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The Old City of Hyderabad is the historic centre of the city. Established by Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591, successive rulers of the Qutb Shahi dynasty and subsequently the Nizams ruled their domains from here. They built many iconic monuments that are of interest to travellers. Most prominent among these is the Char Minar. The monuments are not the only reminders of the past though. In the crowded lanes of the old city, you will find a distinct culture that came about when the Islamic rulers interacted with their Hindu subjects. Dakhini, the dialect of Hindi/Urdu that is spoken in the Deccan, is the street language here. The shops around the Char Minar sell chooris (glass bangles) and henna as they have for centuries, and hoardings advertising schools that teach English but still have Islamic heritage represent the city's struggles to navigate the modernity that is closing in on it without losing its soul.

Get in[edit]

Map of Hyderabad/Old City

Map of Old City, Hyderabad

Two national highways NH-66 (formerly NH-9) and NH-44 (formerly NH-7) pass through Old City, as does the Inner Ring Road. However, the roads are very narrow, encroached upon and so full of pedestrian and slow-moving vehicular traffic that driving here is a challenging experience even for the most experienced Indian driver. Take a taxi or an auto-rickshaw if at all possible. Network connectivity may be poor in parts of the Old City, which may prevent you from hailing a ride from an app.

Bus service is good. The Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, more commonly known as Imlibun is located in the Old City.

  • 1 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: +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.

The following MMTS stations serve the Old City:

  • 2 Falaknuma MMTS Station (FM, Telugu: ఫలకనుమ రైల్వే స్టేషన్) (Near to Taj Falaknuma Palace, Barkas Cemetery, Jama Masjid Farooq-e-Azam, Simhavahini Mahankali Temple, and Udden Gadda Commercial area, Chandrayan Gutta localities are accessible from here).
  • 3 Uppuguda MMTS Station (HPG) (Huppuguda Gurudwara, Chitragupta Devalayam temple, Aliabad suburb, Shalibanda suburb and Darushifa Jama Masjid, Masjid Haji Kamal, Masjid Naya Pul, Iqbal Hotel, Ajwa Hotel and Choice Hotel all last five in Darushifa, Charminar monument and mosque, Laad Bazaar bangles market, Pather Gatti pearls market, Makkah Masjidare accessible from here).
  • 4 Yakutpura MMTS Station (YKA) (Masjid E Elahiya, Masjid Hazarim, Hanuman Temple of Madannapet Colony, Madannapet Mandi Vegetable Market, Pisal Banda's Paigah Tombs, Jamia Masjid Arafaat Sunni Mosque, National Hospital and Apple Hospital, Zahra Abdul Rahman Mosque, Masjid-E-Quba are accessible from here). Yerra Gunta Pond with a Hindu crematorium, big Saidabad's mansions of nawabs, Ameen Manzil Royal Palace in Saidabad suburb, Venkateshwara Temple and Kankadurga Temple, Reliance Fresh store and Sunday fish market in Santoshnagar suburb,
  • 5 Dabeer Pura MMTS Station (DQR) (Chanchalguda Central Jail, Qabrastan Park, HEH The Nizam's Museum or City Museum , Purani Haveli Palace, Salar Jung Art Museum at Darushifa, Fateh Khan Bazar are accessible from here).
  • 6 Malakpet MMTS Station (MXT) (Masjid-e-Qadriya, Jagannath Temple, Sahifa Masjid, BSNL Telephone Exchange, Kothapet Fruit Market, Padmavamshi Textile Market, Victoria Memorial Home, Saroornagar Lake, East Zone Municipal Council, Gaddiannaram Mahalakshmi theatre, Asmangadh Fort /located near NH-9/; Birla Archaeological Museum /near Asmangadh/, Mini Tank Bund / along the banks of Saroornagar Lake/, Indira Priyadarshini Park /on this Mini Tank Bund/, Jain Mandir /on the Maruthinagar-Chaitanyapuri stretch, about 1.5 km from Dilsukhnagar Bus Depot/, Narasimhaswamy Temple /in Chaitanyapuri on high rocks on the banks of the river Musi. The temple is famous as the Konda Gudi in the Chaitanyapuri area/, Chaderghat bridge, APSRTC bus terminal MGBS /Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station is located 0.5 km from Chaderghat/ are accessible from here).
  • 7 Kachiguda MMTS Station (KCG) (Narayanguda's YMCA, Osmania University, book shops in Koti, Giriraj lane's electronic shops, Lord Krishna Temple on Giriraj lane, Hanuman Temple, Hyderabad ISKCON Temple, General Post Office, old Taj Mahal hotel, Samasthan Gadwal Handloom Shopping Centre, the Government Building of Andhra Pradesh State Financial Corporation, Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Office Building, Maheshwari Palace Shopping Mall, New Marketing complex on Tilak Road, Mubarak Bazaar in Abids and the President Plaza are accessible from here).

See[edit]

Ancient sites[edit]

Charminar
  • 1 Charminar. M-Sa 09:00-17:00, closed on F 13:00-14:00 for prayers. Literally "Four minarets" (Char means four and Minar means minarets). Quli Qutb Shah built the Charminar in 1591 at the very spot at which he prayed for the end to the plague epidemic. The Charminar, made of pulverized marble, limestone, mortar and granite, has long been the icon of Hyderabad. The towers rise to a height of 48.7 m above the ground. It has 140 steps. Graffiti on the walls have diminished the beauty of the Charminar. There is a mosque with 45 prayer spaces located inside in the upper storeys. The structure stands in the middle of a busy road. The traffic has been stopped and the area is pedestrian access only. Atop the minarets, you get a panoramic view of Hyderabad city; to reach the top of the monument, there are 149 winding steps to the upper floor. At the very bottom of one of the minar, there is a Hindu temple. The traffic is terrible. Plan an early morning trip around 09:00 if shopping is not on the to do list. There is a separate entry way for foreigners. If taking trains, you can take an auto (₹25) or walk from Yakutpura (~25 minutes). ₹25, Children below 11 free (for Indians), ₹200 (for foreigners), Video cameras are charged ₹25 extra. Charminar (Q1771696) on Wikidata Charminar on Wikipedia
  • 2 Chowmahalla Palace, Khilwat, 20-4-236, Motigalli, +91 40 2452-2032. Sa-Th 10:00-17:00, closed on National Holidays. Situated near Charminar, it was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizam entertained his official guests and royal visitors. ₹50 (for Indians), ₹200 (for foreigners), camera permit ₹50. Chowmahalla Palace (Q3380670) on Wikidata Chowmahalla Palace on Wikipedia
  • 3 Falaknuma Palace, Engine Bowli, Falaknuma. Built by Nawab Viqar al-Umra in 1872, Falaknuma is a stunning piece of architecture and the most opulent of the Nizam's palaces. The interior is particularly impressive and features the works of Florentine sculptors and a 100-seater dining table. The palace has been converted into a hotel run by the Taj group and is no longer accessible to the general public. Falaknuma Palace (Q2263539) on Wikidata Falaknuma Palace on Wikipedia
  • 4 H.E.H The Nizam's Museum, Purani Haveli (Behind Princess Durru Shehvar Children's Hospital), +91 40 2452 1029. Sa-Th 10:00-17:00. Home to the famous wardrobe of Mahbub Ali Pasha, who is said never to have worn the same thing twice. It is the world's longest wardrobe, built in two levels with a hand-cranked wooden lift (elevator) in place. This occupies the entire length of one wing of the palace. Hard to find, take small road next to Princess Durru Shehwar Hospital, entrance gate. ₹50, students & children ₹15. Nizam Museum (Q15727606) on Wikidata Nizam Museum on Wikipedia
  • 5 Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower. A five-storied architectural clock tower which was built in 1892. Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower (Q24906388) on Wikidata Mahboob Chowk Clock Tower on Wikipedia
  • 6 Purani Haveli, Dewandevdi, Pathar Gatti (SE of Afzalganj Bridge). Sa-Th 10:30AM-5PM. Originally, the palace of the Nizam's Prime Minister, later it was renovated and became the quarters of the Nizam's son. It is a U-shaped complex with a single-storeyed building in the European style. Purani Haveli (Q7260842) on Wikidata Purani Haveli on Wikipedia
  • 7 Salar Jung Museum, Naya Pul, Afzalgunj (Turn left once you reach the south bank of Musi using the Nayapul), +91 40 2452 3211. Sa-Th 10:00-17:00, ticket office closes at 16:15.. This collection belonged to the Salar Jungs, Prime Ministers of Hyderabad, but has been augmented since. The collection includes articles mostly from medieval and modern times, with a concentration of articles from the Islamic era. The western wing on the second floor is interesting. It contains paintings, furniture and other objects that the Salar Jung got from the West. The collection of Nizam jewellery is displayed only on special occasions. Free guided tours lasting two hours each are available at scheduled times, four times a day. Inquire at the entrance. Cameras, bags and liquids are not allowed, but mobile cameras are winked at. Deposit your contraband at the free lockers available near the ticketing area. ₹20 for Indians and ₹500 for foreigners. Salar Jung Museum (Q1864572) on Wikidata Salar Jung Museum on Wikipedia
  • 8 Purana pul. A bridge over the Mosi River, built in 1578. Purana pul (Q7260831) on Wikidata Purana pul on Wikipedia
  • 9 The High Court of Andhra Pradesh, High Court Rd, Nayapul (Near Govt. City College).
  • 10 Khursheed Jah Devdi (Khursheed Jah Bahadari). A palace, once home to the Paigah nobles.

