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Asia > South Asia > India > Southern India > Telangana > Hyderabad

Hyderabad

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

Hyderabad, the pearl city of India, is the capital of Telangana in Southern India. It sits on the banks of the Musi River and on the Deccan Plateau. Hyderabad and Secunderabad are "twin cities" near Hussain Sagar Lake (also known as Tank Bund in local parlance) but both cities have grown so much that now they have become one big metropolis. The city and district of Hyderabad are coterminous. Hyderabad district is entirely contained within the Ranga Reddy (formerly "Hyderabad Rural") district of Telangana. Many of the suburbs of Hyderabad have been merged into the city, now called Greater Hyderabad.

A city rich with history and tradition, Hyderabad now competes with Bangalore and Chennai for the crown of India's IT capital; Microsoft and Google have their India headquarters here.

Districts[edit]

Two important water bodies - the Musi river and the Hussain Sagar Lake - define much of Hyderabad's geography. They also influenced the city's history.

The Musi river flows from the west to the east, a few kilometers south of Hussain Sagar Lake. As you will read in the History section, the city was established on the banks of the Musi. The crowded bylanes of the Old City, as the district is now called, are steeped in history and home to many of the monuments that hark back to its glory days. Secunderabad, to the north of Hussain Sagar, is an army base first established by the British and which continues to serve that function today for the Indian Army.

Administratively, Hyderabad is divided into five zones - North, South, East, West, and Central. Our articles follow these zones, except that the Old City has an article of its own (separate from the South Zone), and Secunderabad (which is not part of Hyderabad) is included in the North article. Locals rarely refer to these zones, but rather to one of dozens of neighborhoods of which the city is made up.

Districts of Hyderabad
  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.
  Central
The modern city center, between Musi River on the south and Hussain Sagar lake on the north. This area developed after Independence to house the government offices of the capital of the new state. The Hussain Sagar lake and its surroundings have been beautified in the last two decades and you will find some nice amusement parks, promenades and restaurants around it. To the west of the lake are the prosperous suburbs of Punjagutta, Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills, with shopping and restaurants. The ancient Golconda Fort is also in this district.
  Secunderabad and North Hyderabad
north of the Hussain Sagar. At one point, Secunderabad was a separate city, which is why you often hear the appellation "Twin cities" to refer to the region. Like the typical Indian 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, North Hyderabad is most visited for the resorts on the outskirts of the city.
  West Hyderabad (Cyberabad, Hi-tec city, Gachibowli)
A technology hub. Home to Microsoft, Oracle, Infosys, and many other IT and BPO (business process outsourcing) firms. The crowd here is cosmopolitan, the restaurants and bars hipper, and the attractions worth seeing are newer.
  South Hyderabad
The areas south of the Musi River, excluding the Old City.
  East Hyderabad
Home to Osmania University, the eastern part of Hyderabad is a vast suburban area that has little of interest.

Understand[edit]

If you are visiting Hyderabad on business—as is increasingly the case now—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 whole of the city seems to be under construction or renovation and the roads are jammed because the metro is under construction.

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 on the top of Golconda Fort

In the 10th century, the kings of the Kakatiya dynasty built the fortress of Golkonda about 8 km to the west of what is now Hyderabad’s 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 "Golkonda" 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. In 1589, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, a grandson of Quli Qutb Shah, moved his capital from the Golconda fort to the present day location of Hyderabad 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 "princely state", protected by, and under the overlordship of the British. The British maintained their army in nearby Secunderabad to protect the Nizam and to ensure that he did not do any mischief. Hyderabad state was the richest in the country, and in the 1930s Time magazine rated the Nizam the richest man in the world. In 1947, with India's independence, the seventh Nizam was reluctant to cede his principality to the newly independent India, preferring Pakistan instead. India sent in its troops and the 200 year old prophesy was fulfilled. On 17 September 1948, it was merged into India.

