Hyderabad

For other places with the same name, see Hyderabad (disambiguation).
The city of Hyderabad

Hyderabad, the pearl city of India, is the capital of Telangana in Southern India, located on the banks of the Musi River and on the Deccan Plateau. Hyderabad and Secunderabad are "twin cities" near Hussain Sagar Lake (also known as Tank Bund in local parlance) but both cities have grown so much that now they have become one big metropolis. The city and district of Hyderabad are coterminous. Hyderabad district is entirely contained within the Ranga Reddy district of Telangana. Many of the suburbs of Hyderabad were recently merged into the city, now called Greater Hyderabad.

A city rich with history and tradition, Hyderabad now competes with Bangalore, Chennai for the crown of India's IT capital; Microsoft and Google have their India headquarters here.

Districts

Two important water bodies - the Musi river and the Hussain Sagar Lake - define much of Hyderabad's geography. They also influenced the city's history.

The Musi river flows from the west to the east, a few kilometers south of Hussain Sagar Lake. As you will read in the History section, the city was established on the banks of the Musi. The crowded bylanes of the Old City, as the district is now called, are steeped in history and home to many of the monuments that hark back to its glory days. Secunderabad, to the northwest of Hussain Sagar, is an army base first established by the British and which continues to serve that function today for the Indian Army.

Other than the above two clearly delineated named areas, none of the other major divisions of the city have commonly agreed upon names or boundaries. This guide, however, uses Hussain Sagar to refer to the region immediately surrounding the lake, where the government buildings of the new capital city are located. Jubilee Hills to Punjagutta is the district where the rich of Hyderabad dwell and dine. Cyberabad is the name we have appropriated for Hi tec city and Gachibowli, where most IT companies have their offices, and we have extended the term to encompass the entire western part of Hyderabad from Madhapur to Chandanagar on the grounds that these are the places where employees of these IT companies have their homes. Note, however, that the Cyberabad of this guide is not the same as the police commissionerate of the same name.

North and East Hyderabad are vast suburban, primarily residential areas that may not have much by way of attractions for the traveller.

Map of Old City, Hyderabad
Old City
The Old City lies mostly along the banks of the Musi, Most historical attractions, including the Charminar and the Golconda fort lie in this district. It is also one of the most crowded areas of India, where, in some ways time has stood still since around 1800 while in other ways it has taken a few awkward steps forward. The crowded bylanes of the Old City are great areas to shop for bangles, henna, clothes or pearls.
Secunderabad
The district lies to the north-east of the Hussain Sagar. At one point, Secunderabad was a separate city, which is why you often hear the appellation "Twin cities" to refer to the region. Like the typical Indian cantonment town, the roads are better maintained and broader. It has nice parks, open spaces like the parade ground, and some excellent restaurants.
Hussain Sagar
The district around the Lake, particularly to the south of it, developed after Independence to house the government offices of the capital of the new state. The Lake itself and its surroundings have been beautified in the last two decades and you will find some nice amusement parks, promenades and restaurants around it.
Jubilee Hills to Punjagutta
To the west of the new city are the prosperous suburbs of Punjagutta, Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills. Banjara Hills is where Hyderabad's swish set lives - the industrialists, movie stars and politicians. The neighbourhoods contain some good parks and restaurants.
Cyberabad
9 km to the west of the new city is the technology hub of Hi tec city and Gachibowli. Most information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) firms have their offices here; some like Microsoft, Oracle and Infosys have large campuses. The crowd here is cosmopolitan, the restaurants and bars hipper, and the attractions worth seeing are newer.
North Hyderabad
This is something of an industrial and suburban zone. Pharmaceutical companies have their factories, and their middle-class employees stay here. Other than the occasional park and the odd restaurant, the only time people from the heart of the city will visit this place is when they are driving to one of the resorts on the outskirts of the city
East Hyderabad
Home to Osmania University, the eastern part of Hyderabad is a vast suburban area that has little to interest the traveler

Understand

If you are visiting Hyderabad on business—as is increasingly the case now—it is easy to miss the 400 year-old Hyderabad. The city that immediately hits the eye is a sprawling metropolis of shopping malls and office buildings with glass facades. The whole of the city seems to be under construction or renovation and the roads are jammed because the metro is under construction.

The magnificent "old city" that was once the seat of the Nizam, the ruler of the largest and the most opulent "princely state", and the twin city of Secunderabad where the British maintained a cantonment to keep the army within striking distance of the Nizam can be seen only if you take the time out to see them.

Hyderabad's many epithets include the City of Pearls, the City of Nawabs, the Biryani City and, because of its high-tech industries, Cyberabad.

History

The Balahisar Baradari on the top of Golconda Fort

In the 10th century, the kings of the Kakatiya dynasty built the fortress of Golkonda about 8 km to the west of what is now Hyderabad’s old city. Over the next few centuries, the fort became a major centre of diamond trade fed by the mines of Kollur, so much so that the word "Golkonda" became synonymous with great wealth. The fort changed hands many times before it came under the control of Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk in 1463. He had quelled rebellion in the Telangana region and was appointed the subedar, or administrator of the region by the Bahmani sultan as a result. By 1518, he had become independent from the sultan, declared himself the Sultan under the name of Quli Qutb Shah and established the Qutb Shahi dynasty. In 1589, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, a grandson of Quli Qutb Shah, moved his capital from the Golconda fort to the present day location of Hyderabad due to water shortages at the old location. In 1591, he ordered the construction of the Charminar, reportedly in gratitude to Allah for stopping a plague epidemic before it could do too much damage.

The name "Hyderabad" reportedly had its origins in an affair between Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah and a local Telugu courtesan named Bhagmati. He named the city Bhagyanagar after her, and after she converted to Islam and took on the name of "Hyder Mahal", he named the city Hyderabad. Hyderabad was built on a grid plan with help from Iranian architects. French traveller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier favourably compared Hyderabad to Orleans.

The Qutb Shahi dynasty lasted till 1687, when the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb defeated the sultanate and took over Hyderabad. He appointed a governor to rule the region and granted him the title of Nizam-ul-Mulk. However, Mughal rule was short-lived and in 1724, the Nizam Asaf Jah I gained independence from a declining Mughal empire. Legend has it that while on a hunting expedition, he met a holy man who offered him some kulchas and asked him to eat as much as he could. Asaf Jah ate only seven, and the holy man prophesied that his dynasty would last for seven generations. Sure enough, the seventh ruler in the dynasty was the last. In honour of the legend, the flag of the Nizams featured a kulcha.

Around 1763, Asif Jah II, defeated by the Marathas and threatened by Tipu Sultan of Mysore, entered into a subsidiary alliance with a British. Hyderabad state became a "princely state", protected by, and under the overlordship of the British. The British maintained their army in nearby Secunderabad to protect the Nizam and to ensure that he did not do any mischief. Hyderabad state was the richest in the country and in the 1930s Time magazine rated the Nizam the richest man in the world. In 1947, with India's independence, the seventh Nizam was reluctant to cede his principality to the newly independent India, preferring Pakistan instead. India sent in its troops and the 200 year old prophesy was fulfilled. On 17 September 1948, it was merged in to India. Hyderabad become the capital of Hyderabad state. In 1956, Telugu-speaking areas were consolidated into the state of Andhra Pradesh. Hyderabad became the capital of this new state. The new capital's administrative buildings were located around Hussain Sagar Lake between Secunderabad and the "old city", as the Nizam's city came to be called.

In 1995, Chandrababu Naidu became chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. Among his key policies was a major initiative to turn the city into an IT hub. He cleaned up the streets, laid out IT parks and did much to attract technology companies into the city. Today, as Bangalore’s infrastructure is choked by the city’s rapid growth, Hyderabad's well-laid out streets are proving to be a major attraction for software and IT-enabled companies. The technology enclave of Madhapur has actually been officially named Hi tec city, and "Cyberabad" is commonly used as an alternative name to Hyderabad.

