Hyderabad Highlights

With a colorful history spanning over 400 years, Hyderabad showcases the best of North and South India. The “City of Pearls” was once a notable pearl and diamond trade center in South Asia and offers travelers the best of bazaars, bungalows, and biryani.

Qutub Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
The tombs of the legendary Qutub Shahi kings are less than a mile away from Banjara Darwaza of the Golconda Fort. Planned and built by the Qutub Shahis, the tombs are considered the oldest historical monuments in Hyderabad. The structures are built in Persian, Pathan, and Hindu architectural styles using grey granite with stucco ornamentation. Qutub Shahi is also the only monument worldwide where an entire dynasty has been buried at a single place.
Laad Bazaar Rd, Laad Bazar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Welcome to Laad Bazaar, tucked away on one of the four streets that lead from the Charminar. Also called Choodi Bazaar, the vibrant market features countless shops and stalls selling bridal wear, pearls, jewelry, and the famous Hyderabadi glass- and stone-studded bangles. These recognizable bangles are made from laad (“lacquer”), the material which gives the market its name. No cars or auto-rickshaws are allowed on the narrow street, and the crowds are limited to pedestrians, scooters, and bicycles.
Near Birla Mandir, Saifabad, Adarsh Nagar, Hyderabad, Telangana 500004, India
You don’t need to be a science enthusiast to appreciate the Birla Planetarium, housed in the B.M. Birla Science Centre. The planetarium is considered one of the most acclaimed in the world, and also offers courses in astronomy and astrophysics. The space more than holds its own against comparable places in Russia, Europe, and the United States, making it a great spot to escape the Hyderabad heat and humidity. Enjoy one of the many shows or interactive sessions, or extend your stay and explore the adjacent exhibits, art gallery, and the Dinosaurium.
Bhoodan Pochampally, Telangana 508284, India
Located 1.5 hours outside Hyderabad is Pochampally, a village known for its traditional weaves of ikat in cotton and silk. Many Indians call Pochampally “Silk City,” and the community is widely recognized for creating the Pomchampally Saree. Take time to interact with the families, many of whom still weave on looms in their homes. Also visit the Pochampally Handloom Park, a combined effort of the governments of India and Andhra Pradesh to encourage sustainable employment in a craft whose art has been significantly impacted by modernization and mechanization.
There is an extensive British history in Hyderabad, commencing in 1798 when the city became a princely state under the British East India Company. The monuments and buildings stand as a silent reminder to the European legacy. Start with a visit to the former British Residency, now the Osmania University College for Women. Also walk the cemetery that houses the graves of British officials and their families. Continue to Secunderabad, where the British had their cantonment, and view the historic architecture. End with a visit to the house where Winston Churchill lived while he served in the British Army.
Necklace Rd, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Necklace Road is a main boulevard in Hyderabad, adjacent to Hussain Sagar Lake. Grab a cycle and head out at dusk when the boulevard comes alive with locals socializing and sampling fast food at Eat Street. Check out the views and People’s Plaza, a recreational area that features concerts, exhibitions, sporting events, and entertainment. Necklace Road also connects to Sanjeevaiah Park and Jalavihar Water Park.
SD Road, Sappu Bagh Apaprtment, Jogani, Ramgopalpet, Secunderabad, Telangana 500003, India
A visit to Hyderabad may not be complete until you have savored the cuisine at Paradise Food Court. The Secunderabad location—considered the largest sit-down restaurant in all of India—has multiple spaces, including Paradise Cafe, Paradise Bakery and Confectionery, Paradise Roof Garden, and Paradise Heights. But whatever you do, make sure to try the biryani—a fragrant mixed rice dish cooked with meat or eggs. Hyderabad has more varieties of biryani than any other South Asian destination, so come hungry and sample the goodness.
Ground Floor, SBR, Opp Pizza Hut, C.V. Towers, HUDA Techno Enclave, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Telangana 500081, India
Karachi Bakery is a Hyderabad institution, renowned for its cakes, cookies, biscuits, pastries, and chocolates. Open since 1963, the establishment remains one of the most innovative bakeries in India. Be sure to sample the fruit biscuits, Osmania biscuits, almond cookies, and mithai—traditional Indian sweets. To avoid the crowds, especially during festivals and holidays, place your order online prior to visiting.
Jalavihar is a water park with activities for the entire family. The space features multiple pools, a wave pool, a lazy river ride, water slides, and a toddler area. If you wish to stay dry, there are also bumper cars, miniature trains, bungy trampolines, mini-golf, and an arcade. Be sure to check out the Party Zone, which features sprays of water keeping you cool on the dance floor.
Sultan Bazar, Koti, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Sultan Bazaar is a labyrinth of lanes in the old city offering commercial goods, clothes, jewelry, shoes, silverware, handicrafts, and produce. It is not generally frequented by many tourists and therefore makes for an engaging experience with the locals. Stop by Shanti Fashions for the latest styles of traditional Indian dresses, known as salwars. Also close to the bazaar is Maheshwari Parameshwari, one of the oldest theaters in Hyderabad.
Hill Fort Rd, Ambedkar Colony, Khairatabad, Hyderabad, Telangana 500004, India
Located at the southern end of Hussain Sagar Lake, the Birla Mandir is a magnificent white-marble Hindu temple. The 200 tons of marble were imported from Rajasthan and the complex is open to everyone, regardless of religion or caste. The temple does not have traditional bells, instead cultivating a quiet environment that is conducive to meditation, and the main shrine is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara (Vishnu). There is also a temple dedicated to the Buddha, with fresco paintings depicting his life and work. Though divine in any light, try to visit Birla Mandir in the evenings, when the temple is illuminated with colored lights. The complex also comes alive every June/July for the Bonalu Festival—a spectacle not to be missed.
Hussain Sagar, Hyderabad, Telangana
Hussain Sagar is a 16th century lake in Hyderabad. While it is beautiful, I can’t say it’s the most stunning wonder you’ll stumble upon in your life. If you’re in the area, I’d definitely visit it, but to make a special trip might lead to disappointment. The main highlight of the lake is the monolithic large Gautam Buddha statue that rests in the middle. You can take a short boat ride to the statue and explore for yourself. There’s a nice park next to the lake where you can have family picnics or quality ME-time. You’ll find throngs of youngsters during the late evening hours loitering around the area. Also, the road that encapsulates the lake, Necklace Road makes for a relaxing midnight drive or stroll. It’s also considered one of the seven wonders of Hyderabad.
Ramoji Film City, Telangana, India
Hollywood meets Tollywood at Ramoji Film City, a thematic destination for children of all ages. You can easily spend a day exploring the expansive grounds that showcase the best of Telugu cinema. There is a studio tour, kids park, movie magic park, action studio, and wild west stunt show. Prefer green spaces? Check out the Eco Zone, featuring the Bonsai Garden, Butterfly Park, and Urban Park. A popular destination is Wings Bird Park, an oasis for nature lovers that includes a waterbird arena, exotic bird enclosure, and ostrich habitat. Lights, Camera, Action!
Off Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Opposite GVK One, Green Valley, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500034, India
Located in the exclusive Banjara Hills neighborhood, Lamakaan is an open event space that promotes art, literature, and dialogue. The non-profit center hosts concerts, book releases, plays, seminars, and poetry readings. Lamakaan also presents film screenings and exhibitions, including the Queer Art Fest and a monthly flea market held by the Tree Huggers Club. Check out the calendar for upcoming events and experience an eccentric space where tradition meets modernity. Not interested in the art scene? Grab a chai and samosa from the canteen and surf with free wifi.
