A city with a glorious past, home to over nine million residents and the capital of Telangana, Hyderabad is spread over 650 square kilometers. It is the fourth most populous city and the sixth most populous metropolitan region of India. The city possesses an incredible appetite for cinema, art, sport and food. With a skyline ranging from hillocks to historic minarets, and ancient gateways to modern day skyscrapers, Hyderabad is truly a metropolitan city.
The foundation of Hyderabad city was laid on the banks of the river Musi by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah when the need to decongest the bustling capital of the Qutb Shahi kingdom Golconda was recognised by the then ruler. Over the years, the prominence of the new capital, on the East-West Coast route grew, replacing the older capital. Hyderabad rose to fame across the world as a center of production and trade in diamonds, pearls, arms and printed fabrics. This fame however also put the city squarely in the crosshairs of the Mughal Empire who wanted to plunder the city for its wealth. Aurangzeb’s second raid of the city in 1687 finally succeeded with the help of Abdullah Khan Panni, who defected and helped the Mughal ruler by opening a gate to the Golconda Fort, after his first raid ended in a failure.
Within four decades however, the control of the city went to the Asaf Jahi dynasty, the governors of the Mughals, also referred to as the Nizams, who continued to rule the city until 1948 before acceding to the Republic of India. The importance of Hyderabad’s cultural and economic prowess wasn’t lost then either. Prominent economist and politician Dr B.R. Ambedkar even suggested making Hyderabad the second capital of India in his work titled ‘Thoughts on Linguistic States’.
Hyderabad, today, has grown to become a cultural and technological hub. After several years of agitation, Andhra Pradesh (that was formed in 1956) was bifurcated in 2014, to form Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital. Several academic institutions of national repute like Osmania University, English and Foreign Languages University and University (EFLU, now TEFLU), and University of Hyderabad enrich the city’s intellectual heritage. Hyderabad is also known for its cuisine, be it Haleem, Irani Chai, Osmania Biscuits, Dosas, or the world-famous Hyderabadi Biryani. Dotting the entire city, one can find many parks and lakes spread out across the city, in addition to several sites of historical significance like the Golconda Fort and the Charminar. Be it the Plague in 1591, or the Great Musi Flood in 1908, Hyderabad has always found a way to bounce back stronger. A visit to the city and its historic pockets is a must for anyone seeking to explore India.