Hyderabad, one of India’s premier metropolitan cities, is a beautiful medley of history, heritage, technology, natural beauty, and flavorful cuisines. From edifices that belong to the glorious era of the Nizams and old bazaars brimming with colorful goodies to lush green gardens, national parks, and placid lakes, the city boasts of a wide range of attractions. What’s more, the world’s largest studio complex Ramoji Film City is also located here, making the city a favorite with travelers of all kinds.
Are you planning a trip to the City of Nizams? Given below is a list of top 12 tourist attractions in Hyderabad to help you plan your itinerary.
Topping the list of must-visit places in Hyderabad is Charminar, an iconic four-storied structure that is rightfully called the Arc de Triomphe of the East. Literally meaning “four turrets”, the monument was built under the orders of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. An Iranian architect by the name Mir Momin Astrawadi is often credited with the design of this 400-year-old structure which follows an Indo-Islamic style of architecture with Persian influences. Standing tall in granite and limestone, Charminar offers commanding views of the surroundings from its top floor. The area surrounding the monument has a pulsating bazaar named Choodi Bazar or Laad Bazar and several eateries where you can relish authentic Hyderabadi dishes.
- Golconda Fort
A remnant of the Kakatiya Dynasty, Golconda Fort oozes history and architectural splendor. Dating back to the 13th century, the fort was later expanded and it also served as a citadel and capital during the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. An amazing architectural feature of the fort is that if you clap from Fateh Darwaza (the doorway), the echoes can be heard clearly a kilometer away at Balal Hissar, the highest point at the fort. While visiting the fort, don’t forget to watch the stunning light and sound show held in the evenings. Golconda Fort is best known for once being home to some of the rarest diamonds in the world including the iconic Koh-i-Noor, Daria-i-Noor, the White Regent, the Dresden Green, and the Hope Diamond.
- Ramoji Film City
Spread across 2000 acres of land, Ramoji Film City is the largest studio complex in the world. With over 1.5 million visitors each year, the place counts among the top thematic holiday destinations in the county. The studio complex brings the cine-magic alive through a wide range of attractions including shooting backlots, live shows, thematic gardens, and more. Besides these, the film city houses an adventure park named Sahas, a play zone for kids named Fundustan, an exotic birds park called Wings, a bonsai garden, a butterfly park, shopping zones, several restaurants, and other attractions. Ramoji Film City is also a widely popular choice for accommodation in Hyderabad, as it takes more than one day to cover the entire studio. The complex has 6 hotels housed within or around it, ranging from luxury hotels and villas to shared accommodation and service apartments.
- Salar Jung Museum
Touted as one of the best museums in Hyderabad, Salar Jung Museum houses a massive collection of artwork, manuscripts, and other exhibits in its 38 galleries. On display here are the personal collections of Mir Yousuf Ali Khan (Salar Jung III) and Nawab Turab Ali Khan (Salar Jung I). With 43,000 art objects, 47,000 books and 9,000 manuscripts forming part of the collection, the tour of the entire place takes a minimum of 3 to 4 hours. The collection also includes Indian, Middle Eastern, Far Eastern and European art and artifacts spanning from Persia to Japan. One of the most iconic pieces displayed here is a world-famous marble sculpture named Veiled Rebecca by Italian Sculptor Giovanni Maria. This captivating sculpture features a veiled woman in which the illusion of transparent fabric is achieved using white marble.
- Birla Mandir
The list of tourist attractions in Hyderabad cannot be deemed complete without Birla Temple, one of the most-visited temples in the region. Sitting majestically atop the 280-foot high Naubath Pahad hillock along the southern end of Hussain Sagar, this temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara offers stunning views of the city as well as the lake. It showcases a beautiful blend of Dravidian, Rajasthani and Utkala architecture, and is fully constructed in mesmerizing white marble. Spread over 13 acres, the temple was instated by Swami Ranganathananda of the Birla Foundation. Apart from soaking in the tranquility and beauty of the evening aarthi, you can also shop for local handicrafts here.