Hyderabad become the capital of Hyderabad state. In 1956, Telugu-speaking areas were consolidated into the state of Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad became the capital of this new state. 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. However, in 2014, the merger of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was reversed, and the state of Telangana was officially formed. In 2016-7 the capital of Andhra Pradesh was moved to Amaravati, leaving Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana alone.

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.

Climate[edit]

Like many Indian cities 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 lack of air-conditioning can make it feel very uncomfortable. July, August, September and October can be quite warm and humid and low pressure systems from the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon season can cause heavy rain for days.

Talk[edit]

Telugu and Urdu are widely spoken in Hyderabad, and most educated people speak Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and/or English. English signs are common.

The city is one of the main places where Urdu developed, and the dialect spoken primarily by the large Muslim population is known as “Deccani Urdu” or Dakhani Urdu” (which both translate to Urdu of the Deccan). Because of the influence of Urdu, a dialect of Hindi is also spoken in the city and your Hindi phrasebook may still be useful.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

1 Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (HYD IATA) is 22 km (14 mi) from the city. The sleek and well-organized airport is one of the best in India. It has one integrated terminal as well as a special Hajj terminal.

There are direct international flights from many countries. International carriers are Air India, British Airways, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Silk Air, Etihad Airways and Thai Airways. International destinations: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Chicago, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London, Muscat, Sharjah, Singapore. Excellent domestic connectivity is provided by Indian airlines including Air India, Air India Express, Indigo Airlines, Jet Airways, JetLite and SpiceJet.

The airport can be contacted on their (toll free for BSNL/MTNL subscribers) number +91 1 800 419-2008 for all services and enquiries including arrivals and departure information, facilities, transport availability, etc.

The Pushpak - Airport Liner, an air-conditioned bus service operated by TSRTC, goes to various designated points in the city such as (1) Begumpet (Paryatak Bhavan) (2) Secunderabad (Keyes High School) (3) Hi-Tec City (Opposite Shilparamam), and two designated points in the city (4) Charminar (City College) (5) Mehdipatnam (Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital). Travel time runs from 45-100 min depending on time of day and traffic conditions). Tickets cost between ₹106 and ₹265 depending on the bus stop. The buses have a frequency of a bus every 30 min from 03:30-23:00 and every hour at midnight, 01:00, 02:00 and 03:00. You can reach the designated points and then take an auto or metered cab from there.

Alternatively, you can hire metered air-conditioned radio cabs starting from ₹20 per km (see Get around section). Easy and Meru are approved by the airport @ ₹15/km and are available just after exiting the terminal building. For the rest, you need to call and book with a lead time of 15 minutes to 1 hour. These cabs charge 25% surcharge in the night (i.e., ₹18.75 per km). Hyderabad traffic police counter is on the ground floor with prepaid taxis. Beware of taxi soliciting touts at the airport greeting area; they will try to charge exorbitant rates.

Hired cars are also available from a blue and white booth at the exit of the airport, adjacent to the parking lot. This gives you the advantage of paying in advance and receiving a ticket with your fare and destination, thereby avoiding any disagreements over price. The elevated expressway to the airport takes 20 minutes.

Another option for cheap travel from the airport to Hyderabad city is: When you arrive at airport, go to the departure gates, where you can get a car that has just dropped off passengers and would otherwise return empty to the city. Such vehicles will drop you off in city for only ₹30. The same is true if you hail a taxi near Mehdipathnam, where the flyover starts.

By train[edit]

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in India

Indian Railways has service to Hyderabad from all over India.

There are three major railway stations serving the twin cities: 2 Hyderabad Station [HYB] (Deccan or Nampally), 3 Secunderabad Station [SC] (Junction), and 4 Kachiguda [KCG] and a minor station at Begumpet. Most of the trains bound for South India and North India originate from Hyderabad and leave via Secunderabad. Destinations include:

From these major railway stations you can easily get connected buses or private taxis which will take you to the destination of your choice. You can also ask taxi drivers about getting around Hyderabad as they have adequate experience and guide you appropriate to save your significant amount of time.

