The City of Pearls Hyderabad

One Shahanshah built Taj Mahal in memory of his wife, another named a city after his love. That is how Hyderabad was built and named. History has travelled hundreds of years since then and today it’s one of the foremost cosmopolitan cities of India. It attracts people from across the globe, some for jobs and some for pleasure. This city cannot leave its past but will continue to attract the new generation for which it keeps many more promises for tomorrow

Hyderabad is a growing city and carries a sort of duality. It’s a city steeped in history but at the same time modernizing rapidly. Walking down the crowded by lanes of the city you find that the old world charm still exists. The posh areas of the city have made way for international brands, malls and chains that make you feel at home. It doesn’t matter which part of the globe you are travelling from to the city. It still offers the travellers and residents alike a lot to see, smell and taste in the old city, while the modern areas of the city offer one the comfort one is used to in these times.

Story behind the name

Hyderabad, now famous as Cyberabad, was named by Muhammad Quli after his wife. The son of a Muslim king, he fell in love with a Hindu village dancer Rani Baghmati. She later converted to Islam and married him and was re-named Begum Haidar Mahal; thus the city was named Hyderabad. Interesting tale of what love can inspire people to do. One built the Taj Mahal for his dead wife and another named a city after her.

City deeply rooted in history

The city was established in 1591 by Muhammad QuliQutb Shah and remained under the rule of the dynasty for nearly a century before Mughals captured it. In 1724, Asaf Jah 1 created his own dynasty, known as Nizams of Hyderabad.

It remained a princely state under British rule. It became a part of Indian Union in 1948 and became capital city of Andhra Pradesh after the States Reorganization Act of 1956.

Even today while crisscrossing the city one finds that the relics of Qutb-Shahi and the rule of Nizamare still visible. The iconic Charminar, commissioned by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah still symbolizes the city. Golconda Fort is another major landmark that defines the place. Various dynasties, especially

QutbShahis and Nizams established Hyderabad as a cultural hub. It attracted a large number of artists, intellectuals and historians not only from India but from across the world. It emerged as the foremost centre of cultural activities in India. Historically, Hyderabad was known as a pearl and diamond trading centre and even today it continues to be known as ‘City of Pearls.

Mix of past and present

Hyderabad is still known for its pearls and biryanis and now even for the IT revolution. Once it was the proud own-er of Kohinoor diamond, the Darya-i-Noor, the Orloff, the Pitt, and the great table of the Nizam which are now parts of various museums across the world. But one can still see the place where it all began.

The city is well connected by rail, road and air networks. Language is absolutely not a problem as people converse in Hindi and English both. While in the city you must visit some of these places which are a visual treat – Golconda Fort, the tombs of Qutb Shah, the tomb of Begum Haidar Mahal and the Salar Jung Museum where you still finds books written in eleventh century. From the museum one can take a slightly longer walk to the famous Charmin-ar. Climb up the stairs and you can see the ever-crowded market below. Mecca Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques is located very close to Charminar. It can accommodate up to ten thousand people. If you have a penchant for shopping, the nearby Chudi market with its brilliant coloured glass bangles is a must visit.

Like any other city today, Hyderabad is fast modernizing. Aptly called Cyberabad, it now boasts of a ‘Hi-tech city’, which houses possibly every global IT giant company. While Hyderabad has been going through a transition ever since the carving of Telangana as a separate state, the urban infrastructure is still in doldrums.

The ongoing construction of the metro railway network has been one of the reasons for the dismantling of infrastructure at a lot of places in the city. Sunayan Bhattacharjee, a Hyderabad-based journalist and media academic, said, “The city’s arterial roads need a serious makeover and the traffic can really turn bad during the rush hours. On the positive side though, it is still a comparatively safer city for women and the crime rate is much less compared to some of the other sprawling metropolises of the country. At this point in time, the city is experiencing a major urbanization of its outskirts although real estate investments in the city have gone down significantly”. However, there is a feeling that the situation will improve sooner than later and Hyderabad will again emerge as a lucrative business centre, one of the reasons being its wonderful climate and the other being its strategic positioning within the economically important Deccan Plateau.

The famous biryani

A visit to Hyderabad is incomplete if you don’t taste biryanis. If you are non-vegetarian Hyderabad is a place to visit. Savour the rice dishes with kababs, haleem or Nahari sheep trotters and end the meal with the royal ShahiTukra. For vegetarians the fare is not half as exciting. Even the street food in the city is really to die for. Pratima Karanth, a teacher says “take the case of its gastronomy, which Hyderabadis pride themselves on. Weekends would typically see people flocking to the new age pubs and breweries. These very same people who would not miss their fix of Biryani from Shah Ghouse or Paradise, at least once a week”.

She says “I have lived in Hyderabad long enough now to call myself a Hyderabadi. Needless to say, the journey has been an interesting one, where I’ve seen the city go through changes in every aspect of its being. But what makes this city unique is its ability to change at many levels while still being rooted in its cultural past. Yes the newer quartiers of Gachibowli, Hi-tech City, etc have the more cosmopolitan, yippy, NRI crowd, but even here you cannot but smile at the occasional smatterings of Hyderabadi Urdu, one ends up involuntarily picking up”.

The city has a lot to offer and it’s a place of opportunities. It has created a strong entrepreneur culture. A new eco system has been created. There is great value that the city attaches in retaining its heritage as well and there is no chance that it is going to give up on that. Hyderabad is a city with a glori-ous majestic history and the promise of many tomorrows.

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