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Hyderabad Travel Guide for Foreign Tourists

About the City

Hyderabad is the capital of the newly formed state of Telangana in the Deccan . It is a safe metropolitan city with international standards. It is situated along the banks of River Musi and the large artificial lake / tank called Hussain Sagar in the mid of the city which divides the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Hyderabad was established in 1591 C.E (Current Era) by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. In 1724, Mughal Viceroy Asif Jah I established his own dynasty known as the Nizams of Hyderabad and he declared his dominions as Princely State during the British Rule in India. It was ruled independently by the Nizams.

After Indian independence in 1947 C.E, the then Nizam of Hyderabad State was not willing to make Hyderabad a part of Indian Union but he wanted it to be an independent country. In 1948 C.E, Hyderabad State was merged with Indian Union and Hyderabad continued to be the capital after the formation of Andhra Pradesh - the 1st Indian state to be formed on linguistic basis in 1956 C.E.

Language, Culture and Climate

The people of Hyderabad are popularly known as 'Hyderabadis'. A majority of the population speak Telugu language and a good number of people speak Urdu. Apart from the rich cultural heritage of the Telugu people, the Muslim rule by Qutb Shahi dynasty and the Nizams has enriched the culture of the city. The migration of people from North has resulted in cultural assimilation and there is a blend of Telugu and North culture in this city.

Foreign tourists and North Indian travelers don't find difficulty in communicating with the local people as a majority of them fluently speak / understand Hindi and English.

The inter-mingling of Hindu and Muslim religions has resulted in rich cultural heritage. Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the prominent festivals celebrated with much pomp and pleasure. Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha are celebrated with devotion by the Muslims. Bonalu and Bathukamma are the official festivals of Telangana. These are the important local folk festivals celebrated with much devotion by the local people.

Hyderabad is located in the Deccan plateau region and is a landlocked city in the semi-arid zone. It experiences wet and dry tropical climate. It is good to visit the city through out the year except for the months of April / May as it is extreme.

Travel Guide / Info

Hyderabad's Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) is one of the best international airports in India with international standards. The airport authorities frequently ply Aero Express buses from airport to the important locations of the city. These buses are the easiest commutation for getting into the city. These buses charge around 200 INR (Indian Rupees) per passenger. There are even different prepaid private cab services which charge reasonably. A majority of the cab drivers are well behaved. However international travelers particularly lone women travelers need to be alert as there could be exceptional cases. In case of emergency call 100 (Police Control Room). In case of immediate medical assistance call 108.

Accommodation

Being a world class city, there is no dearth for star hotels in the city. Taj Krishna, Taj Deccan, Taj Banjara, Novotel, Mercure, Taj Falaknuma Palace (the former palace of the Nizams) etc are some of the leading hotels of the city which offer good hospitality and facilities for the tourists. Besides the star hotels, there are good number of budget / economy hotels that offer reasonably good accommodation.

Food

Hyderabadis are foodies and there are few special food items of Hyderabad that are famous particularly Hyderabad Dum Biryani and Irani Chai are worth savoring. Some of the popular vegetarian restaurants are Bikanerwala - serves North Indian foods, Chutney's - one of the best restaurants in the city that serves South Indian foods but a bit expensive compared to other restaurants, Minerva Coffee Shop etc. Biryani Paradise in Secunderabad is famous for it's special Hyderabadi biryani.

Shopping

Hyderabadis are shopping sprees and they enjoy shopping. There are few world class shopping malls like the GVK One in Banjara Hills and the Inorbit Mall. Besides the modern shopping malls, you can visit the old bazaars in the Charminar area like the Bangle bazaar (laad bazaar), Koti, Begum bazaar etc for shopping typical ethnic stuff like stone studded bangles, pearls jewelry and other fancy items.

Safety Tips

The twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are safe for travelers. However, be alert while moving in the old city which is a communal sensitive area. Also be alert in heavily crowded areas. A majority of Indian do not strictly follow traffic rules. So be careful even while walking on the walk-ways / pavements as the motorists, auto-rickshaws and at times cars also drive on the pavements without bothering about the walkers. So be careful. Foreign travelers are literally chased / hounded by the beggars. Just walk away without paying attention to them. If you start giving money to 1 or 2 beggars, many of them start chasing you. It's a big menace. So stay away from beggars in India.

Lone women travelers need to be extra careful / alert at all times.

Places to Visit

Hyderabad is popularly known as the City of Pearls or the Pearl City of India. Pearls have almost become synonymous with Hyderabad. Being a top class Indian metro city, Hyderabad is rich in must-see places, must-taste foods and must-buy items.

Check here the top attractions of Hyderabad.