticket: INR 150
Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat (4 Palaces), was once regarded as the center of Hyderabad, was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams entertained their official guests and royal visitors. Built over 200 years ago, Chowmahalla is renowned for its unique style and elegance. A synthesis of many architectural styles and influences, the Palace Complex has been meticulously restored.
History: While Nizam Salabhat Jung is credited with initiating the construction of the palace complex in 1750, it was Nizam Afzar-ud-Dawla Bahadur who ensured that it was completed between 1857 and 1869.
Extending from the Laad Bazaar on the north to the Aspan Chowk Road on the south, the palace originally covered 45 acres but regrettably only 12 acres remain.
The Chowmahalla complex which is a replica of the Shah’s Palace in Teheran, Iran today consists of two courtyards with elegant palaces, the grand Khilwat (the Durbar Hall), fountains and gardens.
The Paigah tombs, though a recent discovery, date back to the late eighteenth century and embody unparalleled grace and elegance in marble. Though these stunning tombs are strewn over 30-40 acres, tombs of the Paigahas who had married daughters of the Nizams and their spouses are confined to a two-acre site.
It was Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung who founded the Paigah nobility and rendered service to the second Nizam (1760 and 1803). The Nizam conferred on him the title of Shams-ul-umra, meaning the sun among the masses. Tegh Jung was buried in 1786 at the entrance of the complex, now known as Paiga tombs. An iron plaque at the entrance of the complex traces the Paigah lineage and eulogises the marble magnificence of the mausoleums. The Paigahs were also great patrons of arts, literature and sports and commanded the respect of the rulers and the people.
Built with unique lime and mortar in the Indo Saracenic architecture and delightfully decorated with flowers, famous jali work and have marble inlay work on them. The Paigah Tombs situated at Santoshnagar, 10 km from Charminar. Apart from the family of the nizam, the highest ranking nobles in princely Hyderabad were the Paigah nobles. “Paigah” is not a family name; it’s Farsi for “footstool.” An English equivalent might be “right-hand man,” though that phrase has a casual tone far removed from the refinements of the Hyderabadi court.
The Paigah tombs house the graves of several members of the Paigah families who were the primary nobility in the court of the Nizams of Hyderabad. In simple words, these tombs are works of art. The Paigahs were the only noble family of Hyderabad to be permitted by the Sultans to maintain a private army.
Location: Saroornagar, about 10 km. from Hyderabad City Centre
Timing: 9.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M.
Open: Daily (Except Fridays)
Attractions within Raymond Tomb: French Garden
About the Raymond Tomb: This tomb was made of black granite, conical in shape, about 60 m long, 30 m wide and 10 inches high is held in great veneration. You can explore from here, less than a kilometer, and a French garden where Raymond and his men were stationed. Traces of the military barracks may also still be seen here.
About the Person: A rare gesture of honour by the second Nizam Asaf Jahi towards the late Michel Joachim Marie Raymond (France, 1755-1798), a French mercenary, a military-commander-in-service and a close friend. He came to India and in 1786 joined the service of the ruling Nizam of Hyderabad as an ordinary soldier. He worked his way up rapidly, and when he died just twelve years later, in 1798, he was the commander of a 19,000-strong army. He was not only, held in high esteem by the Nizam, but also won the admiration of the common people. He was famous among the Hindus and Muslims as the Hindus called him Musa Ram and the Muslims called him Musa Rahim. Writes historian Malleson: “No European of mark who followed him in India, ever succeeded in gaining to such an extent the love, the esteem, the admiration of the natives of the country.”
Taramati Baradari was a sarai (a caravan station for traders and travellers) as part of Ibrahim Bagh, a Persian style garden built during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, the second Sultan of Golconda. The Baradari was constructed on the banks of the Musi River. Today, the region comes under the city limits of Hyderabad, India. The naming of sarai reigns to the Seventh Sultan of Golconda, Abdullah Qutb Shah who as an ode to his favorite courtesan, Taramati, is said to have named the sarai Taramati Baradari.
Fables: There are many romantic stories linking the then-Sultan with courtesan named Taramati.
One such story goes that during the reign of Abdullah Qutb Shah, he used to hear Taramati’s voice as she sung for travellers at the serai, while he sat two kilometres away at Golconda fort. Her melodious voice was carried by the breeze, reaching the prince’s ear at the fort.
Another fable tells of two ravishing dancing sisters, Taramati and Premamati, who danced on ropes tied between their pavilion and the balcony of the king and patron, Abdulla Qutub Shah.About half a mile north of the fort lays his grave amid a cluster of carved royal tombs. Here lie buried the Qutub Shahi kings and queens in what once their rose gardens. As a tribute to Taramati and Premamati, they both were buried in the royal cemetery of the Qutub Shahi kings.
Location: Hyderabad, 5 km. from Charminar
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Unique Feature: Jade collection
Visiting: Occasion basis
One of the finest palace in Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace, located in Falaknuma, 5km.from Charminar, built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Ulmara, the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad.
Falak-numa means “Like the Sky” or “the mirror of the Sky” and thus the name is. This palace is built in complete English architect designs by Sir Vicar, the foundation for the construction was laid on 3rd March 1884 and it took 9 years to complete the construction and interiors. It measures a total area of 93,971 square meters. There is complete usage of Italian marbles with rare blends of Tudor architects.
It was purchased by Nizam VI in 1897 and was used as a royal guesthouse has a commanding view of the entire city. It was sure that the Falaknuma palace was gifted to the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mehboob Ali Khan by the generous Nawab. Falaknuma houses a large collection of rare treasures collected by the Nizam including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The Jade collection of the Palace is considered to be unique in the world.
One of the highlight’s of the palace is the state reception room, whose ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded relief’s. The ballroom contains a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world. This apart the palace has as many as 220 lavishly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls. The palace has some of the finest treasures collected by the Nizam.
The famed dining hall of the palace could seat 100 guests on a single table. The furniture is also very aesthetic. The chairs are carved rosewood with green leather upholstery. The tableware was made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added. The ground floor of the palace houses the living quarters. The marbled staircase leads to the upper floor. It has carved balustrades which supports marble figures with candelabra at intervals. On the walls of the landing are excellent oil paintings of the Asaf Jahi family, past ministers and notable personages, the whole forming a very interesting historical picture gallery which adds greatly to the imposing effect of the staircase.
Since the palace was the private property of the Nizam family till very recently, visitors weren’t allowed. Occasionally, however, the venue is opened for public view. The Taj group has taken over the palace now, and is converted into a 5 star luxury hotel.
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Best Time to Visit: October to March
Asman Garh Palace is located in the historic city of Hyderabad which was designed and built by Sir Asman Jah, a noble belonging to the Paigah family and one time Prime Minister of Hyderabad State. The granite turrets and arched windows of Asman Garh stand atop a hill some distance ahead of the Hyderabad TV tower. The palace now houses an archaeological museum. Asman Garh Palace is influenced by the castles of Europe.
Location: The South east of Afzal Gunj Bridge near Dewandevdi.
Timing: 10:30 A.M. to 5.00 P.M.
Open: Daily (Except Friday)
Purani Haveli lies to the southeast of Afzal Gunj Bridge near Dewandevdi in Hyderabad. Purani Haveli is a U shaped complex with a single storied central building in European style, bordered by two double storied oblong wings.
Purani Haveli (lit. ‘Old Quarters’) was originally established and designated to be the residential quarters of Mir Momen, the Peshwa (Prime Minister) of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah in the late sixteenth century. It was acquired by Nizam III in the eighteenth century to renovate and designate it to be his son’s (Sikandar Jah’s) quarters. When Sikandar Jah decided to move to the Khilaurat complex, this place came to be known as Purani Haveli.
This architectural landmark of Hyderabad reflects the combination of 18th century European facades with traditional Indian courtyards. Two annexes are attached to the northern ends of the parallel wings. The 18th century European architecture is reflected in the main building which has many interesting pieces of antique furniture. One can see two vast courtyards surrounded by rooms and deep verandahs with semicircular European arches. It was built during the reign of the Asaf Jahis. Some rooms still have their tiled walls and mosaic flooring intact, and their multitude colours recall the past glory of the palace. A library and the Mukarram Jah Technical Institute form part of the complex. A museum with seventh Nizam’s collection of gifts is also seen.
Location: 35 km. from Hyderabad, Outskirts ofthe Twin Cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad
Timing: 9.30 A.M. to 3.30 P.M.
Dance and Stunts Performances: At 10.30 A.M. & 4.30 P.M. respectively
About Ramoji Film City: The world’s largest film production complex, Ramoji, is situated on the outskirts of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Located 35 km. from Hyderabad, it is spread over 2,000 acres of land studded with hills, vales and lakes, has few parallels as both a tourist attraction and major film-making facility.
Entertainment of the City: Ramoji Film City, owned by entrepreneur-cum-film producer Ramoji Rao. Exotic landscapes, alluring gardens ranging from Japanese to Tea gardens, temples, unique set creations transport the tourist onto virtual paradise, a feast for the eyes.
“A producer can walk in with a script and walk out with the canned film,” said media baron Ramoji Rao, the producer and director of this spectacular project. “The idea is to save time, energy and resources and focus on creative excellence, executional quality, economical schedules and meticulous planning.” The Film City gives a choice of numerous flexible locations, typically as well as spontaneous. Filmmaker can shoot in a picturesque Indian village, or recreate a street in Switzerland. Film maker can choreograph a song sequence in any of the gardens and later change the look of the Gardens/Fountains, the layout of the streets, the facades of the buildings in the streets, to give a totally different locale to suit the requirements so no one location will ever go out of style or suffer from repeated exposure.
The building was originally the Hyderabad State Town hall which is housed in white domed buildings. The architecture is a synthesis of Rajasthani and Persian styles. This structure was originally built in 1913 with annexes added in recent years. The citizens of Hyderabad raised money to build it to mark the 40th birthday of Nizam Mahboob Ali Khan in 1905. Situated on the left of the road leading to Lakdi-Ka-Pul from the Public Garden, a massive statue of Mahatma Ghandhi in a sitting position greets visitors at the entrance. Now it houses the 295 seat Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly.