For other places with the same name, see Hyderabad (disambiguation).

Hyderabad, (Telugu: హైదరాబాదు, Urdu: حیدرآباد Haidarābād, Hindi: हैदराबाद Haidarābād), also known as the Pearl City, is the capital of Telangana in Southern India. Secunderabad, 8 km away, is its twin city. Though at one point the twins were two different cities, relentless urbanisation has meant that they are now conjoined into one metropolis, called Greater Hyderabad.

Charminar is icon of Hyderabad
The view from the Charminar

Located on the hot and dry Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad is a city replete with history and tradition, It now competes with Bangalore and Chennai for the crown of India's IT capital; Microsoft and Google have their India headquarters here.

Districts edit

Administratively, Hyderabad is divided into six zones - North, North-East, South, East, West and Central. This article follows these zones, except that the Old City has an article of its own (separate from the South Zone). Locals rarely refer to these zones, but rather to one of dozens of neighbourhoods of which the city is made up.

Hyderabad regions - Color-coded map
  West Hyderabad (Cyberabad, HITEC City, Gachibowli, Financial District)
A technology hub. Home to HITEC City, where Microsoft, Oracle, Infosys, and many other IT and BPO (business process outsourcing) firms are located. The crowd here is cosmopolitan, the restaurants and bars hipper, and the attractions worth seeing are newer.
  Central Hyderabad (New City)
The modern city centre, between Musi River and Hussain Sagar. This area developed after Independence to house the government offices of the capital of the new state. The lake and its surroundings have been beautified in the last two decades. You will find some nice amusement parks, promenades here. This district has crowded bazaars for shopping. It also has some of the upscale neighbourhoods of the city. The Golconda Fort is also in this district, as is the vast KBR Park.
  North Hyderabad (Secunderabad)
North of the Hussain Sagar. Secunderabad is a cantonment town. The roads are better maintained and broader. It has nice parks, open spaces like the parade ground, and some excellent restaurants. North Hyderabad is something of an industrial and suburban zone, with pharmaceutical factories, and middle-class housing. Other than the occasional park and the odd restaurant, it is most visited for the resorts on the outskirts of the city.
  Old City
The Old City lies south of the Musi River. Most historical attractions, including the Charminar, lie in this district. It is also one of the most crowded areas of India, where, in some ways time has stood still since around 1800 while in other ways it has taken a few awkward steps forward. The crowded bylanes of the Old City are great areas to shop for bangles, henna, clothes or pearls.
  South Hyderabad
The areas south of the Musi River, excluding the Old City.
  East Hyderabad
Home to Osmania University, the eastern part of Hyderabad has well developed Industrial Areas, but there is little of interest to the visitor

Understand edit

If you are visiting Hyderabad on business, it is easy to miss the 400-year-old Hyderabad. The city that immediately hits the eye is a sprawling metropolis of shopping malls and office buildings with glass facades.

The magnificent "old city" that was once the seat of the Nizam, the ruler of the largest and the most opulent "princely state", and the twin city of Secunderabad where the British maintained a cantonment to keep the army within striking distance of the Nizam can be seen only if you take the time out to see them.

Hyderabad's many epithets include the City of Pearls, the City of Nawabs, the Biryani City and, because of its high-tech industries, Cyberabad.

History edit

The Balahisar Baradari atop the Golconda Fort

In the 10th century, the kings of the Kakatiya dynasty built the fortress of Golconda about 8 km to the west of what is now old city. Over the next few centuries, the fort became a major centre of diamond trade fed by the mines of Kollur, so much so that the word "Golconda" became synonymous with great wealth. The fort changed hands many times before it came under the control of Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk in 1463. He had quelled rebellion in the Telangana region and was appointed the subedar, or administrator of the region by the Bahmani sultan as a result. By 1518, he had become independent from the sultan, declared himself the Sultan under the name "Quli Qutb Shah" and established the Qutb Shahi dynasty. His son Ibrahim constructed the Hussain Sagar Lake in 1563, and in 1589, his grandson Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah moved his capital from the fort to present-day Old City due to water shortages at the old location. In 1591, he ordered the construction of the Charminar, reportedly in gratitude to Allah for stopping a plague epidemic before it could do too much damage.

The name "Hyderabad" reportedly had its origins in an affair between Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah and a local Telugu courtesan named Bhagmati. He named the city Bhagyanagar after her, and after she converted to Islam and took on the name of "Hyder Mahal", he named the city Hyderabad. Hyderabad was built on a grid plan with help from Iranian architects. French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier favourably compared Hyderabad to Orleans.

The Qutb Shahi dynasty lasted till 1687, when the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb defeated the sultanate and took over Hyderabad. He appointed a governor to rule the region and granted him the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk. However, Mughal rule was short-lived and in 1724, the Nizam Asaf Jah I gained independence from a declining Mughal empire. Legend has it that while on a hunting expedition, he met a holy man who offered him some kulchas (flatbreads) and asked him to eat as much as he could. Asaf Jah ate only seven, and the holy man prophesied that his dynasty would last for seven generations. Sure enough, the seventh ruler in the dynasty was the last. In honour of the legend, the flag of the Nizams featured a kulcha.

