Destinations Explore The Yesteryear Charm Of Hyderabad By Paying A Visit To These Places

Explore The Yesteryear Charm Of Hyderabad By Paying A Visit To These Places

Beyond biryani, Hyderabad offers those paying a visit a platter of old-world places to discover. Here's what to add to your itinerary.


By Eshita Srinivas Published on Sep 16, 2022, 08:00 AM

Explore The Yesteryear Charm Of Hyderabad By Paying A Visit To These Places

Beyond bowls of biryani, Hyderabad offers those paying a visit a platter of old-world places to discover. We’re talking vintage shopping districts, historical monuments, and thriving cultural centres. And although Hyderabad has several swanky new restaurants and malls to pop by, these retro spots continue to have a charm few other cities can lay claim to. Here’s what you should add to your itinerary. By Eshita Srinivas

The city of pearls continues to be one of the most underrated travel destinations in the country. This despite its lineup of picturesque monuments, historically-significant food destinations, and ever-evolving nightlife. The typical itinerary here is diverse – you could spend your mornings digging into malai-bun in the old city and the evenings sipping gin cocktails at a cosy speakeasy. That apart, Hyderabad just so happens to be the perfect place to sign up for heritage walks. It’s also vibrant enough to be the ideal canvas for street photography. And whether you’re in town to explore the touristy spots or would like to pop by a few local haunts – we’ve curated the ultimate guide to the city.

20 best places to visit while vacationing in Hyderabad

Nimrah Cafe And Bakery

Perhaps one of the best ways to start your day in the city, this establishment combines Hyderabad’s two greatest joys – food and history. Located right in front of the iconic Charminar, it’s been around since 1978. Locals often head here for a cup of the ever-popular Irani chai and plate of Osmania biscuits.

The former is a decadent concoction of milk and spices while the latter – named after the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan – is a simple blend of flour, sugar, custard powder, and butter. Early mornings, however, are reserved for some good old malai bun, which features soft bread and cream sprinkled with sugar. Best part? Every bite and sip is as fresh as can be. Head here early for a bite, however, since they’re all usually sold out by 9:00 am.

Address: 20-4-1238/39, Charminar Rd, beside Mecca Masjid, Charminar, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad,
Timings: 4:00 am – 11:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Qutub Shahi Tombs


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One of the most underrated spots in the city, these structures are believed to be the jewels of Hyderabad. One of the oldest in the country – 21 domed granite tombs holding an entire dynasty – the Qutub Shahis – sit amidst a lush landscaped garden here. The architecture is Indo-Saracenic, with false ceilings, central pillars, tiered terraces, and ornamental parapets.

You could spend hours exploring here – taking in the quaint atmosphere, stunning design, and historical significance. You’ll also spot people sitting down for a picnic in the garden nearby. While here, drop by Golkonda Fort. We recommend exploring Naya Quila – built in 1655 by Sultan Abdullah Qtutub Shah as a defence against Mughal armies. Don’t miss out on the ponds, mosques, and the popular Hatiyan Ka Jhad (A baobab tree you can climb) while here.

Address: Qutub Shahi Tombs, near Golkonda Fort, Hyderabad
Timings: 9:30 am – 6:30 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Tickets: INR 10 for adults, INR 5 for children

Hotel Shadab


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A visit to Hyderabad would be incomplete without a bite of the wildly popular basmati delicacy that’s served in the city. And although there’s scores of places for mutton biryani in Hyderabad, this old-school establishment – that’s been around since 1953 – comes out on top.

Underlined by melt-in-the-mouth mutton, the meat to rice ratio here is perfect. As is the balance of spices. Best parts? Generous portions and affordable prices. The chicken keema, munshi naan, payas, haleem, and nihari are popular as well. Round out a meal with some Irani chai and Osmania biscuits.

Address: Madina Circle, 21-1-140-144, Near High Court, High Court Rd, Charminar, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
Timings: 6:00 am – 2:00 am (Monday-Sunday)

Book a stay at Taj Krishna here

Chowmahalla Palace


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One of the most recommended spots in the city, the official residence of the Nizams is a sight to behold. Constructed over 200 years ago, the spot features Persian, Rajasthani, European, and Indo-Saracenic architecture. Said to resemble the Shah Palace of Tehran in Iran, the structure boasts of four palaces – Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Aftab Mahal, and Afzal Mahal. Each comes with its own story to tell and while not all are accessible to the public, it’s worth taking a stroll through the expansive landscaped gardens – complete with fountains – for a peek.

