The documented history of Golconda goes back to the Kakatiya Dynasty in 11th century when they built a mud fortress on a hill called Golconda. During the span of 800 years from Kakatiya to Qutub Shahi rulers, the fort-city grew and prospered. During the reign of Qutub Shahi rulers, espically at time of Mohammed Qutub Shahi the culture reaches its zenith. Most of the places of interest in the area pertain to Qutub Shahi Era.
The majestic ruins of Golconda stands as a backdrop to the city of Hyderabad. The orginal fort was built by Kakatiyas in 1143. It went to the hands of Bahmani Kings in (1364-1507). Quli Qutub-ul- Mulk declared Golconda as an independent Kingdom and assumed the title of Sultan Quli Qutub Shahi I. The original mud fortress was strengthened during the next 62 years. The walls and bastions were built of large blocks of masonry, some weighing 7 tons. The fort's outmost walls traverse a circumference of approximately 7km with 87 semicircular bastions and 8 huge gates. The majority of people lived with in the fort walls. Golcanda was a flourishing market of priceless gems. The famous Kohinoor diamond which now adorns the British Crown went to the hands of Aurangazeb from here.
Places to see inside the fort are:
- Jama Masjid built in 1518 by Sultan Quli Qutub Shahi I
- Mortuary Baths where the deceased kings were bathed before burial
- Madanna temple dedicated to goddess Kali probably built by Kakatiyas
- Katora Hauz probably the largest mortar tank in the world built in 1560
- Ambar Khana granary built in 1642
- Ibrahim Masjid built by Ibrahim Qutub Shah(1550-1580)
- Darbar hall, Rani Mahal (Queen's apartment)
- SilahKhana(arms depot)
- Nagina Bagh (garden)
- Akkanna and Madanna's offices
- Ramdas jail
- and many more.
It is the principal landmark of Hyderabad. In 1591, Mohamed Quli Qutub Shah built Charminar to commemorate the end of a devastating epidemic. Charminar, which means four towers, stands 56m high and 30m wide creating four arches facing each of cardinal points. The lower area of the Charminar is open daily 9am to 4.30pm. The structure is illuminated during the night from 7pm to 9pm.
Situated on the right side of Charminar, Laad Bazar is one of the oldest shopping centers of the city. The Bazar is famous for bridal ware, henna, cosmetics, bangles etc. You will find almost everything in the Bazar.
One of the largest mosques in the world, it can accommodate up to 10,000 worshipers. Mecca Masjid is situated adjacent to the Charminar. Mohamed Quli Qutub Shah built the mosque. Construction began in 1614 and Aurangazeb completed it in 1687. The name of Mecca Masjid was given to the mosque since many bricks embedded above the gate are made from the soil brought from Mecca. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the Masjid. But one can definitely appreciate the architectural features of the mosque from outside.
Salar Jung Museum
A major attraction for art lovers, Salar Jung Museum was put together by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan (Salar Jung III), the Prime Minister of Nizam Osman Ali Khan. One of the largest private collections in the world that covers exhibits from every part of the world, the museum has over 35,000 items comprising of wood carvings, sculptures, Persian miniature paintings, weaponry and a library of 50000 books. The museum is located near the Musi River Bridge. The museum is open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM except Fridays.
On the hill adjacent to the Birla Mandir is the Birla Planetarium and the Science Museum. The planetarium has daily session in Telugu, English and Hindi. The science museum is open from 1030hrs to 2015hrs daily except last Tuesday of every month.
As the name indicates, Birla Trust in 1976 constructed the temple. Built with white Rajastani marble, the temple is located on Kalabahad, one of the twin rocky hills overlooking the south end of Hussain Sagar. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is a replica of Venkateshwara temple at Tirupati. The temple is open to all from 7-12 AM and again from 3-9 PM.
Hussain Sagar Lake (Tank Bund)
Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali built The Bund in 1562 during the reign of Ibrahim Qutub Shah. Tank Bund once a water source for the Secunderabad Contonment is now a recreational facility and a picnic spot with facilities for water sports. The largest stone statue of Buddha in the world, weighing 350 tons and 17.5 meter tall, is located on a plinth in the middle of the lake.
Built by Nawab Vicar-ul-Umra in 1892, and later purchased by Nizam Mahboob Ali Khan, Falaknuma palace is Hyderabad's most famous and magnificent palace. The palace is on top of a hill 2000 feet high on the southern fringes of the city. The palace was designed by an Italian architect and constructed with carefully chosen imported material. The palace has a large collection of paintings, statues, and English furniture. It also has a collection of books, manuscripts and jade. Since it is the private property of the Nizam's family, one has to obtain special permission to see it.
Qutub Shahi Tombs
The royal cemetery of the Qutub Shahi kings lies about 2km from the Golconda Fort. The tombs are a scattered group of large domes and terraces. Perhaps this is the only place in the world where one can see so many tombs in one place. All the Qutub Shahi kings except Abdul Hassan Tana Shah who died in captivity in Daulatabad are buried here. These graceful domed tombs are surrounded by landscaped gardens. They are open daily from 0930hrs to 1630hrs except on Fridays.
The Paigah nobles ranked next in hierarchy to the ruling family of the Nizams. They have constructed many palaces including Falaknuma Palace. Several generations of Paigah nobles are buried in one place and the tombs are built along Persian style with stucco and inlay works of Rajasthani style.
This is a new amusement park at Tank Bund and has a musical fountain show at 630PM and 8.00PM every day except Mondays.
With Urdu as the medium as the medium of instruction, Osmaniya University has one of the largest campuses in India. It was founded in 1919. The building for Arts College was designed by Nawab Zai Yar Jung, Nizam's architect, after studying several European Universities. Most of other Faculty buildings in the Campus all have the same line as the Arts College that blends European and Indian styles. The buildings, the botanical gardens and the landscaped gardens - all are worth and rewarding to visit.
Sadani Ma Ki Darga
The stunning mausoleum built in 1883 is situated on the main road near Secunderabad end of Tank Bund.
Situated in the middle of the Secundrabad's commercial district, this temple was built in 1864. The marble statue of 'Kali' was sculptured in Ujjain. The temple festival known as 'Bonalu' is in June-July and lasts for 15 days.
Holy Trinity Church
Built in 1846 with a donation from Queen Victoria on the land gifted by the Nizam. This protestant church has frosty white spires and stained glass windows.
Situated very close to the Naya Pul (New Bridge), this Qutub Shahi mosque was built by Abdulla Qutub Shah. It is a fairly large mosque with beautiful latticework characteristic of Qutub Shahi mosques.
It was a Unani medical hospital and a residential college complex. Mohamed Quli Qutub Shah built the hospital in 1595 to provide free medicine to as many as 400 patients at a time. Physicians came from as far as Greece, Italy and the Persian Gulf.
State Archaeological Museum, Rastrapati Nilayam, Legislative Assembly, High Court, Naya Pull etc. are a few other places worth visiting.