Around 1763, Asif Jah II, defeated by the Marathas and threatened by Tipu Sultan of Mysore, entered into a subsidiary alliance with a British. Hyderabad state became a protectorate of the British. The British maintained their army in nearby Secunderabad to protect the Nizam and to ensure that he did not get up to any mischief. Under the Nizam, the Hyderabad state was the largest princely state in the country, and the only one that issued its own currency. In the 1930s Time magazine rated the Nizam the richest man in the world. In 1947, India gained independence. The seventh Nizam was reluctant to cede his principality to the new state, preferring Pakistan instead. India sent in its troops and the holy man's prophecy was fulfilled on 17 September 1948 when the state of Hyderabad was merged with India.

In 1956, Telugu-speaking areas, which used to be split between the states of Hyderabad and Madras, were consolidated into the state of Andhra Pradesh with the city of Hyderabad as its capital. The new capital's administrative buildings were constructed in the "new city", between the "old city" (as the Nizam's city came to be called) and Secunderabad. In 2014, in response to a long-standing demand, the region of Telangana which, roughly speaking, was the Telugu-speaking part of the Nizam's old dominion, was carved out of Andhra Pradesh. Telangana retained Hyderabad as its capital while in 2016-7 the capital of Andhra Pradesh was moved to Amaravati.

Culture and attitudes edit

In many senses, Hyderabad is the meeting ground between North and South India. The city has a culture that is distinct from the rest of Telangana, showing Islamic influences and a courtly presence imparted from its period as the capital of the Nizamate. This is more evident in the old city. The new city resembles many provincial state capitals in India. Secunderabad is more cosmopolitan, as the cantonment area is in this part of the city.

Due to an influx of young men and women from various parts of the country, Hyderabad's culture and attitudes have taken a turn towards "modernity". However, the city is still a deeply conservative place, so dress appropriately, especially in the old city.

Orientation edit

Two important water bodies, the Musi River and the Hussain Sagar Lake, define Hyderabad's geography. They also influenced the city's history, as the availability of Musi's water was the reason the city was built where it was.

The Musi River flows from the west to the east. The Old City was established on the south bank of Hyderabad in the 16th century. The crowded bylanes of Old City are steeped in history and home to many of the monuments that hark back to the glory days of the Nizam. The Hussain Sagar Lake, built in 1563, is an artificial lake fed by the Musi River. Secunderabad, a few kilometres north of Hussain Sagar, is an army base that was established by the British. It continues to serve that function today for the Indian Army. The region between the Musi and Hussain Sagar Lake is the new city centre, constructed after independence. The western part of the city is the newest one. It contains the HITEC City, built in the 1990s to house the IT industry.

Climate edit

Hyderabad has a tropical climate. The best time to visit the city is from mid-November to mid-February. Temperatures are mild with abundant sunshine during this time and average temperatures range from a low of 15°C (59°F) to a high of 29°C (85°F).

March to June is hot and dry with occasional thunderstorms. Highs can reach 45°C (113°F) or more and a lack of air-conditioning can make it feel very uncomfortable. July, August, September and October can be quite warm and humid. Low pressure systems from the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon season can cause heavy rain for days.

Talk edit

Telugu is the most widely spoken language. A variant of Urdu called Deccani or Dakhani, which originated in the courts and military encampments of the Islamic rulers of the Deccan, is spoken by Muslim residents and is especially prominent in the Old City and surrounding areas. In the newer parts of the city, you are more likely to hear Hindi than Urdu. English is also widely understood, if somewhat less widely spoken. You can manage with just English if you are staying at an upscale hotel and are being driven around by a hired driver. English signs are common.

Get in edit

By plane edit

1 Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD IATA), Shamshabad, Ranga Reddy (22 km (14 mi) from the city), +91-40-66546370, . The sleek and well-organised airport is one of the best in India. It has one integrated terminal (although passengers departing on international flights must now complete security, immigration and customs at the interim international terminal first, then go to the main terminal, with a free shuttle and premium check-in available) as well as a special Hajj terminal.    

As you would expect from a major international airport, there is good domestic as well as international connectivity from many locations. It is far from the city, and with the exception of Novotel, there aren't any good hotels close by. Road connectivity to the city is excellent, though. The Nehru Outer Ring Road Expressway connects to the airport - take exit 16. The P V Narasimha Rao Expressway connects the airport with Mehdipattnam in South Hyderabad.

There are multiple options to get into the city.

The Pushpak - Airport Liner[dead link], an air-conditioned bus service operated by the Telangana government, goes to various designated points - Secunderabad (Jubilee Bus Station), Miyapur, BHEL and the Mahatma Gandhi Bus terminal (Imlibun) near Charminar. These routes cover most major areas of the city. The airport website has detailed information about pickup and stop points, along with timings. Tickets cost between ₹106 and ₹265 depending on the bus stop. The frequency of the buses is 10-40 minutes depending on time of the day and route.

Meru and Sky cabs are the two metered cab services approved by the airport @ ₹20/km. You can book your rides at counters in the airport departure area and they are available just after exiting the terminal building. The two major app-based ride-hailing services, Ola and Uber, are also available. You can book your ride using the app at the baggage carousel, walk into the designated area where the cabs are waiting and get into any that is available.

