Why go now?
Hyderabad, capital of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, has the feel of an ancient city transplanted into the 21st century: crumbling vestiges of elegant estates on the one hand; ultra-modern office parks and shopping malls on the other. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is a local boy and the city is striding forward on its hi-tech credentials. Yet a quiet movement is under way to reclaim what's left of the past – with spectacular restorations of the Taj Falaknuma Palace and Chowmahalla Palace.
Through it all, the city feels refreshingly untouched by tourism. Who knows how long it will be before word gets out that some of India's best cuisine and most intriguing historical sites are found in this bustling metropolis?
Get your bearings
Hyderabad was ruled by the Islamic Qutb Shahi dynasty and later the Mughals, one of whom — Asaf Jah — created his own dynasty, the Nizams, who presided until 1947. The city sprawls over the banks of the Musi River, with the Old City to the south and the newer reaches to the north and west. The modern city is a congested expanse of drab 1970s concrete high-rises, crowded flyovers and shiny shopping centres. Newer, better-planned neighbourhoods have sprouted in what's known as Cyberabad, where Facebook, IBM and Deloitte have gleaming offices. The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation office is at Tourism House, Himayatnagar (aptdc.gov.in). It opens 7am to 8pm daily.
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