One of the best features of the amazing $17,000 India trip that we're giving away are the local tours in Mumbai, Delhi, and Udaipur organized by Greaves Tours, the family-owned and operated company that curates customized luxury vacation experiences in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and the Indian Ocean islands. We had the pleasure of traveling to India with Greaves CEO Shahrookh Cambata and asked him for the scoop on Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh in southern India.
HYDERABAD, India – The city of Hyderabad is unique in many ways. It is a rare Islamic relic in the largely Hindu environs of South India, once ruled by Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the richest men on earth. The elegant and graceful lines of the Mughal architecture are reminiscent of North India, and the Hyderabadi cuisine, rich in spices, laden in marinated meat layered in saffron rice, is famous throughout India. True to her erstwhile ruler's penchant for jewels, Hyderabad remains well known for its glorious pearls, from translucent white to pink to gold to the exotic black.
IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING
Hyderabad is world renowned for selling the world's best pearls. A day is not complete without at least visiting the pearl district.
WHAT TO DO
Eat With the Locals
Go on a street food tour of Hyderabad — talk about amazing food! Don't forget the famous Hyderabad biryani.
Feast like Royalty
Have a private sunset dinner at Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel overlooking Hyderabad.
Pearls are sold everywhere in all forms in Hyderabad, but the markets around Charminar are the best for serious pearl shoppers.
Tour a Palace
See the former residence of Nizam at the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel. Take a Heritage Walk, visit the palace library, billiards room, or end the day with a Champagne Palace walk.
Tour Another Palace
Nizam liked his palaces. Explore one of his ceremonial palaces, the Chowmahalla Palace.
See the City
Visit Hyderabad's Old City, and see Charminar, the iconic four-tower monument and mosque.
Visit a Mosque
Stand in awe at India's largest mosque, Mecca Masjid, named for the bricks used to build the mosque that were believed to have been brought from Mecca.
Explore the Ruins
Walk through old diamond mines at Golcanda Fort and the views at the top are worth the hike. Stay for the daily light-and-sound show in the evening.
Take a Day Trip
Fly to Hampi, the former capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, to see history in the form of temples and rock monuments.
WHERE TO STAY
Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel
The palace is located 2,000 feet above Hyderabad, and offers incredible views, stunning palace accommodations, and world-class service. You feel like royalty during your entire stay.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly: You can fly directly to Hyderabad International Airport (HYD) from several international locations, on airlines such as Emirates.
WHEN TO GO
While there might be some rain and warmer temperatures from June to August, Hyderabad is a year-round destination.
- Hyderabad Pearls itinerary (Greaves Tours)
- 36 Hours in Hyderabad (The New York Times)