There is a pre-paid taxi counter operated by the Hyderabad Traffic Police. That is also a good option. Another pre-paid option, available only for women, is the She Cab, a government service that features cabs driven only by women drivers. You can avail yourself of this service as long as at least one of the passengers is a woman. Beware of taxi soliciting touts at the airport greeting area; they will try to charge exorbitant rates.

There are other counters where you can hire a taxi. These may be on the more expensive side, but the cars will be more luxurious.

By train edit

See also: Rail travel in India

Secunderabad in Hyderabad is the headquarters of the South Central Railway (SCR) zone of the Indian Railways. It is an important junction with connectivity to many parts of India.

There are three major railway stations serving the twin cities: 2 Hyderabad [HYB] (Deccan, Nampally).    , 3 Secunderabad Junction [SC].    , and 4 Kacheguda [KCG].     and a minor station at Begumpet. Note that as these stations are on different routes, the train you are taking will start or end at only one of them, so you won't have a choice regarding which station to alight at or embark from.

Destinations include:

From these major railway stations, you can easily get connected buses or taxis which will take you to the destination of your choice. There are no interchanges to transfer to the MMTS or metro lines, however.

By car edit

Hyderabad lies on the North-South Corridor, the national highway NH44 that runs from Srinagar to Kochi. This highway is excellent, and will take you to Bangalore, 560 km away, in hours. It is 752 km from Chennai (using highways NH65 and NH16) and 800 km from Mumbai (NH65 till Pune and the expressway to Mumbai).

By bus edit

Hyderabad is well-connected to all parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, most parts of southern India, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Connectivity to some cities of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh is also available. It is served by the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) run by the Telangana government, government bus services of neighbouring states, and multiple private services. There are two major bus terminals:

  • 5 MGBS Bus Station (Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station or Imliban or Gowliguda Bus-Station), +91 40 24614406, +91 99 59226257 (inquiry counter), +91 40 24613955 (ticket reservation office), toll-free: +91 1 800 200 4599 (24/7 Customer Support). With 84 bus bays side-by-side, this large bus station is a local landmark.
  • 6 JBS (Jubilee Bus Station), +91 40 27802203. In Secunderabad. TSRTC runs direct air-conditioned coaches to Mumbai, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Chennai.

Private bus services which provide decent to excellent services to major cities are Orange Travels, Kaveri Travels and many more. They can be easily found using online services like Redbus Myticketbuddy[dead link] Railyatri who also provide details of other services and amenities provided. The advantage with private services is that they may serve cities that government bus services do not. Secondly, they provide pick-up and drops from many locations all over the city, unlike government services that start from and end at designated bus terminals only. Important private travel hubs are KPHB Colony, Lakdi-Ka-Pool, Paradise centre in Secunderabad and Dilsukhnagar. .

Get around edit

Hyderabad's public transport options have been increasing over the years. It has an overcrowded bus network, and a rudimentary local train network. In the past 5 years, it has got its own elevated metro rail service that provides fast and cheap connectivity to some areas.

The ubiquitous yellow and black auto-rickshaws have now been supplemented by the app-based taxi services that provide fairly good service all over the city. Driving yourself around the city may be an excellent option or a terrible choice depending on which areas you want to go to, and how comfortable you are with other people driving like utter lunatics.

By metro edit

Hyderabad Metro

The Hyderabad Metro (HMR).     rail system opened in November 2017. For the areas it does serve, the metro is a fast, clean and efficient mode of travel, better than driving or taking a cab.

Trains run at every 4 minutes from early morning to late in the night, although as of October 2020, due to COVID conditions, the timings are 07:00-21:00.

The trains run on an elevated corridor. Ticketing and platforms are above ground level. Lifts from street level are available at all stations. Many stations have escalators as well. You can buy single journey tickets or reloadable cards. Ticket vending machines are available but may not work reliably.

Parking is available in most stations, but car parking is likely to be inadequate during rush hours. Bike parking is more available. A couple of stations have shopping malls with adequate parking areas attached to them. The metro has a tie-up with Ola, which has installed kiosks at all stations to easily order a cab to get you to your destination.

Ticket prices start from ₹10, while ₹60 will take you from one end of the city to another.

Signage at the stations and the trains is quite good and is available in all three languages including English. Announcements in the trains are clear and helpful, and overall, the travel experience is a pleasant one.

The metro has three lines: Red, Blue and Green connecting 57 stations.

  • The Red Line starts from Miyapur in North Hyderabad, goes via Central and Old City and terminates at L B Nagar in East Hyderabad.
  • The Blue Line supports West Hyderabad, Secunderabad and East Hyderabad. It starts at Raidurg at HITEC City, and ends at Nagole.
  • The Green Line connects Secunderabad and the Old City, starting at Jubilee Bus Station and terminates at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS).

Ameerpet, Parade Ground and MGBS are the interchanges where easy transfers between lines are available.