- Hussain Sagar Lake
A heart-shaped lake dating back to 1563, Hussain Sagar is a manmade lake built by Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah. Spread over an expansive 5.7 square kilometer area, the waterbody hosts a giant Buddha statue in the center, atop the Gibraltar Rock. It acts as the connection between Hyderabad and Secunderabad and offers several watersport activities like boating and parasailing. Surrounded by some of the best parks in the city such as Indira Park, Lumbini Park, and Sanjeeviah Park, the lake also serves as one of the top picnic spots in Hyderabad.
- Lumbini Park
Hyderabad is home to a good range of parks and gardens that bring you close to nature. Located around the same area as Hussain Sagar and Birla Mandir, Lumbini Park is a green paradise spread across 2 hectares of land. The most interesting attractions at the park include the laser show and musical fountains. The spectacular laser show is a sight to behold and recreates stories of Hyderabad’s erstwhile glory as well as its strong foothold in India today. With beautiful views of Hussain Sagar Lake, eateries that serve delicious snacks, play areas for kids, the park serves as a great place where you can spend a leisurely evening with your dear ones.
- Birla Science Museum
How about visiting a museum that provides information as well as entertainment? Comprising of a planetarium, a museum, a science center, and an art gallery, Birla Science Museum is an ideal place to spend time with your family and friends. People of all ages can enjoy the spectacular Cosmic Presentation at the Planetarium. The highlight of the museum is the Dinosaurium exhibiting a 160-million-year-old Kotasaurus Yamanpalliensis specimen, excavated at Adilabad district in Telangana. Besides this, it also houses an interactive science section, an archeology museum, a dolls museum, and a Nobel gallery, to name a few. If you are traveling with your curious little ones, Birla Science Museum is a must-visit attraction in Hyderabad.
- Nehru Zoological Park
Nehru Zoological Park, popularly known as Hyderabad Zoo, is spread over 380 acres and is home hundreds of species of birds, animals, and reptiles. The star attractions here include the Indian rhino, Asiatic Lion, Bengal Tiger, and Indian Elephant, to name a few. The nocturnal house reverses night and day so that the animals stay active during visiting hours. The zoo also offers safaris multiple times each day for visits to the Asiatic lion and Bengal tiger reserves. In addition to these, it has a tortoise house, a butterfly park, a dino park, an aquarium, and several educational shows to keep you engaged for hours. Nehru Zoological Park is closed on Mondays, so plan your visit accordingly.
- Laad Bazaar
What’s a trip to Hyderabad without some shopping? Located along one of the four main roads of Charminar, Laad Bazaar is a thriving local shopping hub in the city. It is well known for its bangles, the reason why it is also called Choodi Bazaar aka Bangle Bazaar. The specialty of the bangles sold here is the lacquer on which artificial diamonds are studded. Apart from bangles, you can also shop for semi-precious stones, kalamkari works, brocade, embroidered fabrics, pearls, local handicrafts, and even perfumes here.
One of the latest additions to the list of tourist attractions in Hyderabad, Shilparamam is a dedicated village for the promotion of Indian arts and crafts. The place motivates artisans from across the country to preserve traditional arts and crafts. The sprawling 65-acre area also holds several ethnic and cultural festivals each year. There is a rural museum with authentically constructed baked-clay and thatch huts that depict rural life in India. Arts and crafts on display include sarees, shawls, dresses, jewelry and more. Shilparamam also offers an exquisite shopping and dining experience, the authentic Indian way.
- Chowmahalla Palace
The streets of Laad Bazaar lead up to Charminar on one side and the Chowmahalla Palace on the other. The erstwhile royal residence of the Nizams and the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, this 18th-century palace was the site of all royal processions including the reception of the Governor-General. The southern courtyard is the oldest part of the palace and is built in the neo-classical style while the northern courtyard is well known for its fountain and pool. The heart of the palace is the Khilwat Mubarak or the Durbar Hall where you will find the 19 spectacular Chandeliers made of Belgian crystals. While planning a visit to the palace, keep in mind that it is closed on Fridays.
This is by no means a complete list of tourist attractions in Hyderabad. There is more, from historical monuments like Qutub Shahi Tombs and beautiful parks like NTR Gardens to local bazaars and bustling food streets. A beautiful place for a family vacation, Hyderabad offers fun, adventure, infotainment and nature in equal parts. So, let’s start planning the trip, shall we?