A great mix of Hindu and Muslim cultures, the capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh consists of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
With a combined population of about eight million, Secunderabad is where the administrative seat of the region is located and was founded by the British whereas, the old city, Hyderabad, is the cultural face, with several museums, traditional bazaars, monuments and religious spots. Read more about these fascination cities.
Hyderabad and Secunderabad
Geography of the Cities
The Hyderabad metropolitan area is divided into three different sectors - Hyderabad, which segregated into the newer regions towards HITEC City and the old city; then there’s the modern city, Secunderabad; and finally the Golconda Fort area.
Both cities are essentially one but are divided by a huge sprawling lake, the Hussain Sagar. South of the Musi River, you will find the Charminar, the icon of the area, the bazaars as well as the Salar Jung Museum. North of the river, there are principal shopping malls and other traditional shopping places like the Sultan Bazar and Abids Circle.
About four kilometers west of Hyderabad railway station lies the posh Banjara Hills district. From here you will see the exclusive residential area of Jubilee Hills and a further 6 km down the road will bring you to HITEC City.
History of the Cities
Hyderabad was set up in the 16th century by Mohammed Quli Shah, ruler of the Golconda Empire, at a location 8 km east of Golconda. Extraordinarily, the newly laid out city had a proper grid system just like any other modern city’s layout.
Stone-made buildings with enormous arches were the style of that era. Even the most famous monument, the Charminar, follows the same architectural pattern. In the beginning, it was a city without walls, but later on, a fortification was built all around which worked as a defense mechanism against the Marathas in the 1740's. Legend has it that the city was linked to the grand Golconda Fort through a network of secret tunnels.
For the three hundred years of Muslim reign, there was harmony between the minority Muslims as well as the majority Hindu population. Hyderabad was the main focus of Muslim power in south India at that time. Even the incredible precious stones found in the prince’s coffer were derived mainly from these regions. Mining was carried at Golconda in the Kistna Valley, which even brought the famed Koh-I-Noor diamond to the world. Although it went to the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, when his son seized the Golconda Fort in 1687, it finally ended up, cut, in the British royal crown.
Today, the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad are home to some of the global corporate giants like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, along with being the same culturally vibrant city presenting the royal grandeur of the Nizams and it's terrific Biryani.