By train edit

The Multi-Modal Transport System, or MMTS, is the result of Hyderabad's earlier attempt to set up a local-train network. It serves only a few places in Hyderabad. The peak frequency is about every 10 minutes and the frequency is much less during off-peak hours and on Sundays (see schedule). It is a fast way of travel to the few stations it covers, and the cheapest option as well. You are advised to take the first class if you don't fancy travelling in packed trains. Daily, monthly and quarterly passes are also available at the MMTS stations.

By bus edit

Hyderabad has good local bus connectivity run by TSRTC. Most buses start at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Terminus more commonly known as Imlibun. Apart from normal local buses, you have a choice of Metro Express and Metro Deluxe aka Veera. Local buses tend to get extremely overcrowded and traveling on the footboard of a bus is very common.

The routes displayed on buses are normally shown in at least two languages, one of which is English. The best way to get to a location by bus would be to get to a bus stop and ask people waiting there. You could also get into a bus going in your direction and ask the conductor for help.

  • 1 Dilsukhnagar Bus Depot, Santhoshi Maatha Temple Rd, Krishna Nagar, Dilsukhnagar.
  • 2 Koti Bus Depot, Turrebaz Khan Rd, Esamiya Bazaar.

By autorickshaw edit


Autorickshaws in Hyderabad should be metered, though it can be difficult to find an auto-rickshaw driver who ever agrees to a metered fare. You will have to negotiate a fare with the driver before your journey. The traffic police can be helpful and will help engage an Auto with metered fare. Keep extra change with you since most of the auto drivers will claim that they don't have change, even if they have. If you have a choice opt for a prepaid auto which are available at some places. The app-based taxi services, Ola and Uber, also have the option of calling for an auto. You can try your luck with them, but in general, they aren't an improvement over hailing the autos off the street.

Autos can carry a maximum of 3 passengers excluding the driver, but it is common to find them being overloaded to carry up to six passengers. The minimum fare is ₹20 which covers the first 1.6 km. Each additional km is another ₹11. There are also shared 8 seater Maxi Vans available to and from the suburbs to a main location of the city. Fares are mostly ₹2 more than bus fares, but are more comfortable and fast for short distances up to 5 km. Fix the fare before you step in.

Sometimes, auto drivers act as touts for tourist shops, and may want you to check out pearl shops in exchange for a lower fare. They are okay if you don't buy anything from these shops as long as you visit for 10 minutes. However, the pearl shops are notorious for persuasive sales tactics and they won't let you out easily. So pay the complete fare to auto drivers instead of being diverted to one.

Auto drivers get some per cent of the entry fees (around ₹10) if they take you to the places like Chow Mahalla or Salarjung museum for free. If you are around these areas get into some auto instead of walking down and ask them to drop you there.

By taxi edit

Taxis cannot be hailed off the street, but using the two major mobile app based providers, Ola or Uber, comes close. Coverage and availability is good. The apps do a decent job of showing cab availability and your expected wait time. Relying on just these two, keeping your schedule flexible and ordering the cabs when you need them is a feasible way of travelling around Hyderabad as long as you are prepared for the occasional frustration. During peak hours, you may have to deal with surge pricing, drivers cancelling on you and long wait times. You can also schedule your ride with them, and you are advised to do so if you have a fight or bus to catch.

If you want more certainty, you can hire a car with a driver who will stay with you for a specified period. There are many options to choose from, and many of these listed operators also offer short term flexible rides. Check their websites or call their call centres.

By car edit

Hyderabad has an underdeveloped road system, leading to traffic jams during rush hours. The 160-km-long Nehru Outer Ring Road expressway, commonly called the ORR, circles the city, and may be faster than driving straight through the city. The P V Narasimha Rao Expressway, fully elevated, serves South Hyderabad and the airport and is a great way of bypassing the crowded Old City. There is also an Inner Ring Road connecting Central, South and East Hyderabad. These roads are helping take some pressure of NH65 and NH44 that, in addition to being national highways, also happen to serve as the arterial roads of the city. Several modern flyovers now link the arterial roads.

Like elsewhere in India, driving is "exciting" in Hyderabad. You find cycles, motor cycles, rickshaws, hand carts, autos, share autos, mini trucks, buses and vestibule buses jostling along. There are long stretches of roads passing through thickly populated areas that have no median breaks, so vehicles, including motorbikes and cars, simply drive on the wrong side of the road.

Most self-drive car rental companies such as Zoomcar, Myles and Revv serve Hyderabad.

On foot edit

Hyderabad is not a walkable city. It lacks good quality footpaths. The ones that exist are encroached upon by hawkers, shops, garbage or by motorcyclists trying to beat the traffic. As in any other Indian city, crossing the road is a nightmare. An urban renewal initiative aimed at improving its infrastructure has been in progress for a few years. The good news is that some attention is being paid to construction of footpaths and foot over bridges. This is especially true around metro stations (and note that metro stations can be used to cross the road).

The bad news is that this has not solved the problem of encroachment, and the ongoing construction has made things worse in the process of making it better. The exceptions to the rule of poor quality pavements are the upscale areas like Banjara Hills, where walking is enjoyable. That said, the weather in Hyderabad makes walking a pleasant experience outside of the torrid summer months.