8-2-248/A/B-1, Ground Floor, Shilpa Arcade, Road Number 3, Banjara Hills, VST Colony, Punjagutta, Hyderabad, Telangana 500034, India
As my friend once eloquently stated, “Chutneys leaves you blissfully exhausted from the amount of goodness.” The popular spot is known for its variety of South Indian delicacies, including dosas, idlis, various dishes served in banana leaves, and (surprise, surprise) several varieties of chutney. The restaurant has a few locations, though Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills seem to be the most popular. Be prepared to wait—though the Steamed Dosa and Bhaghai Idli are well worth it.
Survey No. 54, Lower Tank Bund Rd, Lower Tank Bund, Kavadiguda, Hyderabad, Telangana 500080, India
Penguins, igloos, and snowfall in Hyderabad? Welcome to Snow World, the only facility in India and the largest in the world that combines an amusement park and subzero temperatures. After paying a small entrance fee, visitors are given warm clothing, waterproof shoes, and a cup of hot soup to acclimate to the temperatures. Snow World features slides, basketball courts, play areas, igloos, bumper cars, an ice skating rink, and even an ice hotel. During construction, over 200 tons of artificial snow was layered on the floor using a patented technology from Australia. The top layer of snow is cleaned daily and then topped with an additional three tons of snow. The water is also filtered four times before being generated to snow, so it is safe if consumed - accidentally or otherwise. Perhaps the most charming feature of Snow World is the actual snowfall for ten minutes every hour. The smiles here are contagious.
Door No. 8-2-682/3, Ohri's Banjara, Road No. 12, Banjara Hills, Fortune Enclave, Sri Ram Nagar Colony, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500034, India
Experience East Africa at Serengeti, a two-tiered restaurant with a jungle ambiance. Great for families, the space features shady trees, (fake) wild animals, hidden caves, and waiters dressed as hunters. This Indian version of the Rainforest Cafe is located on the top floor of the Ohri Building, so step out on the terrace for lovely views. Try the Kalimirch Tava Chicken and be sure to have your kids ask for animal stickers at the exit.
B-16/17, Mayur Kushal Complex, Abids Road, Gun Foundry, Abids, Gun Foundry, Basheer Bagh, Hyderabad, Telangana 500001, India
My Choice Sarees is a favorite shop of my Hyderabad friends. A saree (or sari) is a traditional Indian garment for women. Approximately six feet long, it is wrapped around the waist multiple times and then draped over one shoulder. The blouse has short sleeves and generally reveals the midriff. Saree colors and materials vary between regions and include silk, cotton, and embroidery. Stop by My Choice Sarees to admire the vibrant formal and casual collections as well as the featured designer showcases.
8-2-577/1/C, Vintage, 1st Floor, Beside Tarun Tahiiani's Studio, Imam Khomeini Rd, Zahara Nagar, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500034, India
Anagha is the creation of Sarvamangala Chavali, an actress, entrepreneur, fashion designer, and brand ambassador for the Hyderabad Metro. Her store showcases traditional ethnic wear, including sarees, kurtas, dupattas, and salwar sets. Sarvamangala won the coveted FAPCCI Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur Award in 2011 and COWE Best Entrepreneur/Brand Elevation/Ethnic Wear in 2012–13. Her items often sell out in minutes and feature vintage, traditional, and modern designs. href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mynameisharsha/5427707902/in/photolist-9gCqsJ-cqHqAw-9gzkmc-5Zg5fr-6Qfd7Q-7CxoC5-5R2mFe-7xv66i-5ZgDEF-e3eqvr-6cwMP4-aA4kZY-azjbzs-7xzk4L-6cqovg-fy9xhw-9AeqTB-4nWh7c-7fhVPn-e3oRDz-589dg-7hYfq1-4sYP9B-6Xx8Zd-dxWaSm-aDH7B3-aiTLi4-aiTLDz-6cuBaS-g26SqM-a7tM3-7rZ3LE-6oUBmF-7qdEKk-ccSBe3-5Eksdi-4zp2wF-5sPXSo-fy9zKf-fy9z2h-fy9yfA-fxUfwZ-fxUh2g-fy9ys3-fy9zU7-fy9Afb-fxUhhR-fy9xWu-fxUhRT-fxUfiH">Harsha K R/Flickr.
