Hyderabad is the capital and largest city of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Occupying 650 square kilometres (250 sq mi), along the banks of the Musi River, it has a population of 6.8 million and a metropolitan population of 7.75 million, making it the fourth most populous city and sixth most populous urban agglomeration in India.
Hyderabad was historically known as a pearl and diamond trading centre, and it continues to be known as the City of Pearls. Many of the city's traditional bazaars, including Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar, have remained open for centuries.
However, industrialization throughout the 20th century has also attracted major Indian manufacturing, research and financial institutions, including the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, National Geophysical Research Institute and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology.
Special economic zones dedicated to information technology have encouraged companies from across India and around the world to set up operations and the emergence of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the 1990s led to the title of "Genome Valley". With an output of US$74 billion, Hyderabad is the fifth-largest contributor to India's overall gross domestic product.
Established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, Hyderabad remained under the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly a century beforethe Mughals captured the region. In 1724, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, also known as the Nizams of Hyderabad.
The Hyderabad State ultimately became a princely state during British rule, and remained so for 150 years, with the city serving as its capital.
The city continued as capital of a new Hyderabad State after joining the Indian Union in 1948 and before attaining its current status as the focal point of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Hyderabad is expected to be part of Telangana when the new state is carved out of Andhra Pradesh.
Mecca Masjid, A Symbolic Mosque, Mecca Masjid was built 400 years back during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Qutub Shah, the 6th Qutub Shahi Sultan of Hyderabad. The three arched facades have been carved from a single piece of granite, which took five years to quarry. More than 8,000 workers were employed to build the mosque. Muhammed Qutub Shah personally laid the foundation stone of the 'mosque'.
Charminar, a major landmark of Hyderabad with four graceful minarets located in the old city. It is built by Muhammed Quli Qutb Shah as a memorial for plague victims. Charminar in most occasions is used to represent the city and the state and is hailed as a unique Deccan monument. It is in the midst of Charkaman which are four archaways leading to roads in all four directions of the Charminar monument.
Golconda Fort Once abandoned by Qutub Shahis, Golconda Fort is one of the most magnificent fortress complexes in India. Seated on a hill on one side and spiraling fort on the other, its location and internal design made it one of the strongest forts in India.
Qutub Shahi Tombs, Home to various Tombs dedicated to Rulers of Qutub Shahi dynasty, located at Shaikpet, near Golconda Fort. These are an example of Deccan architecture with large minarets, huge domes, delicate marble designs and multiple inner passages.
Paigah Tombs, These are recently discovered series of mausoleums with unique geometrical sculptures which were nowhere found in the world. These are located at Chandrayanagutta. Paigahs were noblemen under the reign of Nizams.
Salar Jung Museum, The museum houses the largest one-man collection of antiques in the world. Collections includeThe Veiled Rebecca and other huge collection of artefacts dating back to a few centuries. A mere day isn't enough to cover the whole museum. Apart from galleries, there is a reference Library, reading room, publication and education section, chemical conservation lab, sales counter, cafeteria etc.
Hussain Sagar, It is a man-made lake famous for the 19-metre tall Buddha statue present in the middle of the lake. Located on its banks is Tank Bund which consists of beautiful gardens and statues of famous personalities. Boating and water sports are a regular feature at the lake.
NTR Gardens – This leisure spot is located beside the IMAX theatre. Situated on 36 acres (146,000 m2) of land adjoining the Hussain sagar, these gardens provide of entertainment and recreation to families and youth alike. It also houses a memorial of Late Shri N.T.Rama Rao, former Chief Minister. It is renowned for its creative design which includes tree-top restaurants and architecture.
Nehru Zoological ParkThis zoo is a natural habitat housing a large variety of animals, birds, nocturnal species, aquatic and amphibian species. Located close to this is the Mir Alam Sagar, which is proposed to be converted into an Aquarium along the lines of Sentosa, Singapore. Its unique feature is the 21 in-built masonry dams that are jewel shaped, which were built in 1804 by Henry Russle, a French engineer in British service.
Ramoji Film City (RFC) It is the world's largest integrated film studio cum theme park, at nearly 3,000 acres (8 km²). It is also one of Asia's most popular tourism and recreation centres. Recently, it has made its way to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest film studio in the world. Opened in 1996, it is about 20 min. drive from Hyderabad on Vijayawada Highway.