By car[edit]

Hyderabad is well connected to other major Metros by road. Bangalore is connected by NH7 and is at a distance of 560 km. The road between Bangalore and Hyderabad is excellent, and the distance can be covered in 6 hours. The city is 752 km from Chennai (using highways NH9 and NH5) and 800 km from Mumbai (NH9 till Pune and the expressway to Mumbai.).

By bus[edit]

Hyderabad is well-connected to all parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and most parts of South and Western India.

  • 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). This is said to be the largest bus station in the world with around 84 bus bays side by side.
Buses going to Anantapur (350 km, 5-8 hr, ₹380-600, 10 or more per day), Ahmedabad (21 hr, daily), Bangalore (10-12 hr, 8 or more per day), Chennai (12½-13½ hr, ten or more per day, from ₹710), Coimbatore (14 hr, 5 or more per day, from ₹1610), Madurai (14-16 hr, four per day, ₹1600), Puttaparthy (366 km 10-11 hr, two evening buses, ₹600-700), Rajahmundry (422 km, 10-12 hr, 6 or more per day, ₹500-750), Tirupati (570 km 10-13 hr, ₹600-950, 15 or more per day), Vijayawada (270 km, ₹300-400, half hourly, 7-9 hr), Vijayawada (5½-6 hours, every half hour, ₹200-330), Visakhapatnam (627 km, ₹600-1100, 12-14 hr, 20 or more per day).
  • 6 JBS (Jubilee Bus Station), +91 40 27802203. In Secunderabad. APSRTC runs direct air-conditioned coaches to Mumbai, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Chennai. AP tourism runs air-conditioned coaches to the same cities. You have to book the tickets in advance. There are many online bus ticketing portals to book bus tickets.

South India is largely well served by organised private bus operators. They run luxury buses like Volvo, Mercedes, Kinglong Cerita buses including multi axled buses. These are air-conditioned, semi sleeper or sleeper services with online ticket booking facilities. Important private travel hubs are KPHB Colony, Lakdi-Ka-Pool, Paradise centre in Secunderabad and Dilsukh nagar. Luxury services run to many cities from these places.

It may be difficult to find direct buses from North India.

Bus companies[edit]

  • Telangana State Road Transport Corporation is the most luxurious bus transport corporation in India and is run by the Telangana state Government: The bus stations of TSRTC in Hyderabad and Secunderabad are MGBS and JBS respectively. TSRTC runs all types of buses including air-conditioned, non air-conditioned and Volvo, Garuda-Plus, Garuda-Sleeper, Indra, Super Luxury and express buses to all major cities in South India and all major cities around Hyderabad.
  • Private travel services which provide decent to excellent services from/to major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Nagpur and other cities in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamilnadu are Orange Travels, Kaveri Travels and many more. They can be easily found using online services like Redbus Myticketbuddy who also provide details of other services and amenities provided.

Get around[edit]

Auto-rickshaw/Auto

There are many ways to get around in Hyderabad. It has good bus service, passable auto-rickshaw and taxi services and a grossly inadequate local train service.

By metro[edit]

The first segments of the Hyderabad Metro (HMR) rail system opened in November 2017. It has a Red Line and a Blue Line. Extensions of both lines are under construction, as is a third line. The Metro is efficient, but serves few places of interest to visitors.

By Multi-Modal Transport System (MMTS)[edit]

MMTS Local Train

Local trains called MMTS are available, albeit for only a few places in Hyderabad. The peak frequency is about every 10 minutes, much less frequently during the daytime and on Sundays (see schedule). It is a fast way of travel to the few stations it covers, and the cheapest option as well. Foreigners are advised to take first class. Daily, monthly and quarterly passes are also available at the MMTS stations.

By bus[edit]

Hyderabad has good local bus connectivity and is run by TSRTC, a state-government owned corporation. 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. There have also been air-conditioned buses all over the city (minimum fare ₹22). Local buses tend to get extremely overcrowded and traveling on the footboard of a bus is very common.