8-2-409, Rd Number 6, Green Valley, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500034, India
Located in the Radisson Blu Hotel of Banjara Hills, Movida (Spanish for “movement” and Cuban for “party”) was the first tapas bar in Hyderabad. The bar/lounge features cocktails, world music, and innovative Italian, Mediterranean, Spanish, and Cuban cuisine. Locals flock here for the house specialty, the watermelon rose martini. Reservations are recommended.
Shree Jewellers is a definite stop for those with a passion for exquisite jewels. Named “Best Single Jewelry Store in South India” by GJF, the exclusive items on offer include pearls, silver, gold, diamonds, and precious stones. Be sure to peruse the Kundan Collection, traditional Indian jewelry with gold foil set between the stones. The newest location is in Jubilee Hills near HiTech City.
Laad Bazaar Rd
Retrace the steps of nobility on a self-directed tour that highlights the palaces and royal guesthouses of Hyderabad. Start with a visit to the Mirde Hamidkhan Devdi, a typical local Muslim home near Charminar. Also explore the devdis of Paigah noblemen Kursheed Jah, Asman Jah, and Sir Vicar-Ul-Umara. Continue to Chowmahalla Palace, the seat of the Asaf Jah dynasty and residence of the Nizams. Conclude the tour at Falaknuma Palace, once the Royal Guest House of the Nizam of Hyderabad, where he used to entertain foreign dignitaries. It has been converted to a Taj Hotel and is an outstanding example of the famed Nizam’s hospitality.
Road Number 2
Rain is the only club in Hyderabad that offers four separate rooms, each with its own bar and DJ. With multiple music genres rocking out simultaneously, the space has a fun and diverse customer base. The Main Room can accommodate up to 600 people while the intimate Sky Bar features panoramic views of the Hyderabad skyline. Fun Fact: The lighting and sound system has been rated one of the best in Asia.
Sanath Nagar, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
From tiffins to appliances, steel is an essential part of most Indian kitchens. Sanath Nagar, a suburb of Hyderabad, is considered the heart of steel manufacturing. The shops are glimmering with anything and everything steel, including dishes, plates, cutlery, containers, and pots. Though unlikely you will return home with a new oven, you can find smaller and easier to pack items like platters and jars. Sanath Nagar is also known for green spaces, so pack a picnic in your shiny new tiffin and enjoy lunch in one of the municipal parks.
It’s rare to find a DJ lounge that features award-winning cuisine, but that is just what the proprietors of Over The Moon aimed to create. Their successful venture offers elegant yet simple dishes and an extensive wine list within open-air spaces that have stunning city views. Stop by on Sundays for discounted sundowners and signature cocktails.
Tarnaka Main Rd
Vasundhara Jewellers is another favorite spot of my Hyderabad friends for custom jewelry design. The owners started Vasundhara with the belief that every jewel tells a story. The most memorable moments, they tell me, should be associated with a rare and exquisite piece of jewelry that will forever ignite feelings of nostalgia. The shop is also popular for those seeking custom accessories, including diamond and ruby embellishments on an iPhone.
Begum Bazaar is one of the oldest wholesale markets in Hyderabad and houses the second-largest fish market in the city. Retailers come from all over the region to strike deals with the vendors, making it an excellent venue for people-watching. Adjacent to Begum is Moazzam Jahi, the largest fruit and vegetable market in the city. It is also the largest Hyderabad market for Chinese products.
The Hyderabad Botanical Garden sits on 120 acres of land in the Kothaguda Reserve Forest. The site was created to serve multiple purposes including education, ecotourism, conservation, awareness, and scientific research. In addition to the over 600 species of plants that include fruit trees, aquatic plants, and medicinal plants, there are rock formations and water features. Paved walkways take you through the 19 sections or “vanams” organized by species and purpose. The gardens also organize interactive sessions, nature camps, and guided tours.
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