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Tourist places in Hyderabad city

Discussion in 'South India' started by Manvir, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Manvir

    Manvir New Member

    I am taking some friends from abroad to Hyderabad, and they want to go there to purchase some pearls which Hyderabad is famous for.

    I would also have to take them sightseeing while there and need some help in knowing about the tourist places in Hyderabad city. I am not from Hyderabad and have not been there myself, so have no knowledge about the area of the places to visit there.
     
  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello, @Manvir, welcome to the forum!


    Overview

    A stroll around the Old City of Hyderabad can give you a glimpse of the bygone era, which was once ruled over by the Nizams. Prior to the Nizams, the Qutub Shahi dynasty also gave much influence to the culture and traditions of the city. Now, Hyderabad is one of India's most populated and developed cities yet it still holds some significant remnants of the past. The home of the legendary biryanis and pearls, Hyderabad marvels not only in its attractions, but also in its cuisine and jewelries. The warmth of the locals, which is comprised of various religious dominations, also help the tourist in enjoying sightseeing in the city because it's easy to get guidance or help from them. In this guide, we would highlight the best tourist attractions in the City of Pearls that one can cover during their sightseeing trip.

    Tourist Places in Hyderabad City

    Historical
    • Charminar - Standing at the heart of the Old City is the Charminar, literally translated to 'Four Towers.' It is the main landmark of the city and a mere mention of Hyderabad warrants a mention of the Charminar as well. Its location is quite chaotic though, set amidst the old market areas of the city, which is why it's rare to find the attraction without throngs of tourists, be it Indians or foreigners. The four-minaret structure was built by Mohammad Quli Qutub Shah during the end of the 16th century. The exact purpose for the building of the Charminar is not known though many speculate it's to symbolise the ending of a plague in the city. It is comprised of two floors, the ground floor is open to the public and gives one a good view of the surroundings while the topmost floor isn't open to the public as it houses a mosque. Influences of Islamic architecture are evident in the design, from the floral-laid bulbous domes of the minarets and pointed arches.
    • Falaknuma Palace - A palace built to mirror the captivating beauty of the skies, hence the name Falaknuma, literally translated to 'Skylike.' Yet another must visit attraction of the city, though it requires one to either stay in one of the rooms of the property or dine in one of their fine dining restaurants. As opulent as the name is, the same goes for the rates for these stays or dining experience. It's every bit worth it though as the property has been painstakingly renovated by the Taj Group of Hotels to mimic the grandeur of the past. Originally, the palace was built by Nawab Sir Viqar Ul Umra during the year 1884. It took over 9 years before the palace was completed. The palace features lavish Italian and Tudor architectural styles, from the pure white facade, to the low arches and domes. The interiors are just as stunning, if not more, with the exquisite marble staircase, Venetian chandeliers and ceilings lined with intricate frescoes. It's hard to focus on just one area once inside as there are rare artefacts like furnitures, statues and books that warrant your attention as well. It is believed that Mehboob Ali Pasha Nizam VI was so captivated by the palace's beauty that he extended his short stay here from a few days into a month! Thereafter though, the palace was bought by the sixth Nizam before being bought by the renowned Taj Group of Hotels.
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    Falaknuma Palace (Image from Taj Falaknuma Website)
    • Chowmahalla Palace - The Chowmahalla Palace was completed during the rule of Afzal-ad-Dawlah or Asaf Jahi V. It served as the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad during their rule of over 100 years in the city. Originally though, the construction for the palace begun during the middle of the 18th century, under the rule of Nizam Salabat Jung. The name Chowmahalla can be translated to Four Palaces, depicting the four main palaces that can be found in the premises, namely: Afzab Mahal, Aftab Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, and Tahniyat Mahal. These four palaces are spread around a central courtyard and pond. There are additional structures in the premises like the crowd favourite, Khilwat Mubarak, also known as the Grand Durbar Hall, where you would find several chandeliers on display, or the Council Hall, where you would find collections of manuscripts and books.
    • Golconda Fort - Golconda, about 12 kilometres away from Hyderabad, was once the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty specifically, Raja Pratap Rudra Dev. According to local legends, there was once a shepherd who found an idol at the top of the hill called Mangalvaram. He informed the king, Raja Pratap Rudra Dev, about this and hence a mud fort was built on top of it. The name Golconda literally means Shepherd's Hill, named so after the shepherd who informed the king about the existence of the idol. Years after, the fort was expanded and strengthened by further rulers of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Much of the fort is already in ruins though you can still see the beauty and architectural prowess of the past in many sections of it. Right from the narrow pathway to the main Balahissar Gate, that allows for only human entrance because of its constricted design, or the acoustic roof just after the gate, wherein if you clap here, the sound can be heard on a specific location about a kilometre away. Interestingly, there are many more structures within the fort worth exploring, from temples, to mosques, to palaces and to ancient cannons.
    • Paigah Tomb Complex - A lesser known attraction in the city, about 12 kilometres away from the Old City of Hyderabad, is the Paigah Tomb Complex. In a nutshell, the Paigahs are the most loyal and trusted noblemen of the Nizams of Hyderabad. They are also known as the Shums Ul Umra clan and their lineage can be traced back to Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung. The Paigah Tomb Complex is comprised of two main sections, first is the main tomb or mausoleum area and the second is the mosque area. From the outside, you would witness the decay and almost ruined structures of the tombs. Don't let that discourage you from entering though as the real jewels lie inside. The first ever tomb constructed in the complex was the Tomb of Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung, which was the first person to be given the title of Paigah during the rule of the Nizams. Thereafter, tombs of various Paigahs are lined from his tomb. Noteworthy of which is the Tomb of Bashir-ud-Daulu, undoubtedly one of the best and most grand tombs in the complex. The tomb is surrounded by intricate jali or lattice-screen works in the marble windows. The ceilings and pillars are all carved with various geometrical and floral patterns as well. The Tomb of Hussain-un-Nissa Begum is also a work of art. The tomb itself has decorative precious stones glued together in a form of mosaic. What sets the Paigah Tombs apart from any other mausoleum is that it combines various architectural styles, from the Asaf Jahi, to Islamic, to Mughal, to Italian and to Persian.
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    Paigah Tomb Complex (Image from Nagarjun)
    • Qutub Shahi Tomb Complex - The Qutub Shahi Tombs are located close to the Golconda Fort, which was the capital of the Qutub Shahi dynasty during their reign in the region. Just like the previous attraction, the complex houses the tombs of the seven rulers of the Qutub Shahi dynasty, along with the tombs of their families and most loyal noblemen. The eighth and last ruler, Abul Hasan Qutb Shah, doesn't have a tomb here because he was captured by Aurangzeb and died in prison. To distinguish the tombs of the kings from the other family members or noblemen, golden spires were installed at the top of each dome of the royal tombs. The first ever tomb to be built here was that of the first ruler of the dynasty, the Tomb of Sultan Quli Qutb Shah. But when it comes to the grandest tomb, it has to the the Tomb of Sultan Muhammad Qutb Shah, the sixth ruler of the dynasty. The tomb is spread over two levels, with a large dome having the golden spire above. Each of the four corners of the first level has seven arches and each of the four corners of the second level has five arches. From the exterior, you would see various intricate floral and geometric carvings. The interiors are a bit sublime but still has an assortment of intricate carvings in the ceilings and walls. There's also a mosque and temple within the complex premises that one can visit. In contrast to the former tomb complex, the Qutub Shahi Tomb Complex blends only Persian and Hindu styles of architecture.
    Religious
    • Birla Mandir - Situated upon the hillock named Naubat Pahad, the Birla Mandir stands tall, with its pure white facade. As with all Birla temples, the Birla Mandir in Hyderabad is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara or Lord Vishnu. With its location, it's necessary to climb around 200 steps to reach the top. For the elderly and physically disabled individuals, there's a lift facility that you can utilise to reach the top as well. It took over 10 years for the temple to be fully completed and it was only in 1976 that it was opened to the public, under the management of Swami Ranganathananda. The exterior of the temple is largely South Indian in style especially the gopuram. The walls leading to the main shrine area has various carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. There are also some shrines dedicated to other deities like Shiva, Durga and Krishna. The main sanctum, with a North Indian style of architecture, houses an idol of Lord Venkateswara made from black granite and about 11 feet in height. In some areas of the temple, you can also find influences of the Utkala style of architecture.
    • Chilkur Balaji Temple - About 30 kilometres away from Hyderabad is the village of Chilkur. Here, the Chilkur Balaji Temple is located, which houses the deity known as the 'Visa Granting Balaji.' Who exactly built the temple isn't known although historians trace the year to around the 14th century. It is believed that a swayambhu idol of Lord Venkateswara appeared here after a devotee accidentally hit it with an axe. How the temple and the deity became a visa granting site though isn't known. But for many IT professionals, aspiring US travellers and more, the Chilkur Balaji Temple is their first step for fulfilling that dream. It's a requisite that the devotee does a circumambulation of the temple premises 11 times for his wish to be granted. And when it does get granted, he must come back to the temple and do another circumambulation, this time, around 108 times. In itself, the temple is very simple, with a colourful gopuram and a sanctum housing the idol of the Lord Venkateswara. It can get very crowded though as throngs of devotees visit the temple everyday.
    • Shri Jagannath Temple - A newer temple built around the year 2009 is the Shri Jagannath Temple, located in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad. Dedicated to Lord Jagannath or Lord Krishna, the temple has a muted red facade owing to the use of authentic red sandstone. It does resemble the original Jagannath Temple in Puri though in a smaller scale. Within the temple walls, there are various carvings depicting the life story of Lord Krishna as well as the other avatars of Lord Vishnu. You can also pay your respects to other Hindu deities like Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Bhimala and Goddess Lakshmi, which have smaller shrines within the temple premises. The main sanctum holds a wooden idol of Lord Jagannath, along with his siblings, Balabhadra and Subadhra. During night time, there's a light and sound show highlighting the history of the structure along with the story of the main deity. The show is conducted in both Hindi and Telugu, but not in English.
    • Sanghi Temple - This temple is located 31 kilometres away from the city centre of Hyderabad. It is close to the Ramoji Film City so you can combine a trip for these two together. The temple is situated upon a hillock named Paramanand Giri, which means you need to climb a bit to reach it. There are two approaches to reaching the temple, one is via car by a ghat lined path and the other is via foot by a stair-case path. Dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, it features a pure white facade and its main shrine has an idol of the mentioned deity. There are many more shrines in the temple though dedicated to other deities like Hanuman, Shiva, Padmavathy and Rama. In contrast to the other more popular temples, the Sanghi Temple exudes serenity and tranquility even on rush days.
    • Peddamma Temple - Peddamma, the manifestation of Durga that fought and defeated the demon, Maheshasura. As such, Goddess Peddamma is known as the Mother of Mothers and revered highly by many devotees. The Peddamma Temple is one of the most popular Durga temples in Hyderabad. Located in Jubilee Hills, the temple is easy to spot with its colourful gopuram. The architectural style of the temple can be compared to that of the temples in South India. In one area of the temple, you can also find people offering animals as sacrifices for the deity.
    • Mecca Masjid - Located just next to the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid, a mosque built during the rule of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shahi, the fifth king of the dynasty. The brick materials used for the central arches of the mosque are special, as they were made from soils brought from Mecca, the place where Islam started. Outside the mosque, there's a water tank that pilgrims used for washing or offering flowers as a form of respect. On the eastern side of the mosque, there are graves dedicated to various rulers of the Asaf Jahi dynasty or the Nizams of Hyderabad. The central grave is that of the 6th Nizam, Mehboob Ali Khan. The interior of the mosque is very simple, with blue tiled flooring and whitewashed walls. The main door and windows are a bright green colour which somehow contrasts the entire indoor area. There are clocks inside, depicting the various timings for prayers for the Muslims and also covered chandeliers, that are to be opened only during Ramadan.
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    Mecca Masjid (Image from Suraj)
    • St. Joseph's Cathedral - Last on this section is the oldest church of Hyderabad, the St. Joseph's Cathedral, located in Gun Foundry. Originally, the church was established in 1820 but several renovations and additions have been done to it thereafter. The most recent renovation was done in 2008 and completely changed the beauty of the church. The church features a traditional Roman Catholic style of architecture, which is very simple in design. Perhaps the most attractive feature of the exterior are its bell towers, comprised of Italy-imported bells. The interiors are also simple but contains important murals depicting the Stations of the Cross. The altar has a statue of St. Joseph holding the infant Jesus. There are also statues of the apostles located just outside the church.
    Museums
    • Salar Jung Museum - The Salar Jung Museum is one of India's largest and oldest museums. The museum was formed out of the collection of Salar Jung III, which was the Paigah during the reign of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur. It was only in the year 1968 when the collections were moved to their present location and finally, opened to the public. A bit of a background about Salar Jung III, he served the seventh Nizam for a few years before finally resigning, at a young age of 23, and dedicating his life to collecting such prized and eccentric artefacts. At first, his collections were housed in his ancestral home, the Dewan Devdi. But after his death, the place was neglected and unfortunately, many artefacts were stolen and looted. Fortunately, the government took action and now, his collections can be viewed in all their glory in this museum. The Salar Jung Museum houses a huge number of artefacts collected from all over the world and the country. Perhaps one of the most popular artefacts here is the Statue of the Veiled Rebecca, built by Giovanni Maria Benzoni and only has four copies in the world. This statue is made from marble but the artistry of the sculptor is showcased by the almost transparent appearance of the veil of Rebecca. There's also the Statue of Mephistopheles, a double-statue featuring the demon, Mephistopheles, on one side and Margaret, Faust's lover, at the other side. European paintings, miniature paintings, sculptures, weaponries and furnitures can also be found within the museum. Overall, it can take around a whole day to fully explore this museum and its vast collection.
    • Sudha Cars Museum - A unique and wacky museum at the heart of Hyderabad is the Sudha Cars Museum. Can you guess what it has on display? Nope, not vintage cars, nor miniature displays of cars. Give up yet? The Sudha Cars Museum has a collection of unique cars resembling everyday objects like handbags, shoes, burgers and even a toilet bowl. It was established in 2010 by innovative Sudhakar Yadav, who created the world's largest tricycle, weighing around three tons. The unique cars here are made from scratch by Sudhakar Yadav through otherwise junk materials. And yes, they actually do work in roads but imagine driving a stiletto-shaped car to work or even cricket bat-shaped car to the mall. The little ones would adore the miniature double-decker bus and mini cars on the exhibit.
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    Sudha Cars Museum (Image from Ramesh)
    • Surendrapuri - Yet another unique museum just 60 kilometres away from Hyderabad is the Surendrapuri. The temple was built by Kunda Satyanarayana and is also known as the Kunda Satyanarayana Kala Dhamam. The best feature of the open-air museum is that it has replicas of the most popular Hindu temples in India, so for those who have limited time, they can have an overview of the religious sites in just one place. The museum also depicts various scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, not in words, but in actual huge statues. The museum also has various depictions of holy places around India, but a crowd favourite is the recreation of the Ganga River in Haridwar. Depictions of heaven and hell can also be seen in the museum. Whether you're a devout Hindu or maybe a person of another religion, a visit to Surendrapuri is going to be worth it, especially if you love artistic depictions of mythology.
    • Birla Planetarium & Museum - Located close to the Birla Mandir is the Birla Planetarium & Museum. If you have children with you, then this is one attraction that you must add into your itinerary. The Planetarium showcases a film about the universe and celestial bodies. The film lasts for 45 minutes and there are various timings for the different languages, which are Telugu, Hindi and English. The Museum section would be enjoyed by the little ones. The exhibits are very interactive and lets them learn about science principles in a more enjoyable way. Concepts like gravity, equilibrium, optical illusion and many more are described through simple exhibits. On the topmost floor of the museum, there's an exhibit showcasing the skeleton of a dinosaur unearthed in the Adilabad region of Telangana.
    • Nizam Museum - Want to get a glimpse of the lavish lifestyle of the Nizams of Hyderabad? Then, head on over to the Nizam Museum, located in the Purani Haveli, which was the official residence of the Asaf Jahi III, Sikandar Jahi. The Purani Haveli was the old palace of the Nizams before the Chowmahalla Palace was built. The complex has now been converted into a full-pledged community with hospitals and colleges. The main palace building though has been converted into the Nizam Museum. Most of the artefacts here belonged to the Nizams who stayed in the palace. Noteworthy of which is the 280-feet long wooden wardrobe owned by Mehboob Ali Khan. This Nizam was known for his extensive collections of fabrics and boots, which was housed in this wardrobe, supposed to be the longest of its kind in the world. You can reach the wardrobe through a small hand-operated lift, also uniquely found only here. You would also find items like daggers, mirrors and walking sticks embellished with precious stones. Don't forget to view the rare paintings of the Nizams and their families scattered around the walls of the museum.
    Wildlife
    • Nehru Zoological Park - The Nehru Zoological Park is also known as the Hyderabad Zoo and is one of the most well-maintained zoos in the country. The zoological park has animals in caged enclosures though there is ample space for them to move around still. Perhaps this is what sets this zoo apart from other zoos and also the reason why they have been successful in breeding several species of animals for the past few years. You have various options for touring the zoo, as it is located amidst a vast expanse of land, like toy train, golf cart, bicycle or even by foot. For the elders though, it's best to choose any of the former two, toy train or golf cart. A wide range of wildlife can be viewed here, from giraffes, to rhinoceroses, to lions, to leopards, to jungle cats, to baboons and even the lazy sloth bears. The Nocturnal House is a great way of viewing wild animals that are awake only during night time. There's also a separate Butterfly Park and Aviary Park that one can visit. The zoo also conducts for safaris for viewing only tigers or lions.
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    Lion in Nehru Zoological Park (Image from Shilparya)
    • Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park - Although mainly used as a jogging and exercising place by the locals, the Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park also has an assortment of wildlife worth exploring. Covered in lush greenery, the national park provides for a breath of fresh air for the locals who are used to the hectic city life of Hyderabad. Peacocks are bountiful in the national park, showcasing their colourful and large feathers. Smaller animals like squirrels, butterflies and birds also reside in the national park. There's also a palace here once owned by the Nizams of Hyderabad, known as the Chiran Palace, that one can visit.
    Gardens
    • Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) Garden - The Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) Garden is located close to the Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. It was officially opened to the public in 2001 and has various areas for leisure. At the heart of the garden is the memorial dedicated to Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, which was a former minister of Andhra Pradesh. Then, there are various sections like a Bonsai Garden, Flower Garden and Cactus Garden. Children have special areas for playing complete with slides and swings. Fountains can be found lending some beauty to the garden. For the families, an enjoyable toy train ride can also be done within the premises. Boat riding is yet another activity that the whole family or couples can enjoy.
    • Lumbini Park - Standing adjacent to the Hussain Sagar is the Lumbini Park. The park was named after Lumbini in Nepal, which is believed to be the birthplace of Buddha. Overlooking the Buddha statue and the lake, this is the perfect place for enjoying the sunset in Hyderabad. For families, there are small children's rides here that they can enjoy as well, ranging from mechanised ones to slides and swings. The garden area is just very small but has ample seating for the tourists. There are also various boating facilities nearby the banks of the lake, at the premises of the park. At the end of the day, before night time falls, there's a Laser Show that you can't miss here as well. The Laser Show is conducted from the musical fountains accompanied with music. By the middle of the show, laser lights begin to accompany the music, shown through the mists of the water of the mountain.
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    Lumbini Park (Image from Tripod Stories)

    Water Bodies
    • Hussain Sagar - The main lake of Hyderabad is none other than the Hussain Sagar, which is surrounded by various parks. It was Ibrahim Qutb Shah Wali who commissioned for the building of this artificial lake. The lake is in a shape of a heart and has an island at the middle where a statue of the Gautama Buddha can be found. The lake was built from the damming of the Musi River. To reach the island, you can ride a mechanised boat from the Lumbini Park. There are also other boating facilities from the same park that would let you enjoy exploring the lake area. It is best visited during early morning when crowds are thinner or during early evening, just before sunset, for a more romantic vibe.
    • Osman Sagar - This is another lake created from the damming of the Musi River. The lake was named after Hyderabad's last Nizam, Osman Ali Khan or Asaf Jahi VII. As compared to the former lake, the Osman Sagar is lesser known and is a preferred spot of picnickers or lovers. Also known as the Gandipet Lake, it boasts of serene atmospheres and quite clean water. There are less availability of activities here so if you're someone who enjoys those, then you're better off heading to the Hussain Sagar. But if you want some time away from the city, maybe you'd have your fill of thrills already, then head on to the Osman Sagar for some quiet getaway.
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    Osman Sagar (Image from Sankarshansen)
    • Ameenpur Lake - A lesser known lake in the city is the Ameenpur Lake, located just a few kilometres away from Miyapur in Hyderabad. Although smaller than the previous lakes, the Ameenpur Lake is a biodiversity hotspot for various bird species. The best time for reaching the lake is just after monsoon season, when it is quite full and you can enjoy bird watching at the most. Commonly spotted species of birds here are red-rumped swallows, cormorants, green bee eaters, Indian pond herons, painted storks, egrets, yellow wagtails, sparrow larks and many more. The best part? There is still no entry fee for bird watching or visiting so you can enjoy it even with a tight budget by your side.
    Leisure
    • Ramoji Film City - It's almost a sin to visit Hyderabad and not venture into the Ramoji Film City. This modern day attraction is dubbed as the largest integrated film studio complex in the world. Boasting of over 1,666 hectares, over 40 sound studios and various permanent sets, the Ramoji Film City is a can't be missed attraction of the city. There are different packages that one can choose from, depending on the time you have or the places plus activities that you want to cover. Though visitors cannot always go close to the sets, you can enjoy viewing them from a distance. It is not impossible to create one full film from the variety of sets here, ranging from gardens, railway station, temple, jail, heritage sites and many more. There are also other sections in the film city. A favourite amongst children is the Fundustan & Kid's Zone, where there's a variety of dry rides that they can enjoy. Eureka is another section where shows can be enjoyed, like the Spirit of Ramoji, Movie Making and Wild West Stunt. It is also here that one can ride a toy train and enjoy Filmy Duniya, a short journey that takes you through the most famous monuments of the world. Other areas in the film city are a Butterfly Garden, Wings Bird Park and Sahas Adventure Park. If you intend to explore the film city fully, there are also some hotels within its premises that you can stay in.
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    Ramoji Film City (Image from Vinayaraj)
    • Wonderla - Wonderla is the leading theme park in India and has several branches in major cities, including Hyderabad. It consists of a water park and amusement park, which means you can get double the fun and excitement for just one price. The water park has plenty of fun slides, tube slides, rain dance area, lazy river area and of course, wave pool area. The amusement park section is vast with various rides suitable for small children, families or the thrill-seekers. Recoil is the newest addition of the amusement park to their list of thrilling rides. It's a reverse rollercoaster ride sure to turn your world upside down. Equinox is yet another thrilling ride, taking you into turns, heights, testing your very limits. Of course, children are not left out with their own sets of usual rides like carousel, mini ferris wheel and train.
    Conclusion

    With this guide, you can now plan your trip to Hyderabad more efficiently. You can choose to focus just on the historical sites or religious sites. If you have little ones with you, it helps if you incorporate some fun attractions like wildlife areas, parks, museums or leisure areas. If you do have a few days to spare for Hyderabad, then you can even cover all of these attractions for a more complete overview of the city. Whatever you decide, make sure you enjoy your stay in the city and don't forget to taste some authentic Hyderabad biryani!

    :)
     

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