If your travel itinerary allows you only one day to tour Hyderabad, India here are our 5 must see places from the expansive Golconda Fort on the outskirts of town, Chowmahalla Palace, Laad Bazaar and Charminar in Old City and the best biryani around in Secunderabad.
Biryani at Paradise
Every area in India seems to have its own specialty when it comes to food, and biryani is the food of choice when it comes to Hyderabad. Ask a Hyderabadi why, and they will say it's in the way the biryani is made that makes it so good in Hyderabad. The next question is where to go for the best biryani in town and the answer from every local we asked was Paradise. This restaurant now has several locations around Hyderabad, but the original location on the corner SD & MG roads in Secunderabad is still the favourite. Spread over 3 floors, each floor offers a different environment and a label of either Silver, Gold or Platinum with we assume different prices for each floor.
Being obvious foreigners, on arrival we were ushered straight to the third floor, the Platinum restaurant. We can't complain though as the service was excellent, the ambience decent and the prices very reasonable at 192 INR ($3.50 USD) for their specialty, mutton biryani.
A former palace of the Nizams, the compound consists of 4 separate palaces with Khilwat, the grand Durbar Hall being the highlight. The hall covered in marble and ornate chandeliers, has hosted many royal functions and is now available for select private parties. The corners of the main palace house a mini museum with history of Hyderabad, the Nizams and the four palaces.
If you are savvy enough, make your way from Chowmahalla Palace to Charminar by foot which will bring you through Laad Bazaar. The shops lining the streets are filled with bangles in metal and lacquer bejewelled in every colour imaginable. Besides bangles expect to see semi-precious stones, pearls, jewellery, silverware, paintings, saris and perfumes. For the less savvy, once at Charminar, Laad Bazaar is just around the corner.
This landmark has become a global icon of Hyderabad, listed among the most recognized structures of India. Built in 1591 it is a monument and mosque, which for a small entrance fee you can climb to the first floor for a view over the city. The higher floors have been closed off due an accident involving someone falling from a higher level, as we were told by our driver.
While at Charminar besides visiting the Laad Bazaar in the northeast, in the west end is Mecca Masjid, one of the oldest mosques in Hyderabad and one of the largest in India.