Charminar

Hyderabad's iconic landmark, the 56-m-high Charminar is an imposing four-sided archway with four minarets soaring above its surrounding bustling market area. It was built in 1591 by Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, who was the fifth king of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, to mark the founding of Hyderabad and the end of a plague that had devastated the city.

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Charminar

Salar Jung Museum

The grand Salar Jung Museum is famous for housing one of the largest compilations of artefacts collected by one person. Boasting collections from ancient civilisations and modern times, it houses items that were painstakingly collected and curated by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan or Salar Jung III, the prime minister of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, who spent most of his income on this project, over a period of 35 years. The museum is home to collections dating from the 2nd century BC to the early 20th century AD, from different cultures such as Greek, Roman, Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Islam. As many as 43,000 art objects and 50,000 manuscripts and books are housed here. It also showcases European fine arts, including a rare statue by 19th-century Italian sculptor Benzoni, South Indian bronzes and wood and stone sculptures and Indian miniature paintings. Other prominent exhibits include a fruit knife used by Nur Jahan, the wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir, and emperor Aurangzeb’s sword. 

Salar Jung Museum

Qutub Shahi Tombs

A complex of 21 domed granite structures, the Qutub Shahi tombs are known to be one of the oldest monuments in Hyderabad. Boasting an amalgamation of Indian and Persian architectural styles, the tombs are marked with intricate colonnades and delicate lime stucco work. The complex also houses several mosques. Nestled amidst serene landscaped gardens, the tombs are renowned for the fact that they are among the few places in the world where an entire dynasty is buried at the same spot. It is said seven of the eight Qutb Shahi rulers rest here. Among the finest tomb is that of Mohammed Quli, the founder of Hyderabad. It stands on a platform near the edge of the complex, with views of the Golconda Fort, which is just 2 km away.

Qutub Shahi Tombs

Chowmahalla palace

This luxurious palace was once the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and also the place where the Nizams entertained their official guests. Built between the 18th and the 19th centuries, the opulent palace complex is said to be a replica of the Shah’s Palace in Tehran, Iran. With the synthesis of several architectural influences, the palace is renowned for its unique style. It boasts two ornate courtyards with gardens and magnificent buildings. One of the grandest attractions here is the pillared Durbar Hall or the Khilwat Mubarak, a spectacular ceremony hall with 19 enormous Belgian crystal chandeliers. The palace houses a priceless collection of antiques, including one of vintage cars, among which the most popular is a 1911 yellow Rolls-Royce and 1937 Buick convertible. In 2010, the palace was honoured with the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Merit Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

Chowmahalla palace

Golconda Fort

Around 11 km from Hyderabad, the impressive 16th century Golconda Fort is one of the most famous forts in India. The capital of the erstwhile Golconda kingdom, the fort was the centre of the Golconda stronghold in the region and was thus built as an impregnable structure. Its former glory and majesty can still be seen in the mighty ramparts and fortifications encircling it. Situated on a 120-m-high hill, it enjoyed a prominent vantage point from where a lookout for the enemy could be kept. Today, its high-rising position gives tourists sweeping views of the surrounding areas, where one can see almost as far as the horizon. Climbing further up, one can spot the stunning Deccan plateau and also get a bird's eye view of the bustling and lit-up city.Touring the fort, one can sample the rich flavour of its history, which saw the throne change hands among various dynasties. While the several beautiful palaces housed here echo the royal grandeur of times gone by, the famous Fateh Rahben gun, reminds one of the brutal onslaught that the fort experienced when Mughal emperor Aurangzeb laid seize to it. In the evening, a unique light and sound show takes one back in time when Golconda was full of life and splendour.The Golconda Fort was originally built as a mud fort, with the Yadavas of Deogiri and the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal ruling over it. Moreover, the fort was a citadel until Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered it in 1687.The fort is a marvellous work of engineering of that time and perhaps that is why so many mighty emperors sought to occupy it. Its massive gates have been studded with iron spikes to stop elephants from breaking them down and inside, a futuristic concealed water pipeline ensured uninterrupted water supply during sieges. The most spectacular, however, is the ingenious acoustics of the fort that ensured that even the slightest sound from the entry gates would echo across the complex. It also has four drawbridges, eight gateways, halls, and stables. The outermost area houses the Fateh Darwaza (victory gate), which is called so because Aurangzeb’s victorious army marched successfully through it. 

Golconda Fort

Falaknuma palace

Perched atop a 2,000-ft hillock, the spectacular Falaknuma (meaning a mirror in the sky) Palace harks back to Hyderabad's royal past. One of the largest and the grandest Venetian chandeliers, gorgeous antique furniture, an exquisite Italian marble staircase, delightful marble fountains, awe-inspiring statues, rare manuscripts and precious objects d’art adorn this palace, which is around 5 km from Old Hyderabad, and was the home of the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mehboob Ali Pasha. It also has a well-stocked library with one of the most unique collections of the Quran. Its manicured lawns are dotted with Mughal, Rajasthani and Japanese gardens. Designed by a European architect and built over a decade in the 1880s, the palace fell into misuse after the Nizam died in 1911. For nearly 100 years it stayed neglected till it was hired out to an Indian luxury hotel major for renovation. Today, it’s a spectacular heritage hotel, restored after almost 1,000 artisans toiled on it for around 10 years!

Falaknuma palace

Paigah tombs

Located a short distance from the famous Charminar, the well-known Paigah Tombs are a popular tourist site in Hyderabad. The tomb complex, spread over an area of 30-40 acre, consists of 27 stunning marble tombs with intricately carved walls and pillars, delicately patterned filigree screens and stunning turrets. The tombs have been skilfully carved and their inlaid mosaic tile work is also fascinating. The famous 'jali' work done on them adds to the charm of the structure. At the western end, stands a regal mosque. Enjoy an ethereal atmosphere at dawn and dusk as sunlight filters in through lattice-worked walls, creating myriad patterns on the marble floor. The origin of Paigah Tombs can be dated to the late 18th century and they are considered a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.Paigahs were essentially the highest-ranking nobles in the princely state of Hyderabad who married the daughters of the Nizams. They were the only ones who were allowed to have a private army by the Sultans.

Paigah tombs

Mecca Masjid

One of the largest mosques in the world, with a capacity to house up to 10,000 worshippers at a time, the Mecca Masjid's construction began under the rule of  Sultan Quli Qutub Shah in 1614. But it was Aurangzeb who completed it in 1693. It is located on the south-west side of Charminar. Built using local granite, the mosque is 225 ft long, 180 ft wide, and 75 ft high. It derives its name from Mecca’s Grand Mosque after which its design is modelled. The bricks used in its construction are believed to have been brought straight from Mecca. A sacred relic of the Prophet is said to be housed at this mosque. An enclosure next to the maid courtyard contains the tombs of several Nizams.

Mecca Masjid

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