Hyderabad is an important centre of Islamic culture. Here, lively crowded bazaars surround huge and impressive Islamic monuments. Charminar : This triumphal arch is standing in the heart of the old walled city and is surrounded by lively bazaars. An image of this building graces every packet of Charminar cigarettes, one of India's most popular brands. The arch is illuminated daily from 7 to 9 pm. Mecca Masjid : Next to the Charminar is the Mecca Masjid. This is one of the largest mosques in the world and is said to accommodate up to 10,000 worshippers. The colonnades and door arches are made from single slabs of granite. To the left of the mosque is an enclosure containing the tombs of the nizams. Birla Mandir (Naubat Prahad) Temple : This stunningly beautiful modern Hindu temple, built out of white marble, graces the rocky hill which overlooks the south end of Hussain Sagar. There are excellent views over the city from the summit, especially at sunset. The temple is a very popular Hindu pilgrimage centre. It is open from 4 to 9 pm. on weekdays, and from 7.30 to 11 am. and 3 to 7.30 pm. on weekends. There is no entry fee. Nearby is the Birla Planetarium. Admission is Rs. 5. Buddha Statue : One of the largest stone Buddhas in the world is in Hyderabad. The 17.5 mtr. high, 350 tonne, monolithic statue is erected across the Hussain Sagar dam wall.



Salar Jang Museum : It contains 35,000 exhibits from all corners of the world and includes sculptures, woodcarvings, religious objects, Persian miniature paintings, illuminated manuscripts, armour and weaponry. You will also see the swords, daggers and clothing of the Moghul emperors and of Tipu Sultan. The museum is open daily, except Fridays, from 10 am to 5 pm. Entry is Rs. 2.00. Archaeological Museum : It is in the public gardens between Public Gardens Road and the branch railway line which leads to Hyderabad railway station. It has a small collection of archaeological finds from the area, together with copies of the Ajanta frescoes. Opening hours are 10.30 am to 5 pm daily, except Mondays, and entry is Rs. 0.50. The gardens also feature an aquarium in the Jawahar Bal Bhavan. It is open from 10.30 am to 5 pm daily, except Friday. Nehru Zoological Park : It is one of the largest zoos in India and is spread out over 1.2 sq. km. of landscaped gardens with animals leaving in large, open enclosures. There is also a prehistoric animal section, a toy train around the zoo and a lion safari trip. The park is open daily from 8.30 am to 5 pm, except Mondays, and entry costs Rs. 1.00. Golconda Fort and Tombs of Qutab Shahi Kings : This is one of the most magnificent complexes in India. The citadel is built on a granite hill 120 mtrs. high and is surrounded by crenellated ramparts constructed of large masonry blocks. The massive gates are studded with large pointed iron spikes. Outside the citadel stands another crenellated rampart.One of the most remarkable features of Golconda Fort is its system of acoustics.



Tombs of Qutab Shahi : The tombs of the Qutab Shahi kings lie about 1 km. north of the outer perimeter wall of Golconda. These graceful structures are surrounded by landscaped gardens, and number of them have beautifully carved stonework. The tombs are open daily except Friday. A small guide book, Guide to Golconda Fort and Qutab Shahi Tombs, is on sale for Rs.2 at the tombs and the fort. You need at least half a day to explore these extensive ruins. City bus Nos 119 and 142 take you from Public Gardens Rd, outside the public gardens, to the main fort entrance at Balahisar Gate.



Hyderabad is famous for glass bangles and these can be bought in Lud Bazaar, the street running to the right of the Charminar. Prices range from as little as Rs.8 for a box of a dozen or so up to Rs.30 for one.



GETTING THERE AND AWAY AIR There are Indian Airlines flights in either direction daily between Hyderabad and Bangalore, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Madras,, Bhubaneswar via Nagpur, and to Vishakhapatnam. Vayudoot operates services from Hyderabad to Tirupathi, Vijayawada, Rajahmundry and Madras. BUS Buses leave from the main APSRIC bus station, Gowliguda, for all parts of the state. There are also a number of private bus companies offering superdeluxe video buses to such cities as Bangalore, Bombay, Madras, Nagpur and Tirupathi. Most of their offices are on Public Gardens Rd close to the Hyderabad railway station entrance road. They include Asian Travels, inside the Asian Lodge, and Noble Travels, next to the New Asian Lodge. TRAIN Secunderabad is the main railway station. The 1675-km trip from New Delhi to Hyderabad on the Nizamuddin-Hyderabad Express takes 33.5 hoours. The quickest route from Calcutta is to take the daily Coromandel Express from Howrah Station and change at Vijaywada. The line from Secunderabad to Aurangabad too Manmad, on the Bombay to Delhi line. The Secunderabad to Ajmer line is also metre gauge. This 1138 km route passes through Khandwa, Mhow, Indore, Ratlam and Chittorgarh.

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