Mosques[edit]

Mecca Masjid
Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad
  • 11 Mecca Masjid (SW of the Char Minar). One of the oldest mosques in the city, and easily the biggest. Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah began building it in 1617 under the supervision of Mir Faizullah Baig and Rangiah Choudhary. Mughal emperor Aurangzeb completed the construction in 1694. The mosque is a granite giant with awe-inspiring innards. The main hall of the mosque is 75 feet high, 220 feet wide and 180 feet long, big enough to accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time. It is believed that Muhammed Quli commissioned bricks to be made with the soil brought from Mecca and inducted them into the construction of the central arch of the mosque, which explains the name of the mosque. The arched facades have been carved from a single piece of granite. Women must mandatorily have dupatta / shawl to get entry into the premises. Women can not wear skin-tight pants or leggings into the mosque, so wear something loose-fitted. Mecca Masjid (Q536288) on Wikidata Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad on Wikipedia
  • 12 Badshahi Ashurkhana. A mourning place for Shia Muslims, built in 1594. Badshahi Ashurkhana (Q4841150) on Wikidata Badshahi Ashurkhana on Wikipedia
  • 13 Jama Masjid Darushafa (Darul Shifa Jama Masjid).
  • Mian Mishk mosque. Built in the 17th century. Located on Karwan Road, close to the Purana Pul bridge. Mian Mishk Masjid (Q6827561) on Wikidata Mian Mishk Masjid on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

Jewellery and Pearl shop in Laad Bazaar

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Laad Bazaar (next to Charminar). Exotic lacquer and glass bangles market. Laad Bazaar (Q6466530) on Wikidata Laad Bazaar on Wikipedia
  • Imitation Jewellery. From Charminar.
  • 2 Gulzar House. Retail market for ladies.

Eat[edit]

  • Safeena Bakers, Charminar, Alijah kotla. 08:00-22/00. Baked biscuits, cakes and burgers. Has 3 outlets:
  • Pista House, 20-4-140/1-8, Shalibanda Rd, Charminar, +91 93965-00786. 10:00-23:00. Famous bakery in Hyderabad world famous haleem only available during Ramadan, cost around ₹ 150 per person.
  • 1 Nimrah Cafe & Bakery, Shop No 20 - 4 - 1238 Champapet Main Road, Charminar (Next to Macca Masjid), +91 98480 89343. Daily 4AM-11PM. The most well-known cafe selling Irani chai and Osmania biscuits in Hyderabad. Very crowded.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Connect[edit]

This district travel guide to Old City is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.