As of 2011 a fleet of new, more comfortable, buses include blue-liveried Tata Marcopolo buses of the Metro Deluxe class and the City Sheetal buses (Volvo or Tata Marcopolo). They are air-conditioned and have limited stops. They are not crowded and you can get a seat most of the times.

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 for non-locals and locals alike to find an auto-rickshaw driver who ever agrees to a metered fare. (This is especially true when hailing an auto in front of a 5-star hotel and near Hi-Tech area.) However, Traffic police are very helpful and will help engage an Auto with metered fare. 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 fro from the suburbs to a main location of the city in that direction. Fares are mostly ₹2 more than bus fares, but are far more comfortable and fast for short distances up to 5 km. Fix the fare before you step into the auto-rickshaw.

Auto Drivers in Hyderabad are a nightmare and are absolutely uncooperative. Finding a needle in a haystack is easier than finding an auto driver who agrees to go by the metered rate with a common excuse that their meter is not functioning. They always demand a much higher fare even though the fare has been increased from ₹12-14. It is advised to 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 then always opt for a prepaid cab.

Reckless driving and accidents are very common in this city.

Most of the auto drivers want you to check out Govt. Authentic pearls shop in exchange for a lower fare; however, they are okay if you don't buy anything from these shops, just sit there for 10 minutes. They get 25 kg rice if they take 15 customers to these shops. 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 a pearl shop.

Auto drivers get some percent of the entry fees (around ₹10) if they take you to the places like Chow Mahal 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]

Metered taxis are available, but they cannot be hailed off the street. One needs to call their centralized call centre and book the service. Service is very good, especially if you are booking for longer distances. It can be next to impossible to be able to get a taxi without prior booking since demand far outstrips the supply. All metered taxis have digital meters that show the distance and fare. Smartphone applications can be used to hail a ride - Uber and the Indian company Ola.

Operators offering metered taxis at ₹10 per km (Most of them are now charging ₹12 per km for an Indica, ₹10 continues in case of Maruti Omni) with a minimum charge is ₹80 in most cases. Many taxi services prefer not to book trips that are only a short distance.

  • Red Cabs, +91 40 22552255. Minimum charges: Per hour ₹250 for km, taxis at ₹10 per km. Detailed tariff on website. All types of cars available.
  • Taxigk, +91 8121725725. Minimum charges. Detailed tariff on website. All types of cars available.
  • Meru Cabs, +91 40 44224422. Offers taxis at ₹40 for first 2 km and ₹21 per km after that. Night tariffs (23:00-05:00) are higher.
  • Green Cabs, +91 40 24606060. Offers taxis at ₹10 per km. Detailed tariff on website.
  • Genie Cabs, +91 40 33993399. Offers hatchback cars at ₹100 for the first six km and ₹16 per km after that. Night tariffs (23:00-05:00) are higher.
  • Hyderabad cabs, +91 40 20005000.
  • Dot cabs, +91 40 24242424. Offers taxis in two variants, each with point-to-point fares and metered fares. Detailed tariff on website. The two variants are a sedan (usually Renault Logan), or a family car (Toyota Innova).
  • [dead link] ZipaRide, +91 040-2333 3356.

By car[edit]

Hyderabad has an underdeveloped road system, leading to traffic jams during rush hours. The 160 km-long Ring Road Expressway circles the outside of the city, and may be faster than driving straight through the city.

Like elsewhere in India, driving is "exciting" in Hyderabad. You find cycles, motor cycles, rickshaws, hand carts, autos, share autos, mini trucks, buses, vestibule buses, and double deckers 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. Several modern flyovers now link the arterial roads.

Rental cars[edit]

Several car rental agencies are available at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport as well in the following locations.

