Granted, the city might not have any of the obviously showy
sites such as the Taj Mahal, the Gateway to India or the
Lutyens-designed splendour of New Delhi visitors will see on a more
conventional visit to India, but for sheer historical heritage
Hyderabad is hard to beat.
So, some context: Hyderabad was one of the so-called Princely
States that existed in a state of semi-independence during the time
of the British Raj, and for the 200 years before India emerged as a
fully-fledged state in 1947 the ruling Nazims were - by far - the
richest of all the princes in the sub-continent. Sadly some of the
resulting architectural largesse in the city has been lost over the
intervening years, but if you know where to look (clue: we do) this
is a still a thoroughly rewarding city.
The obvious starting point is the Chowmahalla Palace, once the
seat of the Nazims of Hyderabad (and still technically owned by the
current Nazim) which, while severely reduced in size, offers a
glimpse of what life was once like for one of the wealthiest
families in the world. According to the author William Dalrymple -
an expert on the city - the palace alone once employed a staggering
6,000 staff fulfilling tasks from walnut crushing to more, ahem,
To find out how such wealth came about, pay a visit to the
Golconda hills where a vast haul of diamonds was mined over the
centuries, and also the site of another beautiful palace and series
of tombs that have also recently undergone extensive restoration.
While you are outside the city walls, we can arrange visits to
villages famed for their superb textiles. Back in the winding lanes
of the Old City a guided walking tour with an expert guide is the
perfect way to unlock the secrets of a city often hidden behind
discreet gates and doorways, but one of the places in India that
has always clung to the Indo-Islamic culture of the pre-British
Deccan and Mughal eras.