| An Successive dynasties from the Ikshvakus, Pallavas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagaram Kings, Qutub Shahis, Mughals and the Asaf Jahis, have contributed significantly to the State's rich cultural tapestry and have left behind a heritage studded with spectacular monuments.
Charminar is often called as "The Arc de triomphe of the East". It is considered as the legendary masterpiece of Qutub Shahi's.
This beautiful structure derives its name from four intricately carved minarets, The four graceful minarets literally meaning 'Four Minars', soar to a height of 48.7m each, above the ground. It is located amidst the colourful shops of Lad Bazaar with its glittering traditional bangles in the old city. Enormous in its size, this imposing monument exudes a charm that is more than 400 years old.
The Qutub Shahi Reign
The history of Hyderabad begins with the establishment of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Owing to the inadequacy of water and frequent epidemics of plague and cholera Quli Qutub Shah established the new city with the Charminar at its centre with four great roads fanning out in four cardinal directions.
The plan is a square, each side 20m long, while the four arches are 11m wide and rise 20m from the plinth. The four-storeyed minarets rise 20m from the roof of the massive monument and measure 24m from the plinth. The western section of the roof contains a mosque, ranking among the finest the gifted Qutub Shahi artisans ever built.
There are 45 prayer spaces with a large open space in front to accommodate more for Friday prayers. To the east of this space is a lovely verandah with a large open arch in the centre, flanked by smaller ones on both sides.
Falaknuma is a magnificent palace built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Ulmara, the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad , which was later gifted to Mehboob Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad. Falaknuma means 'Star of Heaven. The Falaknuma palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture.
It is located 5-km south of Charminar on a hill above 200ft. An Italian architect designed it and the foundation for the construction was laid on 3rd of March 1884 It took 9 long years to complete the construction. It is totally made with Italian marble and covers a total area of 9,39,712-sq-metre. It was purchased by Nizam VI in 1897 and was used as a royal guesthouse has a commanding view of the entire city. The splendour of Falaknuma Palace and lavish hospitality became famous through out India.
The Architectural Grandness
The shape of the palace resembles that of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings on the north. It has one of the most lavishly decorated interiors. The Jade collection of the Palace is considered to be unique in the world. The Palace has priceless collections of paintings, statues and English furniture.
The Falaknuma palace has the largest Venetian chandeliers. It is said that it took six months to clean a 138-arm Osler chandelier and the palace has 40 such chandeliers adorning the halls. Its glass-stained windows throw a spectrum of colours into the rooms. The walls are artistically painted and decorated. The staircase leading to the upper floor is supported with carved balustrades and marble figures.
The palace has a library with a walnut carved roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library had one of the finest collections of the holy Quran in India. Special pavilion forms a museum of art treasures collected from various Indian States. The dining hall in the palace can accommodate at least 100 guests at a time. The furniture is also very aesthetic. The tableware was made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added. Palace has one of the largest electrical switchboards in India.
The Palace is now the private property of Wala Shah Nawab Mukarram Jah Bahadur, grandson of the seventh Nizam. Prior permission is required to visit this palace. A visit to the Falaknuma palace is an awe-inspiring experience.
Nagarjuna Sagar dam is the tallest masonry dam in the World, located on the border of Guntur - Nalgonda districts. The dam was completed in 1966 and it is 124m high and 1-km long. It is built across the river Krishna and has one of the largest networks of canal systems irrigating over 2,000,000 acres of land in Guntur, Prakasam, Nalgonda, Khammam and Krishna districts.
The Lake: The lake, which the dam straddles, is the third largest manmade lake in the world. 4-km away from the dam, is the viewpoint, where a panoramic view of the amazing landscape, is simply a feast to the eyes. One can find the image of Nagarjuna, on a pylon not too far from the dam.
There are many places of tourist importance near Nagarjuna Sagar like Ethipothala waterfalls, and the thick forest of the Srisailam Wildlife Reserve. This reserve is part of Project Tiger, and supports a variety of animals, birds and reptiles.
A 20-minute ride by a motorboat across the river Krishna attracts tourists for its Buddhist relics and a fine museum. During the floods in Krishna, the dam is a spectacular sight and attracts a lot of tourists.
Qutub Shahi Tomb
Amidst beautifully laid out gardens of Ibrahim Bagh there are seven tombs, erected in memory of the departed kings of Golconda called as Qutub Shahi Tombs. They are magnificent monuments of architectural excellence, located 1-km away from Golconda Fort. They stand as solemn reminders of the grandeur and glory of Golconda and the great kings who are buried here. Unique feature of this place is nowhere in the world are there so many tombs in one place.
A Blend Of Persian, Pathan & Hindu Forms
The tombs are graceful structures with intricately carved stonework. The tombs display a distinctive style, a mixture of Persian, Pathan and Hindu forms. The material used for constructing these tombs was grey granite embellished with stucco ornamentation.
The tombs form a large cluster and stand on a raised platform. They are domed structures built on square bases' surrounded by pointed arches. Each tomb stands on a wide quadrangular terrace approached on all sides by flights of steps. The galleries of the smaller tombs are single storied while the larger ones are two storied.
The main body of the edifice is broad, rising 9 to 15m above the terrace of each tomb is a sarcophagus, which overrules the actual burial vault in a crypt below. The domes were originally overlaid with blue and green tiles, of which only a few pieces remain now.
The Tomb Structure
Balustrades surround it with beautiful minarets at the corners. These are the tombs of the six Qutub Shahi kings. Noteworthy among these is the tomb of the fifth king of the Qutub Shahi dynasty and founder of Hyderabad - Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah. Rising to a height of 42.5m with a large dome and 28 open arches, his tomb is one of the largest and most imposing of monuments.
The tombs were once furnished with carpets, chandeliers and velvet canopies on silver poles. Qurans were kept on supports and readers recited verses from the holy book at regular intervals. Golden spires were fitted over the tombs of the Sultans to distinguish their tombs from those of other members of the royal family.