Birla Mandir is located towards the southern end of Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad. It situated atop the Kala Pahad which is a twin hillock of Naubat Pahad. The Birlas built the Hyderabad temple in 1976 and constructed it with white marbles imported from Rajasthan. The hillock is at a height of 280-feet situated on a 13-acre plot.
The construction took almost a decade to complete and was consecrated in the same year by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission. Birla Foundation, known for constructing other similar temples across the country is the patron of Birla Mandir at Hyderabad too.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu present in the form of Sri Venkateswara. One can find the kirtanas of Tyagaraja, Annamayya, and Ramadasu reverberating against the backdrop of a blue sky in the morning. The temple combines the architectural styles of Utkal (Oriya) and South Indian style. The Rajagopuram represents South Indian architectural style while the tower over the main shrine also called the Jagadananda Vimanam represents the Oriyan style. The temple also boasts of finely sculpted marbled images depicting the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The 42-feet high sanctum sanctorum (garbha gudi) is an impressive replica of the Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala.
The presiding deity is made of granite, 11-feet tall. Swami Venkateswara’s consorts Padmavati and Andal are worshipped in adjoining separate shrines. The Birla Mandir complex also houses a temple dedicated to Buddha along with fresco paintings describing his life. The temple also has separate shrines for other gods such as Shiva, Ganesh, Saraswati, Hanuman, Brahma, Lakshmi and Saibaba.
In the evening, Birla Mandir presents a spectacular sight upon illumination. A trip to Hyderabad is considered incomplete without Birla Mandir by tourists for the last three decades. An enchanting Birla Mandir trip is a trip to remember and combines excellent architecture and workmanship and is a place for solace and spirituality. Visitors can enter the temple from 7.00 am to 12.00 am and 3.00 pm to 9.00 pm on all weekdays and weekend. Birla Mandir is well connected by state government buses, owing to its location in the heart of the city. Those who take a bus ride can alight near Ravindra Bharathi, which is two hundred meters away.
All Days of the Week
7:00 AM – 12:00 PM
3:00 PM – 9:00 PM
One of the well maintained, expansive and among the best zoos in Asia, the Nehru Zoological Park is home to more than 1,500 species of birds, animals, and reptiles. Located in the Bahadurpura area enroute the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University in Rajendranagar region of Hyderabad, the zoo can be reached after crossing Afzalgunj and the High Court. The zoo hosts different species such as mynahs, white peacocks, African Elephants, chimpanzees and rhinoceros.
The major attraction for visitors within the zoo is the Lion Safari. A van fenced with iron will take you through the gates of the safari. Here only one gate opens at a time and you will find yourself surrounded by an entirely different world of wild animals like lions, tigers, rhinos, panthers, wild oxen, etc. that roam freely in the wilderness of a jungle-like environment. Visitors can make their trip more interesting by visiting the pre-historic dinosaur park, a nocturnal zoo, a natural history museum, a mini-train, several parks, and animal rides, which makes it an ideal spot for picnic. The nocturnal animals and the reptiles constitute another interesting and exciting part of the whole experience.
It easily takes around 6-7 hours to cover the whole zoo located on a 300-acre site consisting of lush green acres. Nehru Zoological Park is a must see for nature and wild life lovers. It also has rare species animals and birds, most of which are houses on conditions resembling their natural habitats as much as possible. This holds the distinction as a first zoo to create moated enclosures for various animals. TSTDC runs a restaurant and other food joints. The Mir Alam tank is the source of water for the zoo and is frequented by foreign travelers, wild life enthusiasts, and researchers and alike. It is located at a distance of 15 kilometers from the Hussain Sagar Lake.
All days of the week
08:30 AM to 05:30 PM
Golconda Fort is located in the western part of Hyderabad city and is about 9 km from the Hussain Sagar Lake. The outer fort occupies an area of three square kilometers, which is 4.8 kilometers in length.
It was originally known as Mankal, and built on a hilltop in the year 1143. It was originally a mud fort under the reign of Rajah of Warangal. Later it was fortified between 14th and 17th centuries by the Bahmani Sultans and then the ruling Qutub Shahi dynasty. Golconda was the principal capital of the Qutub Shahi kings. The inner fort contains ruins of palaces, mosques and a hill top pavilion, which rises about 130 meters high and gives a bird’s eye view of other buildings.
Golconda fort is undoubtedly one of most magnificent fortress complexes in India. The history of Golconda Fort goes back to early 13th century, when it was ruled by the Kakatiya’s followed by Qutub Shahi kings, who ruled the region in 16th and 17th century. The fortress rests on a granite hill 120 meters high while huge crenellated ramparts surround this structure.
It was initially called Shepherd’s Hill, meaning Golla Konda in Telugu while according to legend, on this rocky hill a shepherd boy had come across an idol and the information was conveyed to the ruling Kakatiya king at that time. The king constructed a mud fort around this holy spot and after 200 years, Bahamani rulers took possession of the place. Later the Qutub Shahi kings converted this into massive granite fort extending 5km in circumference. The fort is considered a mute witness to historic events. The Qutub Shahis reign at Golconda ended in 1687 when it was run over by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who intentionally left it in ruins
Golconda still boasts of mounted cannons, four drawbridges, eight gateways, and majestic halls, magazines, stables etc. The outermost enclosure is called Fateh Darwaza meaning Victory gate, after Aurangzeb’s army marched successfully through this gate. At Fateh Darwaza one can witness fantastic acoustical effects, which is one among the many famous engineering marvels at Golconda. Clapping your hand at a certain point near the dome entrance reverberates which is heard clearly at the hill top pavilion, almost one kilometer away. This served as a warning note to the inhabitants of the fort of any impending danger, Ofcourse it now amuses visitors. The fort gains an impressive place among the architectural marvels and heritage structures of India and is a testimony to Hyderabad’s glorious past.
Ticket counter is open from 5:30 PM
Note : Golconda Fort Timings: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Erected in the memory of the departed kings of Golconda, they are magnificent monuments that have withstood the test of time and nature’s vagaries. They are located one kilometer north of Golconda Fort’s called Banjara Darwaza. They are imposing marvels of architectural excellence that stand as the reminders of the glory of Golconda kings who are buried at the same spot. Built by the Qutub Shahis, these tombs are considered to be among the oldest historical monuments of Hyderabad.
These tombs are present in a large group on a raised platform. They resemble Persian, Pathan and Hindu architectural styles that makes use of grey granite, with stucco ornamentation and is a one-of-its-kind place in the world where the whole dynasty is buried at a single spot. They lie amidst beautifully landscaped gardens with intricately carved stonework.
The Tombs form the most reliable evidence of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and their architectural traditions. These are exquisite structures where every arch, columns, dome minarets, and galleries were created with finessed and are surrounded by landscape gardens called Ibrahim Bagh. It houses seven tombs dedicated to the former kings of Golconda. The tombs are dome like structures built on a square base. This is again surrounded by pointed arches. Each tomb is of quadrangular shape and rises around 9 to 15 meters above the terrace. The smaller tombs constitute single stories while the larger tombs are seen as two storied. The domes actually constituted of blue and green tiles, whereas only few pieces exist now. The Qutub Shahi Tombs are surrounded by enchanting minarets and there is magnificent tomb with a height of 42.5 m covered by large dome. The tombs were furnished with chandeliers and soft canopies on silver poles. These are the splendid mausoleums of the Golconda Sultans. During the Qutub Shahi period, legend says that these tombs were of great significance that even criminals taking refuge there were given pardon. The tombs were neglected after their reign until Salar Jung III took up their restoration works during the early 19th century. Today it is maintained well by the Department of Tourism with due focus on heritage preservation and restoration. It is a popular destination in the tourist circuit of Hyderabad and visitors coming to Golconda fort donot miss the tombs, which are marketed as a clubbed destination.
All Days of the Week
9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Situated on the southern banks of Musi River, the Salarjung Museum has a unique distinction as the third largest museum in India and has a worldwide fame for its biggest one-man collections of antiques. It is widely known in India for its prized collections dating back to different civilizations. Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, the former Prime Minister of the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, spent most of his income over a period of thirty-five years to gather such priceless collections, which according to historians was his intense passion.
The collections that was left behind in his ancestral Diwan Deodi palace were exhibited earlier as a private museum that was inaugurated by the then PM of India Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951. Later in the year 1968, the museum was shifted to its current location at Afzalgunj. The renowned museum is now administered by a Board of Trustees which also includes Governor of Telangana as an ex-officio chairperson as per the Salar Jung Museum Act of 1961.
The Museum is a royal treat for art collectors with its 43,000 art objects and 50,000 priceless books and manuscripts. The collections range from Indian Art, Middle Eastern Art, European Art, Far Eastern Art, Children Art etc. in addition to a founders gallery and a rare manuscript division. Indian Art forms include collections of stone sculptures, jade carvings, painted textiles, bronze images, miniature paintings, woodcarvings, modern art, textiles, metal-ware, arms & armor, ivory carvings etc. Middle Eastern Art houses an exquisite collection of carpets, glass, furniture, metal-ware, lacquer etc. from Arabia, Persia, Syria, and Egypt. Collection of Far Eastern Art covers lacquer ware, porcelain, enamel, bronze, embroidery, wood & inlay work, paintings from Tibet, China, Japan, Nepal and Thailand etc. Oil and watercolor paintings also constitute an important part of the European Collection.
It also houses the world famous statue of Veiled Rebecca and Marguerite and Mephistopheles, a fine collection of jade, daggers owned by Queen Noor Jahan, Emperors Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb’s sword and other timeless masterpieces. The museum is a semicircular shaped building with 38 galleries spread across two floors. The ground floor covers 20 galleries while the first floor has 18 of them. The exhibits covering different subjects are shown at separate galleries.
All days of the week except Friday
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The noble families of Paigah, during the 18th century were among the most influential and powerful families of the Princely State of Hyderabad’s aristocracy. Claiming to be the descendents of the Hazrath Omar bin Al-Khattab, Islam’s second caliph, the nobles of Paigah were believed to be wealthier than the average Maharajah of the country and they were the only ones to have the privilege maintaining their own court, palaces, as well as their own private armies, which often numbered several thousands. Paigah is a Farsi world, which says “footstool”. It means Right-hand man in English.
Abdul Fateh Khan Tegh Jung is credited as the founder of the Paigah nobility. He founded the nobility when he served for the second Nizam, Salabat Jang. Sahams-ul-Mulk, Shams-ul-Doula, and Shams-ul-Umara, were the hereditary titles conferred to him by the Nizam. It means “the sun among the masses and nobles”. The Paigahs were given the responsibility to take care of the security and defense of the state. The Paigahs were very close to the Nizams.
The Paigahs, who were the great patrons of tarts have extended their unmatched grace and elegance even to their exquisite tombs. The Paigah Tombs that grace the city among the many wonders that fill the pages of the most promising history. The marvelous artistry of the Paigahs is shown in the mosaic tile work that has been inlaid. The Paigah tombs, located at the Pisal Banda suburbs in Hyderabad, are most intricately carved and are enclosed in facades of pierced marble. The tombs are the finest examples of the enthralling Indo-Islamic architecture, which is a blend of both features of Asaf Jahi and Rajputani style.
All days of the week except Friday
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Deemed as one of most expensive gardens in India, the NTR Garden is a popular attraction of the city of Hyderabad. Sprawling across an area of 55 acres, it houses the memorial of the great leader of Andhra Pradesh, Late N T Rama Rao. The park was created by the Government of Andhra Pradesh with a lavish budget of 40 crores, in order to honor the respectable leader. Today, NTR Garden is not only one of the most beautiful locations of Hyderabad, but is also regarded as an attractive leisure and entertainment centre.
Located near the famous Hussain Sagar Lake, the park serves as a quick getaway from the cumbersome activities of the city life. The colourful flowers, trees, shrubs and plants in the park make the setting even more attractive for the visitors who relish the profound beauty of this place. Apart from a serene atmosphere, the park also offers a variety of recreational activities to keep the visitors entertained. Some of the interesting facilities of this place include a Machan Tree, a Car Cafe, and a play area for children, Japanese Park. There are also some souvenir shops and several food joints in this place.
Though the offerings of the NTR Garden are boundless, the major attractions of this place include a mono rail that runs as a joy-ride across the park, a cascading waterfall that lures the visitors and the boating facilities to venture into the adjoining Hussain Sagar Lake. The food offered at the various restaurants also needs a special mention. The resplendent greenery of the park makes the environment excessively fresh and relaxing. A place which started off as a memorial has now turned into a popular amusement park that is crowded with visitors all through the day.
Timings: 2.30 pm -10 pm
Open on all days
The history of Hyderabad is so enticing that it feels like reading a wonderful love story and its glorious past is no less than a fairy tale. And the most interesting part of this novel forms the rule of the Nizams, which fills pages of history with legendary contributions of art, architecture and science.
A testimony to this aspect is seen in the form of the many exquisite monuments scattered all over the city. One such monument that in its striking sumptuousness still shows off the power of time immemorial is the engrossing Chowmahalla Palace. The name Chowmahalla refers to four palaces. The construction of the palace was initiated in the year 1750 by Nizam Salabhat Jung but it was Nizam Afzar-ud-Dawla Bahadur who saw that the palace was completed between the years 1857 and 1869. Originally, the palace covered 45 acres from Laad Bazaar on the north to Aspan Chowk Road which is on the south. The Chowmohalla complex is a replica of Shah’s Palace in Teheran, Iran. Presently the palace consists of two courtyards with graceful palaces, the grand Durbar Hall or the Khilwat. Gardens and fountains add to the elegance
Southern Courtyard is the oldest part of the complex. It comprises of four graceful palaces Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, and Aftab Mahal. Northern Courtyard has been restored and is open to the public. The main attraction of this area is the Bara Imam, which is a long corridor. It has rooms on the east wing, which once served as the administrative wing. Another stunning construction is the Clock Tower. It houses the Khilwat Clock which still works perfectly.
All days of the week except Friday
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM