A Local’s Guide to Things to do in Hyderabad

Find yourself in the city of pearls for 2 days? Here is a quick guide to things to do in Hyderabad. Including where to eat and what to see for a truly local experience.

Things to do in Hyderabad

1. Go on a Heritage Walk in the Old City of Hyderabad

Conducted by the Telangana Tourism Department, this guided walk through the lanes of the old city, happens every Sunday from 7:30 am to 9 am. There are four walks to choose from, to explore the architectural and historical splendour of the city, but the walk from Charminar to Chowmahalla Palace remains the most popular.

2. Naubat Pahad | Science Museum & Birla Planetarium

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A View of Birla Mandir from Naubat Pahad

The Sky Show at Birla Planetarium is popular across quite a few of the bigger cities in India, but here in Hyderabad, where it is located on one of the more popular hillocks of the City, the Naubat Pahad, it gives you two additional reasons to visit. One for the sweeping views of the Hussain Sagar and the pristine white Birla Mandir. And the other,  for its Science Museum. The interactive science section here at the Museum has been engaging children and adults alike in exploring the basic laws of Physics in a fun way for over 27 years now.

3. Sunset Boating on Hussain Sagar

And who hasn’t seen pictures of the famous  Buddha Statue of Hyderabad, believed to be the tallest monolith of the Gautama Buddha. Take an evening boat ride in the Hussain Sagar to see the Buddha against the backdrop of a setting sun.

This white granite statue of the Buddha was consecrated by the Dalai Lama himself!

4. Go on a Road Trip

Been there done that? Looking for some offbeat experiences? Then head out on the road to discover the unexplored side of Telangana. Plan your trip to include anything from forgotten forts to secluded waterfalls.

Here are some useful guides to help you design your road trip from Hyderabad.

What to See in Hyderabad

1. Old City | Charminar, Laad Bazaar & MJ Market

See the iconic Charminar by the evening lights of the fruit sellers or on an early Sunday morning when it is at its atmospheric best with the Jummeraat Bazaar that pop ups enroute Charminar every sunday.  While there, also check out Laad Bazaar, an entire lane dedicated to selling colourful bangles. Nothing else gives you a feel of old Hyderabad like this traditional bazaar.

One can also go up a minaret of Charminar to take in the entire old city – the heart of Hyderabad from its balconies.

Read Other Stories from The Old City of Hyderabad

Standing Still: Moazzam Jahi Market
Heart of Hyderabad: Old City

2. Qutb Shahi Tombs

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One of the Domes of the Qutb Shahi  Tombs

Though they don’t rank high on the typical tourist checklist, the Qutb Shahi Tombs are yet another must visit. Some of the areas of this expansive  complex are undergoing restoration, in the hopes of bringing this mausoleum onto the coveted list of UNESCO Heritage Sites.

3. Golconda Fort

Golconda Fort, believed to be the strongest of the Deccan Forts holds number one spot on every traveller’s Hyderabad itinerary and rightly so. For the earthy brown monument with its manicured lawns isn’t just beautiful. The architectural designs to draw water and even cool the citadel on a hot day are intriguing. Also, the trek up to the summit of the fort is invigorating, specifically around sunset.

Read: Through The Ages: Golconda

4. Chowmahalla Palace

And when one has had enough of ruins and tombs, then a visit to the Chowmahalla Palace is sure to refresh you with a peek into the the erstwhile life of the Nizams of  Hyderabad.

5. Birla Mandir

Built in a mix of Dravidian and Rajasthani architectural styles, the Birla Mandir is a beautiful marble structure sitting – in all its pristine white splendour – atop a hillock on the banks of the Hussain Sagar. The temple is dedicated to Venkateswara Swamy is a quiet and serene  place.

Where to Eat – like a local – in Hyderabad

If you want to eat like a local in Hyderabad, then it isn’t just about the biryani or the haleem, you start your day with an Irani Chai and a side of Osmania Biscuits at Nimrah Cafe. Located bang opposite the Charminar, this landmark is the starting point for many a walk in the old city of Hyderabad, be that a photo walk or a food walk.

Just as iconic are Paradise and Pista House – ‘world famous in Hyderabad’ as one would put it – the former famous for biryani and the latter for haleem.

The city also boasts of eateries that grew from just a bandi (handcart) to full fledged multi storeyed cafes and restaurants. Amongst these are the Gokul Chaat Bhandar and Ram ki Bandi. Both worth a visit, for their chaats and dosas.

And if you are a vegetarian in Hyderabad, against popular belief, you needn’t despair. For you have an entire street that comes alive every evening and serves up everything from a dabeli or a vada pav to a fruit flavoured soda or a malai kulfi. That is Sindhi Colony for you. It is such a hit among the youngsters for street food that within hours of opening, most of these joints sell out. So be there in Sindhi Colony by five any evening, if you want to try out everything.

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