1. Ramoji Film City
This huge studio city produces hundreds of Tollywood (Telugu language) movies every year, and attracts fans of Bollywood and Tollywood in their droves every year (the early millions, to be precise!). It’s around 16 miles from the city center and is absolutely the best place to visit in Hyderabad if you want to learn about what makes India tick. The site opened in 1996 and has since become one of the country’s most loved tourist destinations for locals. It was founded by Indian media mogul Ramoji Rao, who still lives on site. Over the years Ramoji Film City has grown to become the largest movie production facility in the world. You can tour the city by bus, taking in the (fake) airport terminal complete with ticket counters and security gates, Princess Street which is lined with all kinds of international-looking houses, and incredibly realistic replicas of a small North Indian village. There’s also an exotic bird park and Sahas Adventure Park with paint-balling, quad bikes and zip lines.
Address: Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad,Telangana
Tickets: Ramoji Film City tours cost from Rs1,050 (Dh60) for children and Rs1,250 (Dh71) for adults
2. Golconda Fort
This is probably Hyderabad’s most dominating sight, mainly due to its spot on top of a 120m granite hill above the city. It was once the capital of the Qutb Shah dynasty in the 1500 and 1600s and has some stunning architectural features. You can hire a guide on site for around Rs600 (Dh34) for around 90 minutes. The tour will take you through the main citadel gate and into the main gardens. Make sure you also visit the Hindu Jagaamba Mahakali Temple, which is still in use today, and the durbur hall. There’s also a Golconda Fort sound and light show in English at 6.30pm November – February, and 7pm March – October. Tickets cost from Rs80 (Dh5) for adults and Rs60 (Dh3) for children.
Address: Ibrahim Bagh, Hyderabad
Charminar (often translated as ‘four pillars’ in English) monument is something of an icon in Hyderabad and one of the most popular places to visit for tourists and locals alike. It stands in the center of Hyderabad’s main market area which is something of a maze of narrow alleyways filled with shops and stalls. Hyderabad bangles are a particularly popular item to sell! The first floor of the monument is open to the public and offers good views of the Charminar neighborhood, and there’s a mosque on the second floor.
Address: Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
4. Makkah Masjid (Mecca Mosque)
The Makkah Masjid is one of Hyderabad’s oldest mosques and actually one of the largest in India. The story goes that Mohammed Quli Qutb Shahi, a ruler of the Qutb Shah dynasty, requested the bricks for the mosque be made from imported soil from Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the most holy Islamic site. The three main arched facades were carved from a complete single piece of granite and Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah himself laid the first foundation stone. During major festivals such as Eid, the mosque receives worshippers in their tens of thousands. Women are not permitted in the main prayer hall and must wear loose clothing and long sleeves to be allowed in at all. The mosque is open from around 4pm – 9pm, but be mindful of prayer times.
Address: Near Charminar, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
There are no fewer than 39 galleries in this museum, which is one of three national museums in the country. Much of the collection was once owned by Nawab Mir Yusuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, who died in 1949. One of the museum’s most famous collections is its collection of Qurans from various parts of the world. It also has an impressive clock collection including Grandfather clocks from across Europe and a musical clock bought by Salar Jung III from the famous English clockmakers and jewelers Cooke and Kelvey.
Address: Salar Jung Road, near Minar Function Hall, Darulshifa, Hyderabad
Entry: Entry costs Rs20 for Indian nationals and Rs500 for non-nationals. Open Saturday through Wednesday, 10am – 5pm
This five star hotel is easily one of the fanciest in all of India. It was designed by an English architect and built in 1884 with no expense spared. Many of the original features remain – including embossed leather wallpaper, ceiling frescos, and beautiful stained-glass windows. The library is a replica of one in England’s Windsor Castle with the same carved walnut roof. If you don’t fancy splashing out and staying the night (prices are often upwards of around Dh3,000 per night) treat yourself to a High Tea on the Jade Terrace for around Rs12,000 (Dh688) plus taxes for two people.
Address: Engine Bowli, Fatima Nagar, Falaknuma, Hyderabad
7. Laad Bazaar
This is considered the place to go to to buy the famous Hyderabad bangles. Laad means lacquer and the bangles are one of the staples of Hyderabad shopping. They come in every color and design imaginable, and many of them are decorated with artificial diamonds and other precious stones. The Laad Bazaar (also known as the Choodi Bazaar) is a 1km strip that leads off the Charminar, and virtually every shop or stall will sell the bangles, as well as other items such as silverware, saris, and fabric.
Address: Laad Bazar Road, Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
8. Qutb Shahi Tombs
Two kilometers from Golconda Fort you’ll find 21 incredible domed tombs, the largest of which holds the body of Mohammed Quli, the founder of the city of Hyderabad, which is an impressive 42m tall. All but one of the eight Qutb Shahi rulers were buried in tombs here, as well as a few others associated with them who were held in high esteem (doctors, for example). There’s a small exhibition on site by the entrance which explains more about the individual tombs.
Address: Qutub Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad
Entry: Entry costs Rs15 (Dh1) for Indian nationals and Rs100 (Dh6) for non-Indian nationals. It is open Saturday through Thursday 9.30am – 5.30pm
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Published December 2017. Information correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change and/or availability.