Once the city of fabled princes, today's Hyderabad has palaces old and new, but it has also found fame as a high-tech hub with a prolific film industry. Shop the markets, soak up the atmosphere and dine like royalty.
1/6Filled with palaces and forts, Hyderabad is a bustling city with a royal past
2/6Constructed in 1591, the Charminar monument is Hyderabad’s most enduring symbol
3/6Take a 30-minute boat trip across the Hussain Sagar Lake to see Hyderabad’s 18-metre statue of Buddha
4/6For magnificent city views, especially at sunset, visit the Birla Mandir Temple on Hydrabad’s Kalapahad Mountain
5/6The enigmatic Golconda Fort is all that remains of a 14th century, diamond trading kingdom and one of Hyderbad’s most impressive sights
6/6Visit the Qutub Shahi Tombs, the resting place of Hyderabad’s ancient rulers and amongst the city’s oldest monuments
Filled with palaces and forts, Hyderabad is a bustling city with a royal past
Constructed in 1591, the Charminar monument is Hyderabad’s most enduring symbol
Take a 30-minute boat trip across the Hussain Sagar Lake to see Hyderabad’s 18-metre statue of Buddha
For magnificent city views, especially at sunset, visit the Birla Mandir Temple on Hydrabad’s Kalapahad Mountain
The enigmatic Golconda Fort is all that remains of a 14th century, diamond trading kingdom and one of Hyderbad’s most impressive sights
Visit the Qutub Shahi Tombs, the resting place of Hyderabad’s ancient rulers and amongst the city’s oldest monuments
Things to do
We've chosen the must-see highlights of this fantastic city.
We've chosen the must-see highlights of this fantastic city.
This magnificent Hindu temple, built on the hillock of Naubath Pahad, is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and built entirely in pure Rajasthani white marble – two thousand tonnes of it. The architecture is a blend of South Indian Rajasthani and Utkala styles, with shrines devoted to other deities. You can take photos, but there is a small charge for a permit; visitors are also reminded to remove their shoes before entering.
Adarsh Nagar (at the southern end of Hussain Sagar Lake)
Hyderabad's strong Islamic connections sauce the city's cuisine, a winning blend of Arab and Mughal influences best expressed in the spiced biryani rice. Try the city’s famous biryani at the Paradise Persis restaurant in the sprawling Paradise Food Court in Secunderabad – quite possibly the largest food venue in India, with floor after floor of dining delicacies.
Diamonds aren't Andhra Pradesh's only glittering gift to the world. This ancient market is the place to buy the city's lacquer bangles, which are famous across the Indian subcontinent and a great gift for female friends and family. Buy by the ten, and remember to haggle.
Languid weekend brunches have become a fad in India in recent years. Okra, within the Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre, serves the city's best brunch spread, with Andra Pradeshi specialities, Mediterranean dishes with an Indian twist – think spicy ragout sauces – and dangerously moreish milk desserts.
Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre, Tank Bund Road, Hyderabad
The first and only handmade wacky car museum in the world, this collection was established by Kanyaboyina Sudhakar, the Guinness World Record holder for making the largest tricycle in the world. Expect to see madcap motors alongside vintage vehicles.
Expect treatment befitting a Qutb king at this rooftop restaurant in the Banjara Hills, a suburb west of Hyderabad en route to Golconda. Enjoy fabulous margaritas, lily ponds, candlelit tables and dal zafraan – a rich tempered lentil dish with saffron that many contend is the subcontinent’s finest. Best of all, though, are the views across Hyderabad and, on a clear day, as far as Golconda Fort.
One of the largest IMAX 3D screens in the world, the Prasads IMAX theatre screens Tollywood films and Western blockbusters alike. Food courts and shopping fill up the time between showings, with Western fast food appearing alongside local favourites.
An artificial lake built in 1562, during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah, by damming the Musi River. Surrounding the lake are various parks, temples, statues and historical buildings, and it is one of the few walkable places in the city. At the centre of the lake stands a famous statue of the Buddha; catch a boat to the statue from Eat Street or Lumbini Park for a fabulous view, especially at sunset.
Whisky is star at this rooftop bar overlooking Hyderabad's Hussain Sagar Lake. Mull over a J&B rare or a peaty Laphroaig ten-year single malt, nibble on pepper chicken bites, or spicy paneer bites and drink in, too, the romantic nighttime view, across a silver-black lake.
8/F, Hyderabad Marriott Hotel & Convention Centre, Tank Bund Road
This museum is home to the famous wardrobe of Mahbub Ali Pasha, the sixth Nizam, who is said never to have worn the same thing twice. Supposedly the world's longest wardrobe, it occupies the entire length of one wing of the palace. Access is by a hand-operated lift, for an extra touch of "Jewel in the Crown" glamour.
Purani Haveli (behind Princess Durru Shehvar Children's & General Hospital)
More than a mere hotel bar, Mix is a hip, candlelit lounge offering plush sofas and Indian-themed cocktails – try the gin-laced spin on the nimbu pani, a classic Indian summer cooler. Enjoy relaxing evening libations to the soundtrack of the bar's live band, Jack and Jessica.
The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace, Raheja IT Park, HITEC City, Madhapur, Hyderabad
Crafts emporia are one of the highlights of shopping in India, offering cherry-picked crafts of guaranteed quality and provenance at a fixed price – good news for the haggling-averse. This is a fine example, an arts and craft village set amongst natural rock formations and waterfalls selling textiles, pottery and jewellery from across India.
Ramoji Film City, where record-breaking Tollywood flicks are filmed, is also a giant theme park. The world's largest film studio complex rolls over some 675 hectares on the outskirts of Hyderabad and features replicas of Delhi's Mughal gardens, Mysore's Brindavan Garden and the city’s own Golconda Fort. See musical shows, experience thrilling rides and dine at themed restaurants.
Andhra Pradesh is famed for its chilli-rich dishes and, of course, its Hyderabadi biryanis – the Nizam's take on this spiced rice dish, inspired by the luxurious dishes of the Mughal emperors. Sahib Sindh Sultan serves one of the city's best, though the kakori kebab, prawn malai and fish tikka are also excellent.
5/F, City Center, Road No. 1 & 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad