Hyderabad is my 6th indian city (after Delhi, Vanares, Lucknow, Bangalore and Agra). I´ve read so much about it that I was really looking forward to come here.
The city is only 8 hours away from Bangalore (give or take, depending on the traffic) and is easyly reachable by bus or plane.
To get there, we traveled in a bus with actual beds, a first timer for me. The price was 3.500 INR (around 70 USD) and the buses were fairly good.
It took me a whole lot of time to book my place on Airbnb; I wanted to stay in the Jubilee Hills area and there were none “Super hosts” there. After many cancellations and dead silences, someone said yes (he actually didn't said anything, but the transaction on my credit card did).
Hyderabad, the city of pearls, is - as described by Lonely Planet - an impeccably dress princess whose time has past.
Once set of the powerful and wealthy Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi dynasties, the city has seen centuries of great prosperity and innovation.
But today, Hyderabad is transforming and along Pune and Bangalore is absorbing all the IT positions, leading India's almighty software dynasty.
Hyderabad is quite particular given the perfect blend of islam and hinduism. Actually, back in 1947 when India got its independence, the “major” Osman Ali Khan, considered amalgamation with Pakistan. Today, both religions live peacefully
The first morning in Hyderabad I realized Hyderabadies start working late. Nothing is open until 11.00. So we went to Minerva Cafe a nice place by Road No:36 with classical south indian food. They specialize in breakfast and all of their meals are vegetarian. Once there we had idly sambar, fruits, coffee from Kerala and a grilled spinach and corn sandwich.
Once we were ready, I got (finally) access to my flat. After a quick shower (and an unfortunate close encounter with a rat inside my room) we left.
Birla Mandir: On our way to Birla Mandir, I tried sugar cane juice, another first time for me.
Once we got there (the temple is uphill), we could see this beautiful structure placed overlooking the Hussain Sagar.
We were lucky to go in the evening and see the sunset. Birla Mandir it´s a popular hindu pilgrimage center and affords excellent views over the city.
Charminar:When a water shortage in Golconda caused havoc in the late 16th century, the reigning Qutb Shahis were forced to relocate, and so Mohammed Quli and the royal family left Golconda Fort for the banks of the Musi River. Hyderabad was born and along with it Charminar, its centerpiece.
The place is beautiful and you can feel it has been there, literally, for centuries. Charminar´s located in the heart of the old city and is extremely crowded.
Laad Bazaar market: awesome place! So alive,noisy and insane. Perfect place to get lost; it has everything from perfumes, fabrics and jewels to musical instruments, secondhand saris and kitchen implement.
Buddha statue: This is one of the largest free standing statues of Buddha in the planet. Completed in 1990 after 5 years of work, the statue was placed in the middle of this huge man-made lake. At night, you can get a boat and visit the beautiful statue which will be elegantly illuminated.
Eat street:By the lake, a long street with small restaurant joints. It was nice just to sit there and chill after walking so much.
Salar Jung Museum: This museum is just impressive. Perhaps is one of the biggest art collections in India.
The museum has 35,000 exhibits from every corner of the world including sculptures, wood carvings, ivory, devotional objects, persian paintings, manuscripts, weaponry, toys and more than 50k books.
Mecca Masjid Mosque: One of the biggests mosques in the planet. Suitable for 10k people. Several bricks embedded above the gate were made with soil from mecca, hence the name. To the left of the mosque you can see and visit the tombs of Nizam Ali Khan. Security is extremely tight since the 2007 explosions.
Cafe Bahar: When in Hyderabad, you have to eat biryani. Is a must. Otherwise, you were never here. Online, the most advertised place was Paradise, but the friend I went with took me to this hidden jewel in the middle of Old MLA Quarters.
The size of each plate is monstrous (and quite cheap), the halal mutton and chicken were perfect and everything was just right. We got there by 16.00 on a sunday and the queue told me straight away we were in the right place.
Food was at a new level, it was delicious and abundand. If you come here, please stop by at Cafe Bahar
Beyond Coffee: I simply love a good breakfast and this guys had exactly what I was looking for. The atmosphere was perfect: spacious, clean, well decorated, fresh and with a nice terrace. The food was simply perfect for what I was looking for: a huge fruit salad, a 3 eggs omelette and 2 large coffees. It transformed instantly in my favorite spot.
The Hyderabad Times Cafe: Located in a rooftop, it has good food and mocktails. We had pizza and hummus with pita. You can also smoke hookah.
After two intense days, we came back to Bangalore.
I'm already planning the next trip. Kerala, Chennai or Goa, let´s see.