In 2007, the suburbs of Hyderabad were merged with the city to form Greater Hyderabad. In 2009, the longstanding demand to have Telangana created as a separate state came to a boil, with agitations and disturbances shaking up Hyderabad. This dispute was resolved in June 2014, with the state of Telangana created. Hyderabad will be capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for 10 years, after which Hyderabad will remain capital of Telangana.

The city of Hyderabad

Culture and attitudes

In many senses, Hyderabad is the meeting ground between North and South India. The city has a culture that is distinct from the rest of Telangana, showing Islamic influences and a courtly presence imparted from its period as the capital of the Nizamate. This is more evident in the old city. The new city resembles many provincial state capitals in India. Secunderabad is more cosmopolitan, as the Cantonment area is located in this part of the city.

Due to a recent influx of young men and women from various parts of the country, Hyderabad's culture and attitudes have taken a turn towards "modernity". However, it is good to keep in mind that the city is still a deeply conservative place and to dress appropriately, especially in the old city.

Climate

Like many Indian cities Hyderabad has a tropical climate. The best time to visit the city is from mid-November to mid-February. Temperatures are mild with abundant sunshine during this time and average temperatures range from a low of 15°C (59°F) to a high of 29°C (85°F).

March to June is hot and dry with occasional thunderstorms. Highs can reach 45°C (113°F) or more and lack of air-conditioning can make it feel very uncomfortable. July, August, September and October can be quite warm and humid and low pressure systems from the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon season can cause heavy rain for days.

Talk

Telugu and Urdu are widely spoken in Hyderabad, and most educated people speak Telugu, Urdu, Hindi and/or English. English signs are common.

The city is one of the main places where Urdu developed, and the dialect spoken primarily by the large Muslim population is known as “Deccani Urdu” or Dakhani Urdu” (which both translate to Urdu of the Deccan). Because of the influence of Urdu, a dialect of Hindi is also spoken in the city and your Hindi phrasebook may still be useful.

Get in

By plane

  Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (IATA: HYD) is 22 km (14 mi) from the city. The sleek and well-organized airport is one of the best in India. The elevated expressway to the airport takes 20 minutes. There are direct international flights from many countries. International carriers are Air India, British Airways, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Silk Air, Etihad Airways and Thai Airways. International destinations: Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Chicago, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, London, Muscat, Sharjah, Singapore.

Excellent domestic connectivity is provided by Indian airlines including Air India, Air India Express, Indigo Airlines, Jet Airways, JetLite and SpiceJet.

From Hyderabad airport, one option is to take the air-conditioned buses run by the airport (Aero Express) to various designated points in the city such as (1) Begumpet (Paryatak Bhavan) (2) Secunderabad (Keyes High School) (3) Hi-Tec City (Opposite Shilparamam) at a fixed price of ₹ 180, and two designated points in the city (4) Charminar (City College) (5) Mehdipatnam (Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital) at ₹ 120 (travel time runs from 45-100 min depending on time of day and traffic conditions). The buses have a frequency of a bus every 30 min from 03:30-23:00and every hour at midnight, 01:00, 02:00 and 03:00. You can reach the designated points and then take an auto or metered cab from there.

Alternatively, you can hire metered air-conditioned radio cabs starting from ₹ 20 per km (see Get around section) Easy and Meru are approved by the airport @ 15₹/km and are available just after exiting the terminal building. For the rest, you need to call and book with a lead time of 15 minutes to 1 hour. These cabs charge 25% surcharge in the night (i.e., ₹ 18.75 per km). Hyderabad traffic police counter is on the ground floor with prepaid taxis. Beware of taxi soliciting touts at the airport greeting area; they will try to charge exorbitant rates.

Hired cars are also available from a booth just before walking outside of the airport. This gives you the advantage of paying in advance, thereby avoiding any disagreements over price.The airport can be contacted on their (toll free for BSNL/MTNL subscribers) number 1 800 419-2008 for all services and enquiries including arrivals / departure information, facilities, transport availability, etc. Another option for cheap travel from the airport to Hyderabad city is: When you arrive at airport, go to the departure gates, where you can get a car that has just dropped off passengers and would otherwise return empty to the city. Such vehicles will drop you off in city for only ₹ 30. The same is true if you hail a taxi near Mehdipathnam, where the flyover starts.

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in India

Indian Railways has service to Hyderabad from all over India.

There are three major railway stations serving the twin cities:   Hyderabad Station [HYB] (Decan or Nampally),   Secunderabad Station [SC] (Junction), and Kachiguda and a minor station at Begumpet. Most of the trains bound for South India and North India originate from Hyderabad and leave via Secunderabad. Trains to/from New Delhi (toward north via Nagpur, Bhopal, Jhansi, Agra, 1677 km, 26-29 hours ), Visakhapatnam (toward east via Vijayawada, Warangal, 710 km, twelve and half hours), Chennai (toward south via Vijayawada, Warangal, Ongole, Nellore, 790 km, ~14 hours ), Mumbai (toward west via Vikarabad, Solarpur, Pune. 790 km, 13h 45m), Kolkata (To east to Howrah Station via Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar, 1592 km, over thirty hours), Trivandrum (toward south-southwest via Tenali, Ongole, Nellore, Tirupati, Chittoor, Katpadi, Tiruppur, Coimbatore, Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Tiruvalla, Kayamkulam, Kollam 1568 km, thirty and half hours), Sirpur Kagaznagar, Bidar, Tirupati (toward south via Vikarabad, Guntakal, Kadapa. 732 km, 16 hours), Narsapur (toward west via Nalgonda, Vishnupuram, Mandavalli, Kaikaluru, Bhimavaram, Veeravasaram, Palakollu, Narasapuram, 461 km, ten and half hours), Kolhapur, Ajmer, Darbhanga, Purna, Aurangabad, Parbhani, Bijapur, Gulbarga.

From these major railway stations you can easily get connected buses or private taxis which will take you to the destination of your choice. You can also ask taxi drivers about getting around Hyderabad as they have adequate experience and guide you appropriate to save your significant amount of time.

By car

Hyderabad is well connected to other major Metros by road. Bangalore is connected by NH7 and is at a distance of 560 km. The road between Bangalore and Hyderabad is excellent, and the distance can be covered in 6 hours. The city is 752 km from Chennai (using highways NH9 and NH5) and 800 km from Mumbai (NH9 till Pune and the expressway to Mumbai.).

By bus

Hyderabad is well-connected to all parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and most parts of South and Western India.

Buses going to Anantapur (350 km, 5-8 h, ₹ 380-600, 10+ per day), Ahmedabad (21 h, daily), Bangalore (ten-twelve hours, eight plus per day), Chennai (12.5-13.5 h, ten+ per day, from ₹710), Coimbatore (14 h, five+ per day, from ₹1610), Madurai (14-16 h, four per day, ₹1600), Puttaparthy (366 km 10-11 h, two evening buses, ₹600-₹700), Rajahmundry (422 km, 10-12 h, six+ per day, ₹500-₹750), Tirupati (570 km 10-13 h, ₹600-₹950, 15+), Vijayawada (270 km, ₹300-₹400, half hourly, 7-9 h), Wijayavada (five and half to six hours, every half hour, ₹200-₹330), Visakhapatnam (627 km, ₹600-₹1100, 12-14 h, twenty plus per day).   JBS (Jubilee Bus Station) is in Secunderabad. APSRTC, runs direct air-conditioned coaches to Mumbai, Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Chennai. A.P tourism runs air-conditioned coaches to, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru. You have to book the tickets in advance. There are many online bus ticketing portals to book bus tickets. Bus Station Office, ☎ +91 40 27802203.

South India is largely well served by organised private bus operators. They run luxury buses like Volvo, Mercedes, Kinglong Cerita buses including multi axled buses. These are air-conditioned, semi sleeper or sleeper services with online ticket booking facilities. Important private travel hubs are KPHB Colony, Lakdi-Ka-Pool, Paradise centre in Secunderabad and Dilsukh nagar. Luxury services run to many cities from these places.

It may be difficult to find direct buses from North India.

Bus companies

Get around

Auto-rickshaw/Auto

There are many ways to get around in Hyderabad. It has good bus service, passable auto-rickshaw and taxi services and a grossly inadequate local train service.

Multi-Modal Transport System MMTS

MMTS Local Train

Local trains called MMTS are available, albeit for only a few places in Hyderabad. The frequency ranges from 10 minutes to around 2 per hour, save the daytime and Sundays when there are fewer trains. It is a fast way of travel to the few stations it covers, and the cheapest option as well. If you plan to travel through MMTS, check out the schedule from the website or mmts train timings. It is advisable for foreigners to take first class. Daily and monthly passes are also available at the MMTS stations.

Same way to Begumpet, further

By bus

Hyderabad has good local bus connectivity and is run by APSRTC, a state-government owned corporation. Most buses start at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Terminus more commonly known as Imlibun. Apart from normal local buses, you have a choice of Metro Express and Metro Deluxe aka Veera. There have also been Air-conditioned buses all over the city (minimum fare ₹ 22/-). Local buses tend to get extremely overcrowded and traveling on the footboard of a bus is very common.

As of 2011 a fleet of new, more comfortable, buses include blue-liveried Tata Marcopolo buses of the Metro Deluxe class and the City Sheetal buses (Volvo or Tata Marcopolo). They are air-conditioned and have limited stops. They are not crowded and you can get a seat most of the times.

The routes displayed on buses are normally shown in at least two languages, one of which is English. The best way to get to a location by bus would be to get to a bus stop and ask people waiting there. You could also get into a bus going in your direction and ask the conductor for help.

By autorickshaw

Autorickshaws in Hyderabad should be metered, though it can be difficult for non-locals and locals alike to find an auto-rickshaw driver who ever agrees to a metered fare. (This is especially true when hailing an auto in front of a 5 star hotel and near Hi-Tech area.) However, Traffic police are very helpful and will help engage an Auto with metered fare. Autos can carry a maximum of 3 passengers excluding the driver, but it is common to find them being overloaded to carry up to six passengers. The minimum fare is ₹ 20 which covers the first 1.6 km. Each additional km is another ₹ 11. There are also shared 8 seater Maxi Vans available to and fro from the suburbs to a main location of the city in that direction. Fares are mostly ₹ 2 more than bus fares, but are far more comfortable and fast for short distances up to 5 km. Fix the fare before you step into the auto-rickshaw.

Auto Drivers in Hyderabad are a nightmare and are absolutely uncooperative. Finding a needle in a haystack is easier than finding an auto driver who agrees to go by the metered rate with a common excuse that their meter is not functioning. They always demand a much higher fare even though the fare has been increased from ₹ 12-14. It is advised to keep extra change with you since most of the auto drivers will claim that they don't have change, even if they have. If you have a choice then always opt for a prepaid cab.

Reckless driving and accidents are very common in this city.

Most of the auto drivers want you to check out Govt. Authentic pearls shop in exchange for a lower fare; however, they are okay if you don't buy anything from these shops, just sit there for 10 minutes. They get 25 kg rice if they take 15 customers to these shops. The pearl shops are notorious for persuasive sales tactics and they won't let you out easily. So pay the complete fare to auto drivers instead of being diverted to a pearl shop.

Auto drivers get some percent of the entry fees (around ₹ 10/-) if they take you to the places like Chow Mahal or Salarjung museum for free. If you are around these areas get into some auto instead of walking down and ask them to drop you there.

By taxi

Metered taxis are available, but they cannot be hailed off the street. One needs to call their centralized call centre and book the service. Service is very good, especially if you are booking for longer distances. It can be next to impossible to be able to get a taxi without prior booking since demand far outstrips the supply. All metered taxis have digital meters that show the distance and fare.

Operators offering metered taxis at ₹ 10 per km (Most of them are now charging ₹ 12 per km for an Indica, ₹ 10 continues in case of Maruti Omni) with a minimum charge is ₹ 80 in most cases. Many taxi services prefer not to book trips that are only a short distance. - Red Cabs , ☎ +91 40 22552255 Minimum charges: Per hour, ₹250/- for km, taxis at ₹ 10/- per Km. Detailed tariff on website. All types of cars available. - 4Meru Cabs, ☎ +91 40 44224422 offers taxis at ₹ 40/- for first two km and ₹ 21/- per km after that. Night tariffs (23:00-05:00) are higher. - Green Cabs, ☎ +91 40 24606060 offers taxis at ₹ 10/- per km. Detailed tariff on website. - Genie Cabs, ☎ +91 40 33993399 offers hatchback cars at ₹ 100/- for the first six km and ₹ 16/- per km after that. Night tariffs (23:00-05:00) are higher. - Hyderabad cabs, ☎ +91 40 20005000. - Dot cabs, ☎ +91 40 24242424, , offers taxis in two variants, each with point-to-point fares and metered fares. Detailed tariff on website. The two variants are a sedan (usually Renault Logan), or a family car (Toyota Innova). - ZipaRide, +91 040-2333 3356.

By car

Hyderabad lacks an expressway system, leading to traffic jams during rush hours. However, an 160 km Ring Road Expressway is currently under construction.

Driving is exciting in Hyderabad not unlike in the rest of India. You find cycles, motor cycles, rickshaws, hand carts, autos, share autos, mini trucks, buses, vestibule buses, double deckers, Volvos jostling along. There are long stretches of roads passing through thickly populated areas that have no median breaks, so vehicles, including motorbikes and cars, simply drive on the wrong side of the road. Several modern flyovers now link the arterial roads.

Rent a car

Several car rental agencies are available at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport as well in the following locations.

On foot

Hyderabad's interesting districts are fairly spread out, but are enjoyable to explore by foot on their own. The Old City is composed of a maze of disorienting alleyways that expand outward from the Charminar. Getting lost in the markets (where you can buy anything from hand-sequined saris to freshly slaughtered goats) and alleyways in the Old City can make for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. The famous Chudi Bazaar (Lad Bazaar) across from the Charminar is a chaotic tumble of goods, people, animals and vehicles are navigated quickly on foot. The Chowmahalla palace and the Mecca Masjid are both easily accessed from the Charminar. Necklace Road, Sultan Bazar (Koti) and Abids are worth taking some time to wander around. Please note that walking can be hazardous in Hyderabad. It is common for roads to be missing pavement, or simply unpaved, and bikes and auto-rickshaws may go to right up to the edge of the road and climb any barrier to get ahead in traffic. Walking alongside and crossing the road can be very dangerous and it is important to stay alert for erratic driving. It is always advisable to use the foot-over bridge if there is one available.

See

Old City

Charminar

Old City is the historical region of Hyderabad. Most of the historical attractions are situated in the old city.

Mecca Masjid
Qutubshahi Tombs

New city

The Birla Mandir.

Punjagutta to Gachibowli

Astrologer foretells a boy's future. Village scene at Shilparamam

Temples

Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad

Mosques

Hyderabad has many historical mosques.

Churches

Lakes

Hussain Sagar Lake.

Parks

The wild life parks, botanical garden and zoo have several educational programmes including lectures with live snakes

Do

Bungee Trampoline at NTR Park
Snow World

Golf courses

Tennis courts

Learn

Buddhism

Buy

Jewellery

Handicrafts

Jewellery and Pearl shop in Laad Bazaar

Bazaars

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget < ₹ 250
Mid-range ₹ 250-750
Splurge > ₹ 750

No visit to Hyderabad would be complete without sampling its unique cuisine - a rich blend of royal Mughlai flavours, Nizams special, and spice-up culinary traditions of South India such as: Hyderabadi biryani, pathar-ka-ghosht, nahari, haleem, double-ka-meetha, khubani-ka-meetha, seviyon-ka-meetha and kheer.

A popular dish of Hyderabad is biryani. It is prepared with a blending of Mughal kitchen and the style of cooking practised by the Nizams. Hyderabadi biryani has a distinct aroma. Garnished with pudina, fried onion & boiled eggs. Mostly it is served with dahi-ki-chutney and mirchi-ka-salan. Biryani has many variants like mutton biryani, chicken biryani, biryani khaam, biryani zard or zafrani or the most exotic of all joban malti biryani in which mutton, partridges and quails were cooked with rice.

Hyderabdi Biryani(left) and other dishes(right)

Culinary delicacies of Hyderabad include:

Restaurants

Recently there has been an explosion in the number of restaurants in Hyderabad, fuelled by demand from young professionals with money to spend. Quality and variety of food, however, has not kept pace. There is a disproportionately large number of restaurants that aspire to be called "fine-dining" restaurants, but the food they serve is usually indifferent. In general, keep away from restaurants that call themselves "multi-cuisine" or if you see multiple cuisines on the menu, as the chances are that they are attempting to serve every kind of palate and will not satisfy any.

The older areas of Hyderabad are better places to find good and cheap food. Places close to Hi tec city, such as Madhapur and Kondapur, tend to have expensive and bad food, while in Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills you will find restaurants that are expensive, but which sometimes serve good food. Those misled by the fact that Hyderabad is in South India and expecting South Indian food may be disappointed. While there are excellent South Indian restaurants in some of the older areas like Koti and Abids, the average South Indian food served here is quite bad.

Two of the biggest names in Hyderabad's restaurant business are Ohri's and the BJN Group. It will seem as if every second restaurant in the city is run by either one or the other. BJN generally runs upscale restaurants, while Ohri's runs both upscale and mid-range restaurants. It also runs numerous fast food places all over the city, including at Prasad's Imax, Banjara Hills, Somajiguda, EatStreet, Hyderabad Central & Basheer Bagh.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Bakeries, cafes, sweet shops and fast food

Hyderabad has a large number of outlets that are positioned as bakeries. These are primarily takeaway places, where one can buy sandwiches, burgers and puffs to go (called parcel in local parlance.) Usually, there are a few chairs and tables thrown in as an afterthought.

Many Western chains have set up shop in the posh areas of Hyderabad. Among these are Texas Chicken, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Subway. Most of these have multiple outlets and all of them have Indianised their fare to varying extents. The Indian pizza chain Pizza Corner also has many outlets. Barista, Cafe Coffee Day and Java Green outlets are good places to have coffee and conversations.

Supermarket

Spencer's can be found in multiple locations. They carry basic food and non-food items.

Drink

There is plenty to do at night in Hyderabad, though local regulations have most places serving last drinks by 23:00. On weekdays, drinks in the some of the pubs have best offers, as most clubs are empty until Thursday or Friday nights, when the clubbers emerge. But the sheer number of nightlife spots makes it hard to choose which ones to list. As a general rule they tend to be clustered around Begumpet and Road No.1, Banjara Hills.

Alcohol is available easily from numerous Liquor Shops, known as wine shops in local parlance, spread across the twin cities, in restaurants with bars attached (includes most upscale ones) and in pubs.

Warning: Drunken driving is not tolerated and police enforce the rule strictly. After 23:00 almost all the roads have police patrols and check drunk driving. If caught you may end up paying fines, apart from vehicle being seized and couple of rounds to police station in worst scenarios.

Some of the good pubs and bars are part of hotels, and they have been covered along with their hotel listing under Sleep.

Pubs

Bars

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under ₹ 1,500
Mid-range ₹ 1,500-4,500
Splurge Over ₹ 4,500

Accommodation in Hyderabad is unlikely to bust your budget, especially when compared to cities like Mumbai or Bangalore, and rooms are usually easily available. However, because the city sprawls so much, you need to be careful about the hotel location if you want to avoid a long commute and traffic bottlenecks.

Plentiful budget accommodation is to be found around the Nampally railway station and in Abids, Koti and other new city areas for a few hundred rupees a day, and tourist attractions aren't very far off. However the facilities tend to be basic, the towels aren't necessarily clean and air-conditioning tends to be extra. It might make sense to pay a little more and choose mid-range accommodation. The area around Hussain Sagar Lake, Begumpet, Punjagutta, Somajiguda, Banjara Hills and Lakdi-ka-Pul are close to both tourist attractions of the old city and the business areas of the new city. Hotels in Secunderabad might be slightly far for the tourist, but may still work for the business traveller.

Unfortunately, hotel rooms tend to be expensive and scarce closer to Hi tec city, and commuting from any of the above areas, except perhaps Banjara Hills, is not a good option because of the traffic. Areas around Hi tec city are Madhapur, Kondapur and Gachibowli. For longer term stays, you might want to consider serviced apartments (See below)

Budget

Mid-range

  • Minerva Grand S D Road, Sarojini Devi Rd, Secunderabad,  +91 40 6611 7373. This is closer to the city centre. It has a lounge bar Enigma and Fiesta a 24 hr coffee shop. ₹ 4,000-8,000.

Splurge

Connect

Post Office

India Post, a govt-owned enterprise, has its headquarters at Abids known as GPO. And its second biggest centre is located in Secunderabad.

Landlines

The dialing code for Hyderabad is 040. When calling from overseas, dial +91 40 XXXX XXXX. If you have a non-working phone number with only 7 digits try to add "2" in front of it. There are public booths scattered around the city.

Mobile phones

The rate for Indian 'phones is around 1 paise per second for local/national calls. It is very easy to get a prepaid mobile, which are very cheap to buy and for calls. As per government regulations both a photo ID and a photograph are required for prepaid postpaid connection.

Internet

Internet cafes are spread around town and most easily found in the city and residential areas. Charges vary between ₹ 5-15/hr. Reliance WebWorld provides Broadband internet centres.

For a longer stays with a laptop, it's better to get a Data plan either from Tata Indicom or Reliance Mobile, which are around ₹ 1,000 a month. If you have a WiFi enabled laptop or other digital device there are many public WiFi networks available in Hyderabad for free access to high-speed internet.

Stay safe

Since 2007, Hyderabad has suffered from multiple terrorist outrages in the form of bombings, the last one in 2013. These blasts have taken place at Mecca Masjid, Lumbini park, places often frequented by travellers; and also at busy marketplaces. Though the chance that you will be in danger is quite low, you should obviously make your own risk assessment. Rather than physical danger, it is more likely that the intrusive security will dampen your enjoyment of your Hyderabad vacation. Every shopping mall, theatre and palace has metal detectors and security guards patting you down.

The old city area was historically known as a communally sensitive zone and a venue for religious riots between Hindus and Muslims. It was common for the police to impose a curfew in that area while the rest of the city went about life without any problems. The old city continues to be at the heart of Hyderabad's crime wave and though many tourist attractions including Charminar are in this area, it is best to avoid late night visits.

Outside of these, Hyderabad is rather safe. Muggings and violent crime are uncommon, most crime involves thefts. Avoid staying out late at night, especially if you are a woman.

The usual tourist-oriented scams in India are not as bad in Hyderabad as in other places. However, foreigners will be hounded for money at tourist sites like the old city. Just ignore the beggars and they will go away.

Recently chain snatchings have become common in the city. One has to be watchful in crowded areas.

Emergency Numbers

Cope

Banking

Money changers

Many hotels will change money for you at the front desk. However, they may not offer the best rates.

It is best to change money at the city-based money changers than the ones located at the airports. You'll find many money-changing operations located in Saifabad, some with door-step service. It's also possible to call them and agree on a rate before the transaction.

Newspapers

The Deccan Chronicle is Hyderabad's oldest newspaper, and indispensable if you need to look up classifieds, for, say, renting a house. The Times of India with its new office in Hyderabad has good local content and is increasingly widely read. Eenadu is the most popular local language (Telugu) newspaper. For events, business listings and movie listings, fullhyderabad.com is popular. Siasat and Munsif are the main Urdu newspapers for the Urdu speaking population.

Hospitals

Pharmacy/chemist

Modern medicine is widely available at pharmacies located around the city.

Books

Consulates

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, March 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.