The Old City is composed of a maze of disorienting alleyways that expand outward from the Charminar. Getting lost in the markets (where you can buy anything from hand-sequined saris to freshly slaughtered goats) and alleyways in the Old City can make for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. The famous Chudi Bazaar (Lad Bazaar) across from the Charminar is a chaotic tumble of goods, people, animals and vehicles, and is navigated quickly on foot. The Chowmahalla palace and the Mecca Masjid are easily accessed from the Charminar. Necklace Road, Sultan Bazar (Koti) and Abids are worth taking some time to wander around.

See edit

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles
Sanjeevaiah Park, next to Hussain Sagar Lake features the tallest flag of India

As you would expect from a city with a rich heritage, Hyderabad has many historical monuments, but there is much more to see. While the specific attractions are on the district pages, here is a quick rundown of attractions to visit and where they are located:

Monuments edit

By Indian standards, Hyderabad's monuments are not very old, which means that they are better preserved. Many of the attractions including the iconic Char Minar are in Old City and the surrounding southern Hyderabad, albeit the even older Golconda fort is in central Hyderabad. In central Hyderabad, you find some of the major attractions built after independence, such as the Buddha Statue located on an island in the midst of the Hussain Sagar Lake, and the Birla Temple.

Museums and galleries edit

Hyderabad offers a feast for history buffs. It has many museums and palaces displaying historical objects collected by the Nizams or their aristocrats, the most recognizable among them being the Salar Jung Museum. The Chowmahalla and the Falak Numa palaces, both under private ownership, have artefacts, photographs and memorabilia from the times of the Nizams, and there is a Nizam's museum as well. All of these are in Old City.

The Banjara Hills area has some art galleries including the State Gallery of Art.

Lakes edit

There are quite a few artificial lakes and water bodies in and around Hyderabad, built over the past few centuries to alleviate the water shortage. Hussain Sagar, located as it is in the centre of the city, is a major waterfront attraction, surrounded by parks, statues and monuments. Durgam Cheruvu which opened in 2019, is a natural lake and worth a visit. Osman Sagar and Mir Alam tank are also worth a mention. There are many others in and around the city in varying states of upkeep.

Parks edit

Hyderabad certainly does not lack green spaces. The Nehru Zoological Park in southern Hyderabad has a decent collection of animals and birds. The Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park (KBR Park) spread over 1.6 sq km between Jubilee and Banjara hills serves as a green lung to the city, with a wide variety of flora and fauna. Around Hussain Sagar Lake you will find many gardens and amusement parks, the largest among them being NTR Gardens and Sanjeevaiah Park. Around Hi tec city, Botanical Gardens, Biodiversity Park and Shilparamam are worth visiting.

Ramoji Film City edit

Ramoji Film City near Hyderabad is a destination that does not easily fit into any of the other categories. The world's largest film studio and also a theme park modelled on Universal Studios. Many Telugu and Hindi films are produced here. Tourists can tour the studios or enjoy the many attractions and rides. There are two hotels if you are inclined to stay. No trip to Hyderabad is complete without a visit to nearby Ramoji, and there are many who visit it only to make a trip here.

Do edit

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles
Bungee Trampoline at NTR Park

Many resorts and amusement parks offer adventure sports, watersports and other rides. While some are located within the city, most are found on the outskirts.

  • Heritage walk, Char Minar. 07:00-09:00 every Su and 2nd Sa. They are organized by the AP tourism department and led by a knowledgeable guide and Tourist Police. There are several types of walks: one that ends at Chowmohalla palace, and another that ends at Badshahi Ashoorkhana. Bonus: breakfast served too. It's probably better to call beforehand and confirm which walk is operating. Ticket price is ₹50 per head and can be bought at Char Minar on the spot.
  • Friends of Snakes Society, +91 83 74233366-77-88. For reptile conservation work and field trips.

Learn edit

Buy edit

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles

Supermarkets in Hyderabad include Spencer's, Big Bazaar[dead link], Heritage Fresh, Ikea [1], Metro Cash & Carry, Reliance Fresh, D Mart, Monarch Ergo[dead link] Ratnadeep, Ushodaya and others. Most of them have multiple locations.

Eat edit

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles
This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget < ₹250
Mid-range ₹250-750
Splurge > ₹750

No visit to Hyderabad would be complete without sampling its unique cuisine, a rich blend of royal Mughlai flavours, Nizams special, and spice-up culinary traditions of South India such as: Hyderabadi biryani, pathar-ka-ghosht, nahari, haleem, double-ka-meetha, khubani-ka-meetha, seviyon-ka-meetha and kheer.

A popular dish of Hyderabad is biryani. It is prepared with a blending of Mughal kitchen and the style of cooking practised by the Nizams. Hyderabadi biryani has a distinct aroma. Garnished with pudina, fried onion & boiled eggs. Mostly it is served with dahi-ki-chutney and mirchi-ka-salan. Biryani was traditionally made with goat meat, but in modern times it has many variants like lamb biryani, chicken biryani, biryani khaam, biryani zard or zafrani or the most exotic of all joban malti biryani in which mutton, partridges and quails were cooked with rice.

Hyderabadi Biryani (left) and other dishes (right)
Osmania biscuits from Hyderabad

There are many stories about biryani. One of them says, in 1398 legend Turk-Mongol conqueror Timur brought a pot full of rice to feed this army.