On foot[edit]

Hyderabad's interesting districts are fairly spread out, but are enjoyable to explore by foot on their own. 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 are 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. Walking can be hazardous in Hyderabad. It is common for roads to be missing pavement, or simply unpaved, and bikes and auto-rickshaws may go to right up to the edge of the road and climb any barrier to get ahead in traffic. Walking alongside and crossing the road can be very dangerous and it is important to stay alert for erratic driving. Always use the foot-over bridge if there is one available.

See[edit]

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles

Do[edit]

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles
  • Heritage walk, Char Minar. 07:00-09:00 every Sunday and 2nd Saturday. They are organized by the AP tourism department and led by a knowledgeable guide and Tourist Police. There are several flavors of walks so far, one that ends at Chowmohalla palace, and the other 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.
Bungee Trampoline at NTR Park

Learn[edit]

  • [formerly dead link] Bodhi Sampanna, +91 98 663 24910, e-mail: . The centre, whose name means 'an abode endowed with Bodhi', is a centre for the study and practice of Mahayana Buddhism following the lineage and example of Lord Buddha. Bodhi Sampanna was founded in 2009 and is a part of Dharma Megha Foundation. The Centre offers courses in various Buddhist meditation techniques and teachings on different aspects of Buddhism. Teachings are offered free to the public and are conducted in English or in Tibetan (with translation in English).

Buy[edit]

Individual listings can be found in Hyderabad's district articles

Supermarkets in Hyderabad include Spencer's, Big Bazaar, Heritage Fresh, METRO Cash & Carry, Reliance Fresh, D Mart, and others. Each has 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 has many variants like mutton 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.

Hyderabdi Biryani(left) and other dishes(right)

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 lamb 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.

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. Hyderabad House (restaurant) on Wikipedia Hyderabad House (Q17055607) on Wikidata
  • Minerva Coffee Shop. Bit of a local institution, serving tasty vegetarian South and North Indian snacks and food. has 4 locations. ₹ 150.
  • 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.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Chung Hua. 11:30-15:30, 19:00-22:30. Try out the Thai varieties, nice, cosy place. Has 2 locations ₹ 300.
  • Wang's Kitchen. 12:30-15:30, 19:00-23:30. An upmarket Chinese restaurant, has two locations ₹ 500.

Bakeries, cafes, sweet shops and fast food[edit]

Hyderabad has a large number of outlets that are positioned 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 and Java Green outlets are good places to have coffee and conversations.

  • Deli 9. 09:30-22:30. Bakery and cafe. Cakes, pastries, quiches and puffs. 2 locations. ₹ 200.
  • Pulla Reddy Sweets, is an iconic 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.

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 Hi-tech city, and commuting from any of the above areas, except perhaps Banjara Hills, is not a good option because of the traffic. Areas around Hi tec city are Madhapur, Kondapur and Gachibowli. For longer term stays, you might want to consider serviced apartments.

Connect[edit]

Post Office[edit]

India Post, 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. If you have a non-working phone number with only 7 digits try to add "2" in front of it. There are public booths scattered around the city.

Mobile phones[edit]

The rate for Indian 'phones is around 1 paise per second for local/national calls. It is very easy to get a prepaid mobile, which are very cheap to buy and for calls. As per government regulations a photo ID and a photograph are required for prepaid postpaid 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 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 2007, Hyderabad has suffered from several terrorist bombings, the last one in 2013. These blasts have taken 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, 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 religious 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 (toll free) ☎ 108
  • Child Line Facility ☎ 1098
  • Police (toll free) ☎ 100
  • Fire (toll free) ☎ 102
  • For any other basic information call up Just-Dial ☎ 8888888888(ten 8s)

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 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, fullhyderabad.com is popular. Siasat and Munsif are the main newspapers for the Urdu speaking population.

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

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 stop. It is a marvelous 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.
  • Ramoji Film City — The world's largest film studio, though most of the shooting takes place outdoors. Many Telugu and Hindi films are produced here. Tourists can tour the studios, and there are two hotels. A 1-hour drive east of the city.
  • 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.
  • Yadagiri Gutta — around 60 km east of Hyderabad, features the Narsimha 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.