As most must be aware, Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana. The weather here is almost always pleasant throughout the year. Hyderabad, the city of pearls and the biryani capital of the country. Hyderabad, with it’s beautiful Indo Islamic and Indo Saracenic architecture, age-old temples, the biggest film city in the world, and a lake at its heart. There is a little something for everyone in this wonderful metropolitan. In this listicle, we count down 15 places that architects must visit in Hyderabad.
This is the most famous monument in the city when one talks about Hyderabad, one talks about Charminar. As the name suggests, Charminar has four minarets about 48.5M high and is built out of granite, limestone, and mortar. It stands majestically tall amidst the colorful bangle shops in the labyrinth of Laad Bazaar of the old city and presents a stunning dazzling sight after nightfall. This is a fine example of Qutb Shahi architecture, the old city of Hyderabad was designed with Charminar at its center.
The structure of the Charminar is flawlessly square, with each side measuring 20m. The four imposing arches open into four different streets and are about 11m wide.
Visit the Charminar sometime at dusk and see the area transform upon nightfall. Try the chai, Haleem (seasonal), and the most authentic biryani while you are there, the locals love it. Explore the bazaars around it, soak in all the glory of the city.
2. Mecca Masjid
Mecca or Makkah Masjid was built during the rule of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. The three arched facades are one of the main highlights of the mosque. About 8,000 workers were hired to build the mosque. The Nizams of Hyderabad (except for the first and last) are buried at the mosque.
The entrance to the courtyard is one of the mosque’s most outstanding features with a rectangular, arched, and canopied building. One of the oldest mosques in the city, rich with history. About 100 meters from Charminar, a must-see sight.
Note: You may not be allowed inside the mosque if you do not follow the Islamic religion.
3. Golconda Fort
Another splendid example of Qutb Shahi architecture is Golconda Fort. Golconda has four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall surrounding them along with 87 semicircular bastions, four drawbridges, and gateways with several royal apartments & halls, temples, mosques, stables, etc. inside. The lowest of these is the outermost space into which we enter by the “Fateh Darwaza”.
At the Fateh Darwaza, one can experience a fantastic acoustic phenomenon, typical of the engineering marvels at that time. A hand clap or a snap of fingers at a certain point below the dome at the entrance echoes and can be heard clearly at the ‘Bala Hisar’ pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning note to the monarchs in case of an ambush.
The intricate carvings at the halls and gates and nooks and crannies, the wondrous gates, the pointed arches and domes, the Indo Islamic architecture at Golconda are at its full glory. When you visit the fort, make sure you stick around for the light and sound show. Have fun exploring this beauty.
4. Qutb Shahi Tombs
Located just outside Golconda, these are the tombs of the Royalty of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Most of the tombs have square raised bases and an arched corridor runs around them. They are mostly single or double-storey with huge bulbous domes at the top. Beautiful Indo Islamic architecture, basking in the sun, a sight to behold. There is a Baoli or Stepwell inside the main complex as well. It is all frozen poetry in time, a must-visit.
5. Spanish Mosque aka Begumpet Mosque
Now, Hyderabad has a beautiful blend of different cultures, religions, food, and people. And this lovely intermingling of differences can be seen in its varied architecture as well. The Spanish Mosque is one of the hidden treasures in the city. It is a single-storey structure coated in the color of green frost, a wondrous painting, frozen in time. The building is believed to be constructed in 1906.
There is a certain charm in this structure. It is also a wonderful example of Moorish architecture, derived from the Iberian Peninsula, based on the examples of hybrid architecture that mark historical Spain: Roman engineering, basilical halls, and features of ‘Islamic’ architecture like minarets and qibla walls.
The slender proportions of the minarets highlight the most notable aspect: the octagonal spires, the central one is topped by a crescent. The mosque does not have a bulbous shaped dome, which has come to become a symbolic indicator of an ‘Islamic’ construction.
The striking features of the mosque and its unusual architecture makes it a sight to see. It opens to all faiths on August 15th.
6. Salar Jung Museum
If you want to immerse yourself in a city’s experience, what better than the city museum. It has a collection of sculptures, paintings, and much more from India, Japan, Burma, Nepal, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. It is among the largest museums in the world. A definite go-to on this list!
Things to look out for in the museum – The veiled Rebecca; The 200-year-old musical clock – Every hour, a figurine comes out of the clock and clangs a bell. It a specter people gather for every hour and is one of the chief attractions in the museum; The Double Statue of Mephistopheles & Margaretta.
7. The markets of Koti and Abids
Now as an individual who has lived in this city my entire life, I have to tell you, these markets are so weirdly inspiring. They are about 2.5 KM from Salar Jung, so do visit these markets after you are done with the museum.
Koti is this magical book market in the city, cheap books, expensive books, fictional books, textbooks, you will find all kinds of books in here. It is also famous for being the Residency Market during the British Rule. The mere ambiance of this market is enough to get you all inspired for your story or your project or whatever it is that you might be working on. Not just books, it is also a great place to shop for clothing. There is a famous Chat shop you must try when in Koti – Gokul Chat.
While you are at it, try to see the Koti Women’s College as well. It is famous for its Indo Saracenic architecture.
Abids is another great place for street shopping and to just roam around and explore.
For a truly immersive experience of the city, I suggest you visit these places not only as architects looking for inspiration but as travelers too.
8. Tank Bund and Lamakan
Another authentic local experience is to visit Tank Bund. It is also called Hussain Sagar, a lake in the heart of the city with a Buddha statue right in the middle of it. Take a boat to the statue from Lumbini Park at Tank Bund. Also, watch the laser show in that park. Visit the Birla Temple while at Tank Bund, beautiful views, and beautiful temple architecture. Walk down the streets of Tank Bund in the night with ice cream or Murmura Chat in hand, the water glittering in the city lights by the side. A truly beautiful, calming, and inspirational experience.
Lamakan is an offbeat café in Banjara Hills, about 3.9 KM from Tank Bund. There is a stage on the premises where unique theatrical shows and events happen. There’s a good play of levels here. The overall vibes of the place make it a must-visit for an architect. Also, it is among the most inexpensive hangout joints in the city. Meet up with a friend in the city here, perhaps.
9. Chowmahalla Palace
Built by Nizams, this place has beautiful architecture. The Khilwat Mubarak, the Grand Durbaar is something one should look out for. Its grandeur and charm give it a spot on our list. One of the finest examples of European neo-classical architecture in the city.
10. Ramoji Film City
The largest film city in the world and among the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Doesn’t need much of an explanation. A must visit, for sure!
11. Karman Ghat Hanuman Temple
Among the oldest temples in the city. Believed to be 800 years old! It was built in the 12th century A.D (approximately 1143) by a Kakatiya king.
12. Sanghi Temple
About 35 KM from the city, this temple was completed in 1991 and displays Chola-Chalukya style of architecture. It is among the major spots for film shooting and is famous for its architecture.
13. Ammapalli Sita Ramachandraswamy Devasthanam
About 5 KM from the RGI airport, a true hidden treasure. “There are said to be no inscriptions on this temple but legend has it that it was built during the period of the Kalyani Chalukyas,” says the temple priest Anvesh Sharma.
The Gali Gopuram in the temple is a magnificent piece of art. One of the most ancient and beautiful places in the city.
Do not miss this 13th-century marvel!
14. Toli Masjid
Erected in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, this mosque boasts of Indo-Islamic architecture. Built on a raised platform, this masjid has two spacious halls. In the outer hall, there are five arched openings, each of which is adorned with lotus medallions in the spandrels.
15. Hitec City
HITEC city is an abbreviation of Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City. It is an information technology, engineering, and financial business district located in the city.
Hitec City defines the modern city skyline of Hyderabad. The Cyber Towers, the R & D Centre, the L & T Infocity are all wonderful examples of modern architecture in the city. Try to visit Shilparamam – An artificial village built in the city, a great tourist spot.
Do visit this place to get the real feel of Hyderabad as it is today, tall and proud.
Have a great visit! And do not forget to try the Biryani at Paradise!