Culinary delicacies of Hyderabad include:

  • Hyderabadi dum biryani. Dum refers to the baking process and basmati rice and meat or vegetables are mixed in a pot and heated for a long time. During the Nizam's time, the biryani was made with goat carefully cooked with rice.
  • Double Ka Meetha. A dessert made from bread, milk and dry fruits.
  • Falooda. A favourite drink of Hyderabad.
  • Gosht. Made from a buck/billy/young goat, and is associated with the Hyderabadi cuisine. Hyderabadis prize the meat of a male goat.
  • Hyderabadi Haleem. A dish which is available only in the month of Ramadaan (Ramzan).
  • Irani chai. This is the tea of Hyderabad, available at any of the ubiquitous "Chai" shops. Although, not all of them have the best hygiene and it is best to go with a local. The crowd at the stalls is composed mainly of blue collared workers and college students so expect a noisy environment with conversational topics that range from movies to politics.
  • Kachchi gosht ki biriyani, of Hyderabad, where raw meat is stir fried with spices (masala) for a couple of minutes and then covered with rice and put on dum. Today, biryani is also made using vegetables, chicken, seafood and beef. The beef biryani is known as Kalyani Biryani, available at many small eateries in the city. Although any Irani cafe might serve this delectable dish, there are a few places better known for tasteful food than their hygiene.
  • Khubani ka meetha. Hyderabad's preferred dessert sweet. It is made from apricots boiled in sugar syrup till they achieve a thick consistency. It looks similar to, but tastes different from gajar ka halwa (carrot halwa). It is often topped with ice-cream or cream.
  • Mirchi ka salan. Served with spicy chili sauce, is another dish that serves as a tasty accompaniment to any rice dish.
  • Osmania biscuits. Drinking Irani chai is incomplete without Osmania biscuits. It is a traditional Hyderabadi treat made from Kesar strands, milk, flour, butter, sugar and salt.

Street food in Hyderabad is better than most other cities in India and it is cheap.

Restaurants edit

There has been an explosion in the number of restaurants in Hyderabad, fuelled by demand from young professionals with money to spend. Quality and variety of food, however, has not kept pace. There is a disproportionately large number of restaurants that aspire to be called "fine-dining" restaurants, but the food they serve is usually indifferent. In general, keep away from restaurants that call themselves "multi-cuisine" or if you see multiple cuisines on the menu, as the chances are that they are attempting to serve every kind of palate and will not satisfy any.

The older areas of Hyderabad are better places to find good and cheap food. Places close to Hi-tech city, such as Madhapur and Kondapur, tend to have expensive and bad food, while in Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills you will find restaurants that are expensive, but which sometimes serve good food. Those misled by the fact that Hyderabad is in South India and expecting South Indian food may be disappointed. While there are excellent South Indian restaurants in some of the older areas like Koti and Abids, the average South Indian food served here is quite bad.

Two of the biggest names in Hyderabad's restaurant business are Ohri's and the BJN Group. It will seem as if every second restaurant in the city is run by either one or the other. BJN generally runs upscale restaurants, while Ohri's runs both upscale and mid-range restaurants. It also runs numerous fast food places all over the city, including at Prasad's Imax, Banjara Hills, Somajiguda, EatStreet, Hyderabad Central & Basheer Bagh.

Budget edit

  • Bowl O'China. This is a chain restaurant started by the same people who run Hyderabad House. Has multiple locations in the city. Average Indian Chinese food. ₹200.
  • Hyderabad House, Multiple locations. This is a chain of restaurants, serving Hyderabadi style food all over the city. There are also outlets that comprise just a takeaway counter. Try the Lukhmi. Vegetarians will have few choices. ₹200.    
  • Minerva Coffee Shop. Bit of a local institution, serving tasty vegetarian South and North Indian snacks and food. has 4 locations. ₹150.
  • New Astoria Restaurant, 1-8-563/2, Surya Mukhi Complex, RTC X Rd's, +91 40 2766 7115, +91 40 6662 5520.
  • Raghu pan shop (opposite Aramghar X Roads), +91 9032167719. Popular for Calcutta menakshi and Meetha Pan, available all the time during work hours.
  • Sanman Hotel, Tarnaka flyover (20 minute walk from Sitafalmandi railway station.). Cheap. For take away, ask at the parcel counter. ₹30 Masala Dosa, ₹35 Vegetarian Biryani.
  • Sandarshini. Delicious South Indian dishes. Had over 5 locations
  • Shadaab, Madina Building, +91 40 2313 4446. Famous for its Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani and Jabda Gosht available only in the morning, served for breakfast.
  • Best Western Ashoka, Four Square Restaurant, +91 7306000222, Famous for Fine dining, coffee shop and SYNC Resto Bar
  • Bawarchi Restaurant, Plot no. 44, RTC crossroad, Chikkadpally, New Nallakunta, +91 40 2760 5308. Famous for its variety of non-veg biryanis ₹100 for mini chicken and mutton biryani.