While here, peep the clock tower (Khilwat clock), council hall (lined with manuscripts and personal collections), and Roshan bungalow (named after the mother of the sixth Nizam) as well. That said, the Durbar Hall is believed to be the most beautiful part – complete with intricate Persian work, marble spaces, and imposing arches. The galleries here offer a glimpse of unique, old-world crockery, clothing, furniture, and coins and currency, amongst other things. Reportedly, the onion samosa at the palace canteen is a must–try.

Address: 20-4-236, Motigalli, Khilwat, Hyderabad
Timings: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Monday-Sunday; closed on Fridays)
Tickets: Free entry

Badshahi Ashurkhana


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Not one of the more popular features of a typical Hyderabad itinerary – this is the spot to head to if you’re spiritual. The heritage site – which also happens to be the second oldest monument in Hyderabad (1611) – is a place of piety and mourning for Shia muslims. Built by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah – the founder of the city and the man behind Charminar – the tiles here are colourful – featuring geometrical patterns and verses from the holy Qur’an. Stone columns, large arches, and vibrant motifs complement this. Muharram is a busy time here. However, many – irrespective of religion – head to the spot for some food and peace of mind. Don’t miss out if you’re in the neighbourhood.

Address: Madina Ln, Rikab Gunj, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
Timings: Open 24 hours (Monday-Sunday)

Book a stay at ITC Kohenur here

Subhan Bakery


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Hyderabad may have numerous popular bakeries to its name but this particular spot – established in 1948 – is a must-visit. It first started as a home-based business and is now known to be the go-to spot for the most delicious Osmania biscuits in town. While here, you could pick up puffs, cakes, rolls, dum ke roat (semolina and nut cookies), milk bread, and chicken puff. The bread, in fact, is believed to be so popular that the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru would have it ordered for breakfast during his visits. Pop by to get some souvenirs and snacks to take home with you. Not to mention, for some heavy doses of nostalgia.

Address: 1-6-467, Nampally Market Rd, Devi Bagh, Bazar Ghat, New Mallepally, Hyderabad
Timings: 7:30 am – 11:45 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Nizam’s Museum

Perhaps one of the best ways to get a crash course in how history shaped Hyderabad, this museum – located in the Purani Haveli – boasts of an ensemble of memoirs, artefacts, souvenirs, royal gifts, and more. A true glimpse into the life of the Nizams – a massive attraction here is the golden wooden throne that was in use during the last Nizam’s silver jubilee celebrations. Also popular? Portraits of Mir Osman Ali Khan, daggers studded with diamonds and gold, and the 176 feet-long, double-level Burmese teak wardrobe of the sixth Nizam. Don’t miss out on the vintage car display – including a Jaguar Mark V and a 1930 Rolls Royce.

Address: Purani Haveli, Pathar Gatti, Hyderabad
Timings: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Monday-Sunday; closed on Fridays )
Tickets: INR 80

Taj Mahal Hotel


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A visit to Hyderabad would be incomplete without stopping over this spot that’s often packed with students, working professionals, and tourists alike. On the menu? Irani chai, button vada, palak paneer dosa, masala dosa, and thali. The main attraction, however, is their soft, melt-in-the-mouth idlis served with chutney and sambar. Reportedly, the button idlis here were favoured by artist MF Hussain. Round out a meal here with some filtered coffee.

Address: 4-1-999, Abids, Hyderabad
Timings: 7:00 am – 10:30 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Book a stay at Vivanta Hyderabad here

Paigah Tombs

Spread across about 40 acres – these historical sites can be traced back to the late 18th century and are one of the most popular places to visit in Hyderabad. Built in honour of the Paigahs – married to the daughters of the Nizams and the highest ranking nobles in Hyderabad after them – these tombs come with breathtaking architecture, complete with intricate stone work. The style of art here is an amalgamation of Mughal and Moorish – with marble inlay work, geometrical patterns, carefully carved mosaic tile work, iron fixtures and more. Spot the family tree demonstrated on epitaphs here.

