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Hyderabad

Hyderabad, the city of Charminar and capital of Andhra Pradesh, was founded by Quli Qutab Shah. Legends say that the foundation of the city is the result of a love story between the prince and a village belle. To appease his beloved, Bhagmati, he named the city Bhagnagar (the city of good fortune) which later changed to Hyderabad. Modelled after Isfaan in Iran, the city was meant to be a symbol of the might of the Qutab Shahi rulers. When it was completed in 1592, the city received lavish praises from many visitors including Tavernier and Abbe Carr.

Hyderabad is also the city of fabulously rich Nizams, the stories of whose hordes of gold, diamonds and pearls spread far and wide. Present-day Hyderabad is a place where tradition and modernity meet: besides preserving its rich cultural heritage, the city has also emerged as a frontrunner in the field of information technology.

Sightseeing:

Charminar:
Situated in the heart of Hyderabad, the grand Charminar has four wide roads radiating in the four cardinal directions. You can see the four minarets from miles. It is a square structure, each measuring 100 feet and a high central pointed arch. There are numerous small decorative arches arranged vertically as well as horizontally on the whole edifice. The structure has been made elegant by adding the projected canopy, ornamental brackets and decoration in stucco plaster. The Charminar has two galleries, one over other. The exterior of the Charminar is its most beautiful part, surrounded by a thriving market. There are four magnificent arches known as Char Kaman situated near Charminar. They were the gateway to Zilu Khana or antechamber of the royal palace. The arches have been named Machli Kaman, Kali Kaman, Sher Gil Ki Kaman, and Charminar Ki Kaman.

Hussain Sagar Lake:
Built by Ibrahim Qutab Shah in 1550, the Hussain Sagar Lake is a large artificial lake lying between Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The lake was created in gratitude to Hussain Shah Wali, who had cured Ibrahim Qutab Shah of a disease. A huge statue of Lord Buddha has been put into the centre of the lake.

Salarjung Museum:
The Nawab/’s collection of European art, glass and Chinese jade, ivory, porcelain, bronzes, illuminated manuscripts and jewelled weapons, including the Empress Noor Jehan/’s bejewelled dagger and the Nawab/’s own diamond-encrusted sword, is now housed in a big government building called the Salar Jung Museum. The collection in the Salar Jung Museum is the labour of love of a single family who had been invested with the title of Salar Jung Bahadur. Today the museum is under a board set up by an Act of Parliament and housed in its own building.

Osmania University:
The University was established in the year 1918 and named after its founder, the then ruler of Hyderabad Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur. Today, the university is one of the largest in India and attracts students not only from its home state but from all over the country and even abroad.

State Central Library:
Located in Afjalgunj, the library was initially known as Asafia Library and then Hyderabad State Library. It is considered as one of the best among the Indian manuscript libraries. The library was established in 1891 by Nawab Imad-ul-Mulk, Director of public institutions in Nizam/’s Government.

Naubat Pahad:
Naubat Pahad is a hilltop tourist spot that gives superb views of Hyderabad. On the top of the hill is Birla Temple, B.M. Birla Science Centre, and the Archaeological Museum. In old days royal firmans (announcements) were read to the people to the beat of drums from this hilltop.

Excursions From Hyderabad:

Bidar:
Lying 110 km northwest of Hyderabad, Bidar was the consecutive capitals to the mighty Bahamanis and Barid Shahi dynasty. Within the fortified area there is a vast range of palaces, mosques, baths, schools and tombs. The major attractions are the tombs at Ashtur and Gawan/’s Madarsa.

Golconda Fort:
Located at a distance of around 8 km west of Hyderabad, Golconda Fort was the headquarters of the Qutab Shahi Dynasty between 1512 to 1687. Once the centre point of an empire whose boundaries touched Bay of Bengal, the fort is stretched just 7 km today. Durbar Hall is a 1000-step climb and on the top of it is a panoramic view of the ruins of the fort and other landmarks of Hyderabad. The main attractions inside the fort are the heavily studded Balahisar Gate, the Grand Portico, the bodyguard barracks, the Nagina Bagh or royal garden, and a 12-metre deep water tank. The Sri Jagdamba Temple, Rani Mahals, and Taramati Mosque are also housed here.

Nagarjunkonda :
Located about 160 km from Hyderabad, Nagarjunsagar is perhaps India/’s first island-museum. The place presents a panorama of human evolution in the lower Krishna river valley from the prehistoric age to medieval times. The main attractions here include Simhala Vihara (monastery for Ceylonese monks), Mahastupa (considered the oldest structure on the island containing some corporal relics of Lord Buddha), and a Ashwamedh site. There is an architectural museum here containing mithuna couples in varying moods, a collection of antiquities ranging from the bust of a Gandharv to figures of dwarfs, yakshis, coins, pottery, a model of the submerged valley, and exhibits of some Stone Age implements such as wedges, axes, arrowheads, spearheads and some broken pottery.

Warangal:
Famous for its thousand-pillared temple—a famous specimen of the Chalukya architecture—Warangal is situated 157 km north-east of Hyderabad. The fort of Warangal was constructed by the Kakatiyas between the 12th and 14th centuries. You can see the ruins of the mud-brick fort that still survive in certain portions. The great temple at Harnamkonda was built by king Rudra Deva on the slopes of the hill in 1163. The temple has exquisitely carved pillars. The entrance to the temple has a monolithic structure of Nandi sitting on guard at the entrance along with rock-cut statues of elephants on either side. The fort suffered much destruction in the 14th century after it was conquered by Muhammad Tughlaq.

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