Charminar is built on a history that reflects in its architecture and elegance. This graceful building is a square-shaped structure with the four beautiful minarets or towers that are about 48 metres in length from the ground, on all its four sides. On the apex part of this minaret you can see a dome below which there are small arch-shaped windows running around. This dome is adorned by petal-like pattern and is capped by a brass spire.
The building has four imposing arches, about 20 meters tall, facing the four directions with a row of small domed arches on each of the four arches. When you observe the carvings on these domes, you will find them very elaborate and worth appreciating. The entire building basically has two floors while each of the minarets has four storeys with delicately carved ring shaped balconies around. Arch-shaped windows run all along the balcony on the first floor. Inside these minarets there are spiral staircases (about 149 steps) that take you to the top most point. This is the peak where one can reach and get the panoramic view of this dynamic city at its foot.
On the western side of Charminar, on the roof of this monument, there is a small mosque, which is said to be the Oldest Surviving Mosque in Hyderabad. The remaining part of the roof was used as a court in Qutub Shahi times. There are nearly 45 prayer spaces on the top of this building. To the eastern side of this prayer space, there is a spacious veranda with small and large arches in the middle. The minarets and the arches (there are about 32 arches) that beautify almost entire Charminar complex, portrays a clear picture of the Islamic architecture but the structure as a whole symbolises the elements of South Indian Temple architecture.
In the hay days of the Nizam rule, Charminar was surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains with some prominent complexes and palaces like Mecca Masjid, Jamay Masjid, the Chow Mohalla Palace, Khilwat Mahal etc, in its near vicinity. Today, you can find the sprawling colourful bazaars (the famous Lad Bazaar) or the markets surrounding this historical monument. A great place to go shopping, you can just grab on some of the distinguished objects of Hyderabad like Hyderabadi pearls, the Lad bangles, bridal wear of numerous variety and many traditional souvenir artefacts. There are small food joints around, amidst the small shops, selling traditional local delicacies that are world famous.
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Osman Sagar popularly known as Gandipet Lake is one of the favourite Picnic Spots of most of the Hyderabadis. It is a beautiful lake located about 25 kms from The City. Gandipet is one of the two lakes that supplies drinking water to the great metropolis, the other being Manjeera Lake. The Osman Sagar is actually the tributary of River Moosi and is formed when a dam was constructed over it.
Today, it is the most hunted picnic spot surrounded by lush green gardens, picturesque landscape with the backdrop of water. During day time, the water in the lake dazzle as the sun s rays touches it. Towards evening, the cool breeze of the water and the beautiful sun setting gives a fantastic experience to the sit besides the water.
Most of them come here during the day time, spend time in the gardens, eat, relax and go. There is a play area for kids in the garden where they can have a great time playing. You can also stay here, as there are one or two good resorts like Golconda Resort. It is one of the best resorts in that area with rooms to stay and state-of-the-art facilities.
To explore the plethora of history of this 400-years old city, one has to visit the Golconda Fort, which has been standing grandiosely for years. Golconda Fort is one of the most magnificent fortresses in India. It has been wrapping around history and Hyderabad’s tradition from the time it was built.
Today, though it has fallen into ruins, you can still visualise the ups and downs the fort withstood. The entrance of the Golconda Fort is marked by Fateh Darwaza or the Victory Gate , so called after Aurangzeb s winning army marched in through this gate. It is studded with giant iron spikes. Amazing thing to note here is its acoustics effects, which can be heard some 200-300 meters away from the place. It gives you a real fantastic experience where you can know the communication skills of those times. If you stand at a particular place in this gateway and clap or shout, you can hear it somewhere about 300-400 metres on the top-most part of the fort. This was the means to convey any message or warm the other soldiers or the king of an enemy attack in those days. you can still hear this provided, the place is not very noisy.
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You will not understand the royalty, which the Nawabs enjoyed unless you visit their lavishly built palaces in the City Of Hyderabad. Falaknuma Palace is one such crown in the eternal glory of the Nawabs. It is really hard to say what is most breathtaking about this perpetual palace. It was originally built by a noble from the Paigah family, Vikar-ul-Umra Bahadur. He later became the Prime Minister of Hyderabad.
Falaknuma palace is situated about 4 Kms from Charminar, in the Old City area of Hyderabad, on a hill at an altitude of about 200 feet. The palace was designed by an Italian architect with Louis XIV style decor, a lavish Mughal ambience, the spacious Harem (female followers of a man) quarters, the kitchen, Italian marble staircase and metaphorical fountains. The entire palace is designed in the shape of a scorpion with the centre part as its main body and two identical crescent-shaped (stinger-like) structures on either sides with beautiful facade and pediments. It is basically a double storied building, with a row of pillars supporting the facade above, in the veranda. The facade has ionic columns on the ground floor and slender and flamboyant columns, at the top, on the first floor. This is a classical look of the palace as seen from the front face.
At the rear end of the palace there is an impressive courtyard, about 600 feet long, which is enclosed by rooms and corridors. There is a round shaped hall, towards south, with profound verandas face by row of pillars in Ionic style called “Gol Bungla” (basically meaning a ‘Round Bungalow’). There is also an attractive glass roofed large veranda overlooking the vast expanse down below, at the same end. Parts of the side wings are older structures incorporating Islamic features. The Coronation building and a few additional structures are in late Mughal or Rajasthani style.
Once you are inside, you cannot move your eyes off from each and every bit and corner of the palace. One cannot take a chance to miss any part of the palace that is captivating and is adorned with extravagance articles that are fabulous souvenir. The palace boasts of one of the largest electrical switch boards in India. There are about 40 Venetian chandeliers in the hall that are said to be one of the largest in the country. When all of them are lit at once, it appears as if the entire palace is flooded in the ocean of illumination. They are so huge that it takes about six months to clean a 138-arm Osler chandelier. It leaves one wondering about the time taken in cleaning all the forty chandeliers and of course the entire palace!
When you enter another room, the legendary dining hall, you see a vast dining table, which can accommodate 100 guests at a time. The furniture is made of rosewood with green leather upholstery that gives it an artistic look. Even the cutlery was made of gold and crystals to which fluted music was added. There are about 220 rooms decorated lavishly and about 22 spacious halls. As you proceed, you will come across a large ball-room with two ton manually operated organ said to be one of its kind in the world.
The palace has some of the finest collection on display from the treasures of the Nizams. You just cannot blink your eyes when you are having a look at the beautiful paintings, inlaid furniture from Kashmir, the statues and artefacts of the Victorian Era, French drapery, manuscripts and the book collection of the Nizams, which are kept on the display. The Jade collection, which you see in the palace, is beyond comparison. Its captivating splendour and finery is unmatched with any such art in the world. As you walk up the stair-way that is supported by finely carved handrails and marble statues, you can see the pictures of all the guests who stayed in this palace and that of British Governors General. There are portraits of all of them hanging on the wall and you can clearly witness the royal treatment they received. Some of the fortunate guests and dignitaries include King George V and Queen Mary, Prince of Wales, and Viceroy Lord Wavell and many more.
For those who have tried to acquire this property and resided here for a longer period, this place proved them to be fatal. People say and believe that the scorpion shape structure of this palace is the reason behind it. Today, this property of Nizam, which was close to his heart, is given in the hands of Taj Group of Hotels for a major face lift and develop it into a hotel.
Lumbini park is situated on the banks of Tank bund in Hyderabad. It is one of the Recreational Parks in the city. The beautiful landscape garden and large play area for kids attracts many local visitors and tourists from other parts of the state. The park is named after the birth place of Lord Buddha. At the entrance, you have a big clock made to appear beautiful surrounding it by flowers.
There is a play area towards you left and a small pool with a backdrop of a small man-made waterfall. There is a small car track for kids below five years. There is also boating facility available with motor boats, speed boats and two small ferries called as Bhagamati and Bhagirathi. These two ferries have some local dance troops who entertain you through you journey to the Buddha Statue that stands in the middle of the Hussain Sagar Lake.
A view of the surrounding areas of the lake and the statue in the centre of it, especially during night times is real enchanting. The cool breeze in the evening with illuminations all around the banks of the lake adds to the spectacle of Lumbini park.
Tank bund (Buddha statue)
Hyderabad boasts about an 18 mt high monolithic(made with single stone) Budhha statue. Tank bund road was very narrow and widened in 1946 before the Independence. Sir Mirza Ismail was the Prime Minster of Hyderabad at that time. Further beautification took place during 1987-88. Sri Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh at that time. He took the initiative to beautify the tank bund and erected 33 bronze statues of famous personalites of Andhra Pradesh. Some of those people are Sri Krishna Devaraya, Nannaya, Tikkana, Erra Pragada, Annamayya, Alluri Seeta Rama Raju, Raghupathi Venkata Ratnam Naidu, Molla, Triupuraneni Rama Swami Chowdaary etc.
Chilkur Balaji Temple
Chilkur Balaji Temple can be categorised under Religious places and is a popular tourist place in Hyderabad. This Chilkur Balaji Temple draws huge crowds from the neighbouring places of Hyderabad.
Indira Park, named after the former prime minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi, is another Leisure Park In Hyderabad. The park is situated in the Heart Of The City, just below the Tank Bund called the lower Tank Bund. Covering an area of about seventy six acres this park is covered by lush green trees and some beautiful small water pools. There is a play area for kids. It is a beautiful place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.