Address: Qalender Nagar Rd, Santosh Nagar, Kanchan Bagh, Hyderabad
Timings: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Tickets: Free entry

Taramati Baradari


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This underrated spot is a part of Ibrahim Bagh right outside Golkonda Fort. The Persian-style garden was built during the reign of Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, the second sultan of the property and the structure itself features 12 doorways and was built on the banks of the Musi river. Once serving as an auditorium, the spot was favoured by legendary dancer and singer Taramati. Legend has it that she once continued dancing even when asked to stop by Emperor Aurangzeb. This spot is located atop a hill so you could test out the stellar acoustics of the complex. That aside, it’s now run by the Telangana Tourism Corporation and plays host to several cultural programs round the year so be sure to check ahead.

Address: Ramdev Guda, Ibrahim Bagh, Hyderabad
Timings: 11:00 am – 6:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Tickets: Free entry

Book a stay at Courtyard by Marriott Hyderabad here

Laad Bazaar


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Located right outside Charminar, this popular shopping spot offers everything from bangles to clothing material. Popular options here are pearls, semi-precious jewellery, handbags, lacquer accessories, and more. This is a bustling spot, packed with people through the week and at all times. Reportedly, it was just as lively during the time of the Qutub Shahis and Nizams. If you’ve got souvenir shopping in mind, there’s no better place than this one to do it. Not to mention, it’s a photographer’s delight.

Address: Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
Timings: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Jummerat Bazaar

Right next door to the Gudimalkapur Flower Market is this 80-year-old flea market that opens up every Thursday religiously. Vendors populate the Muslim Jung bridge and Purana bridge region – offering safety pins, clothes, bicycles, and more. Many come in from different parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to set up shop as well. Head here with your camera for some classic street photography or pick up souvenirs and other knick knacks to take home with you.

Address: Chor Bazar, Hyderabad
Timings: 6:00 am – 6:00 pm (Thursday)

Book a stay at Mercure Hyderabad KCP Banjara Hills here



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You’d be hard pressed to find a Hyderabad itinerary that doesn’t include a meal at this iconic restaurant that has branches all over the city. Reportedly established in the early 2000s, this spot isn’t quite as old as others on this list. That said, it continues to hold a certain nostalgic charm in the hearts of locals who’d head here as children for South Indian fare with family. The menu here boasts of vegetarian delicacies – especially breakfast food like idlis, dosas, and wadas. In particular the Guntur idli, 70 mm dosa, MLA dosa, Andhra thali, and filter coffee come highly recommended. The highlight, however, is the dizzyingly large variety of chutneys that a meal comes with. We’re talking coconut, tomato, groundnut, red onion, garlic and more!

Address: Shilpa Arcade, 8-2-248/A B-1, Ground Floor, Rd Number 3, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad
Timings: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)


Perhaps one of the most contemporary destinations on this list, Lamakaan is an important cultural centre in the city. For over a decade, it has played host to several politically and culturally-relevant art as well as literature-related events and performances – establishing itself as a space for free-flowing debates and dialogues. An excellent spot to meet people from all walks of life, there’s always something going on here. The space is eco-friendly, with the construction working with nature rather than against it. Ticket prices are capped at INR 200 and are always open to all. There’s also food and tea at the in-house cafeteria to relish.

Address: Off Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Opposite GVK One, Hyderabad
Timings: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm (Tuesday-Sunday, closed on Monday)

Necklace Road

This popular spot in Hyderabad might not be steeped in history, but it definitely holds a nostalgic factor in the hearts of most locals. In fact, growing up, many can attest to heading here late at night for some ice cream or post school for a snack. Street vendors offer everything from chicken 65 to dosa here as well. This spot is almost postcard perfect, with a lit up Buddha statue located right in the centre of the man-made Hussain Sagar lake, a flurry of people going about their days and a throng of lush gardens – NTR, Lumbini, Sanjeevaiah – just a walk away. Stick around for the sunset, it’s one of the best spots in the city for it.

Address: PV Narasimha Rao MargHyderabad
Timings: 8:00 am – 10:30 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Book a stay at The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace here

Birla Temple


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Right at the top of most must-visit lists when it comes to Hyderabad, Birla temple is a stunning structure of nearly 2000 tonnes of white marble from Rajasthan. It’s located atop a 280 feet hiil – Naubat Pahad – and is a sight to behold. Artisans and sculptors reportedly spent over 10 years in its construction. The payoff? A 42 feet brass flagstaff, temple tower, intricate designs on the walls that tell the tales of Ramayana and Mahabharat, and several shrines dedicated to different deities. The architectural style is a blend of North Indian and South Indian sensibilities and the view of the Hussain Sagar lake from above alone is worth the visit.

Address: Hill Fort Rd, Ambedkar Colony, Khairtabad, Hyderabad
Timings: 7:00 am – 12:00 pm; 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Famous Ice Cream


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If you plan on experiencing Hyderabad like a local, a visit to this spot is a given. One of Old City’s most popular destinations for ice cream, this establishment has been around since the 1950s. Known for hand-churned, seasonal fare, the menu boasts of options like chikoo, custard apple, chocolate, mango, and more. Combine that with a laid back atmosphere and the Charminar in view and you’ve got yourself a lesson in history with a side of dessert.

Address: 5-4-650/36/38, MJ Market, Nampally, Hyderabad
Timings: 12:00 pm – 12:00 am (Monday-Sunday)

Mecca Masjid

One of the oldest mosques in Hyderabad, the Mecca Masjid was commissioned by Muhammad Quili Qutub Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty and was completed in 1694. The arch embellishments over the structure’s main sanctum are believed to be made from the soil of the holy land of Mecca – hence the name. The spot can accommodate over 10,000 people and boasts of a 75-foot-high hall, 15 intricately designed arches, and two octagonal columns made from a single granite stone. Verses from the Qur’an are carved into the arches and doors as well. Head here on a Friday to witness just how many people the space holds at once. Many locals, however, recommend heading early to really take in the surroundings.

Address: Charminar Rd, Charminar, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad
Timings: 4:00 am – 9:30 pm (Monday-Sunday)

Book a stay at Trident Hyderabad here



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An iconic spot in the city, this crafts village has been around since 1992. First established to preserve local craft, it now hosts several festivals, events, and performances frequently. Here you can shop for handicrafts, jewellery, sarees, picturesque bowls, quirky portraits, vibrant bedsheets, and other unique trinkets. You might even spot fortune tellers, henna artists, and more! Expect fun interactions and plenty of vibrant shots for the ‘gram. Head here on a weekend, when there’s enough people around to keep things lively.

Address: Hi Tech City Main Road, Madhapur Rd, HITEC City, Hyderabad
Timings: 10:30 am – 8:00 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Tickets: INR 60 for adults, INR 20 for children



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Rounding out this list on a high is this iconic monument that’s captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Over 400 years old, Charminar is the centre of a flurry of activity. While here you could buy bangles, shoes, traditional perfume (attar), sling bags, kurtis, dupattas, and more! Not to mention, there’s scores of local, authentic spots to grab Hyderabadi delicacies like double ka meetha or biryani. Day or night – Charminar’s charm will dazzle you. That said, for a one-of-a-kind experience, pop by during Ramadan or Eid.

Address: Charminar Rd, Char Kaman, Ghansi Bazaar, Hyderabad, Telangana
Timings: 9:00 am – 5:30 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Tickets: INR 5

All images: Shutterstock

Related: Adalaj To Lal Darwaja: Historical Places In Ahmedabad For A Tour Of India’s Past

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: How to explore whole Hyderabad quickly?

Answer: Sign up for heritage walks and food tours to explore Hyderabad quickly.

Question: How to spend 3 days in Hyderabad?

Answer: Begin by exploring the old city - Charminar, Laad Bazaar, Nimrah Cafe. Sign up for a heritage tour that takes you through Hyderabad’s many tombs and palaces and hit up popular spots for dosa (Chutney’s) and biryani (Shadaab) along the way. 3 days are sufficient to explore all destinations listed out above.

Question: Where to avail best travel deals for Hyderabad?

Answer: Book a hotel through booking.com and check with the hotel concierge for options.

Question: Which season is best to explore Hyderabad?

Answer: Hyderabad is best explored during the winter months of October-March when the weather is clear and the sun isn’t too harsh.

Question: What is the speciality of Hyderabad?

Answer: Hyderabad is known for its yesteryear spirit, Nizami delicacies - biryani, pathar gosht, badaam ki jali -, historical monuments, spiritual sites, and delicious street food.

Question: Is nightlife in Hyderabad good?

Answer: The past few years have seen Hyderabad open up to swanky new clubs, pubs, and speakeasies - pointing to an evolving and thriving nightlife in the city.

Question: Is charminar safe at night?

Answer: Yes, Charminar is safe at night. Many locals head here for a long drive after hours.

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