Mid-range edit

  • Chung Hua. Daily 11:30-15:30, 19:00-22:30. Try out the Thai varieties, nice, cosy place. Has 2 locations ₹300.
  • Wang's Kitchen. Daily 12:30-15:30, 19:00-23:30. An upmarket Chinese restaurant, has two locations ₹500.
  • Paradise Food Court (Paradise Biryani), +91 40 4001 8888, . Daily 11:00-23:00. Popular for biryani. Has 13 locations. ₹600 for a decent meal with side dish.

Bakeries, cafes, sweet shops and fast food edit

Hyderabad has a large number of outlets described as bakeries. These are primarily takeaway places, where one can buy sandwiches, burgers and puffs to go (called parcel in local parlance.) Usually, there are a few chairs and tables thrown in as an afterthought.

Many Western chains have set up shop in the posh areas of Hyderabad. Among these are Texas Chicken, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Subway. Most of these have multiple outlets, and all of them have Indianised their fare to varying extents. The Indian pizza chain Pizza Corner also has many outlets. Barista, Cafe Coffee Day[dead link] and Java Green[dead link] outlets are good places to have coffee and conversations.

  • Deli 9. Daily 09:30-22:30. Bakery and cafe. Cakes, pastries, quiches and puffs. 2 locations. ₹200.
  • Pulla Reddy Sweets, is a chain of sweet shops. The outlets are found all over Hyderabad and are so popular that it has spawned imitators who copy the distinctive yellow signs and choose some variation of "Reddy" (a common last name in Andhra Pradesh) as the name.
  • Nimrah Cafe & Bakery, Beside Mecca Masjid, Charminar, Hyderabad, Telangana, +91 98480 89343. Daily 04:00 -23:00. This bakery and cafe especially known for their Irani chai and Osmania biscuits.
  • Vellanki Foods, +91 9121222301, . Daily 10:00-21:00. This sweet and savoury shop keeps the traditional Telugu foods alive. Has 4 locations.
  • PriyaFoods, +91 4023597777, . Daily 10:00-21:00. Priyafoods is an online platform that provides customers with a wide range of high-quality pickles, spices, masalas, and instant mixes.

Drink edit

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles

There is plenty to do at night in Hyderabad, though local regulations have most places serving last drinks by 23:00. On weekdays, drinks in the some of the pubs have best offers, as most clubs are empty until Thursday or Friday nights, when the clubbers emerge. But the sheer number of nightlife spots makes it hard to choose which ones to list. As a general rule they tend to be clustered around Begumpet (Secunderabad) and Road No.1, Banjara Hills (Central).

Alcohol is available easily from numerous liquor shops, known as wine shops in local parlance, spread across the twin cities, in restaurants with bars attached (includes most upscale ones) and in pubs.

Warning: Drunken driving is not tolerated and police enforce the rule strictly. After 23:00 almost all the roads have police patrols and check drunk driving. If caught you may end up paying fines, apart from vehicle being seized and couple of rounds to police station in worst scenarios.

Some of the good pubs and bars are part of hotels, and they have been covered along with their hotel listing under Sleep.

Sleep edit

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles
This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₹1,500
Mid-range ₹1,500-4,500
Splurge Over ₹4,500

Accommodation in Hyderabad is unlikely to bust your budget, especially when compared to cities like Mumbai or Bangalore, and rooms are usually easily available. However, because the city sprawls so much, you need to be careful about the hotel location if you want to avoid a long commute and traffic bottlenecks.

Plentiful budget accommodation is to be found around the Nampally railway station and in Abids, Koti and other new city areas for a few hundred rupees a day, and tourist attractions aren't very far off. However the facilities tend to be basic, the towels aren't necessarily clean and air-conditioning tends to be extra. It might make sense to pay a little more and choose mid-range accommodation. The area around Hussain Sagar Lake, Begumpet, Punjagutta, Somajiguda, Banjara Hills and Lakdi-ka-Pul are close to both tourist attractions of the old city and the business areas of the new city. Hotels in Secunderabad might be slightly far for the tourist, but may still work for the business traveller.

Hotel rooms tend to be expensive and scarce closer to HITEC City, and commuting from any of the above areas, except perhaps Banjara Hills, is not a good option because of the traffic. Areas around HITEC City, are Madhapur, Kondapur and Gachibowli. For longer term stays, you might want to consider serviced apartments.

Connect edit

Post Office edit

India Post[dead link], a government-owned enterprise, has its headquarters at Abids known as GPO. And its second biggest centre is in Secunderabad.

Landlines edit

The dialing code for Hyderabad is 040. When calling from overseas, dial +91 40 XXXX XXXX.

Mobile phones edit

It is very easy to get a prepaid mobile in India, which is very cheap to buy and for calls. As per government regulations a photo ID and a photograph are required for buying prepaid and postpaid SIM connection.

Internet edit

Internet cafes are spread around town and most easily found in the city and residential areas. Charges vary between ₹5-15/hr. Reliance WebWorld provides Broadband internet centres.

For a longer stays with a laptop, it's better to get a Data plan either from Tata Indicom[dead link] or Reliance Mobile, which are around ₹1,000 a month. If you have a WiFi enabled laptop or other digital device there are many public WiFi networks available in Hyderabad for free access to high-speed internet.

Stay safe edit

Since 2014 Hyderabad has remained free of any terrorist attack, however from 2007 until 2013 the city suffered from several of them. These bomb blasts took place at Mecca Masjid, Lumbini Park, places often frequented by travellers and also at busy marketplaces. Though the chance that you will be in danger is quite low now, you should obviously make your own risk assessment. Rather than physical danger, it is more likely that the intrusive security will dampen your enjoyment of your Hyderabad vacation. Every shopping mall, theatre and palace has metal detectors and security guards patting you down.

The old city area used to be a communally sensitive zone and a venue for religiously aggravated riots between Hindus and Muslims. It was common for the police to impose a curfew in that area while the rest of the city went about life without any problems. The old city continues to be at the heart of Hyderabad's crime wave and though many tourist attractions including Charminar are in this area, it is best to avoid late night visits.

Outside of these, Hyderabad is rather safe. Muggings and violent crime are uncommon, most crime involves thefts. Avoid staying out late at night, especially if you are a woman.

The usual tourist-oriented scams in India are not as bad in Hyderabad as in other places. However, foreigners will be hounded for money at tourist sites like the old city. Just ignore the beggars and they will go away.

Chain snatchings have become common in the city. One has to be watchful in crowded areas.

Emergency numbers edit

  • Medical, 108.
  • Child Line Facility, 1098.
  • Police, 100.
  • Fire, 102.
  • For any other basic information call up Just-Dial ten 8s 8888888888 (in country only)
  • Blood Bank, +91 40 24745243.
  • Crime Stopper, 1090.
  • Railway Enquiry, 131, 135.
  • Traffic Help, 1073.

Cope edit

Banking edit

Money changers edit

Many hotels will change money for you at the front desk. However, they may not offer the best rates.

It is best to change money at the city-based money changers than the ones at the airports. You'll find many money-changing operations in Saifabad, some with door-step service. It's also possible to call them and agree on a rate before the transaction.

Newspapers edit

The Deccan Chronicle[dead link] is Hyderabad's oldest newspaper, and indispensable if you need to look up classifieds, for, say, renting a house. The Times of India with its new office in Hyderabad has good local content and is increasingly widely read. Eenadu is the most popular local language (Telugu) newspaper. For events, business listings and movie listings, is popular. Siasat and Munsif are the main newspapers for the Urdu speaking population.

Other newspapers include Vaartha Andhra Jyothy, The Hansindia, Hello Hyderabad, Full Hyderabad, The Hindu, Indian Express, Metro India, Namaste Telangana and Sakshi.

Hospitals edit

Pharmacy/chemist edit

Modern medicine is widely available at pharmacies around the city.

  • A.P. Medical Hall.
  • MOR Medical Hall (Basheer Bagh).
  • Medplus, +91 40 6674 3000.
  • Mukesh Medical Hall (Opposite NIMS).
  • Sonee Medical Hall (Sarojini Hospital Rd, Mehdipatnam).

Books edit

  • The British Library (Secretariat).
  • City Central Library, Chikkadpally, Near Tyagaraj Gana Sabha, Hyderabad, Telangana, +61 40 2763 7632. A library with wealth of Books and archives.
  • State Central Library (Asafia Library), Afzalgunj, Hyderabad, Telangana. Contains many important archives.

Consulates edit

Go next edit

  • Basara — the home of Sri Gnana Saraswati Temple, in Adilabad District
  • Bhuvanagiri Fort — around 47 km from city of Hyderabad on the outskirts moving towards Warangal via Uppal, is a huge rock fort on very smooth rock. At the foot of the hill is Bhongir bus station. It is a marvellous experience to climb the fort and needs great skill and balance at few places. An attractive place for trekkers and rock climbers.
  • Guntur — around 282 km southeast of Hyderabad by train.
  • Mantralayam
  • Medak Church — around 90 km from Hyderabad.
  • Nagarjuna Sagar Dam — 165 km from Hyderabad - one of the earliest hydroelectric projects in India, the dam impounds the Krishna river.
  • Sangareddy — around 55 km from Hyderabad
  • Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple — 212 km from Hyderabad can be easily reached by state run buses or private taxi. Srisailam referred to as Tirupparuppatham in the Thevaram hymns, near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh is a venerated Shivastalam, the second of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines spread all over India. This is a vast temple with several gopurams, on a hill which is said to be a manifestation of Nandi. This temple has been a site of Vijayanagar patronage, and is well visited and well endowed. Several other related Siva temples are in the vicinity of Sree Sailam. Kannada poetess Akkamahadevi made this spot her hermitage
  • Srisailam Hydel Project — around 245 km from Hyderabad. The dam is surrounded by beautiful natural flora.
  • Vijayawada — 270 km from Hyderabad, has many important Hindu pilgrimage sites.
  • Visakhapatnam— around 620 km, R.K. Beach and many other beaches. Important Hindu pilgrimage sites.
  • Warangal — 144 km from Hyderabad, is a beautiful city of lakes and temples. Location of Bhadrakali Temple.
  • Yadagirigutta — around 60 km east of Hyderabad, features the Narasimha Swamy Temple.

This city travel guide to Hyderabad is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.