I travel to explore cuisines. Food was the sole reason I decided to visit Hyderabad, but sightseeing came as a bonus. Last year in March, I visited Nizam’s city Hyderabad. As soon as I landed on the Hyderabad Airport, I realized that this is going to be ‘hot’ trip. Apparently, March is when Hyderabad starts sweltering under blazing summers sun and the weather becomes hottest in April and May. However, I was determined to make the most out of this trip.

I had pre booked a homely stay at my office’s holiday home at Adarsh Nagar, which was at the center of the city. The first thing I did as soon as I settled in was to go to Paradise Food Court for dinner. This restaurant is always recommended whenever someone visits Hyderabad. It also had positive reviews on Zomato, so I wanted to start this trip on the safer note. And yes, I hit the JACKPOT in the first trade. Paradise Food court serves the best chicken/mutton biryani I ever had in my life. Chicken Biryani and Double ka meetha at Paradise Food Court made my ‘just-started’ Hyderabad trip memorable. This restaurant started as a small canteen in 1953 and now they have various chains all over Hyderabad, Bangalore and Vizag.

Day 2 was solely dedicated to Ramoji Film City exploration, which is located around 25kms away from main city. Whoever visits Hyderabad devotedly has Ramoji Film City on their ‘to visit’ list. Over the years, Ramoji Film City has become integral part of Hyderabad tourism. I had pre-booked shuttle from Film city website which picked me from and later dropped me back to my location. Beautiful sets, well maintained gardens, railway station set, airport terminal, temples and museums – think what movies and TV shows wants and Film City has it. And you get to explore all!

Little Information about Ramoji Film City
Timings: – 9 A. M. to 5:30 P. M.
Rates:- Rs. 1000(Adult ticket) + Rs. 200(Shuttle charges).
Food option: – They have three restaurants which gives good lunch and snacking option.

By the time shuttle dropped me at Koti Sultan Bazaar (my location), I was completely exhausted. I decided to grab a quick dinner at nearby restaurant ‘Chutneys’ (Banjara Hills branch). To be very clear, this restaurant has great breakfast options. Their USP is 6 different types of Chutneys they serve with authentic South Indian breakfast. I visited this restaurant for dinner and was immediately disappointed by seeing everything but south Indian food option on their menu card for dinner. However, I was determined to taste their south Indian dish, so I settled for Guntur Idli along with their variety chutneys for dinner. No kidding but I ate entire bowl of their sweet coconut chutney and shamelessly asked for the refill.

Day 3 was completely focused on exploring historic side of Hyderabad. I was blessed for having this very small restaurant nearby my accommodation ‘Adarsh Tiffin center’ which served amazing breakfast. My travel always started with visiting this place for piping hot south Indian breakfast – Upma, Perasatu Dosa, Vada sambhar and their authentic filter coffee. After a filling breakfast, I hired a rickshaw to the famous Golconda Fort. Located 11 kms to the west of Hyderabad, Golconda fort is one of the supreme monument of Hyderabad. It was capital of Qutub Shahi Dynasty. Ruins and architecture of the fort gives strong historic evidence of Nizam’s rule in Hyderabad. As you climb on the top of the fort, you get to see glance of entire city.

TIP:– Climbing the fort can be difficult in the sun. Carry enough water to keep yourself hydrated.
Fort timings: 9 am to 5:30pm.
Special attraction: Light and Sound show presenting its history and facts with voice over of Mr. Amitabh Bacchan. Show timings are 7:00 pm (first show), 8:15pm (second show).

After Golconda fort visit, I still had evening to explore the city. I decided to pay visit to iconic monument – Charminar. Charminar is a mosque built at the center of the city. I experienced most chaotic and busiest roads with traffic flowing continuously, honking and making their way through hawkers and tourist. There is ‘Laad bazaar’ (Bangles market) at one side of the monument and to the other side lies Mecca Masjid. Before visiting Hyderabad, I was really excited to visit Laad Bazaar, but the excitement turned into disappointment after standing in the bazaar. I saw hundreds of shop selling the glitteriest bangles you could ever imagine. I am not into glitters or glittery accessories so I returned empty handed from the market. At one point, I started having headache just by looking at the shops and their lighting which complimented the glittery bangles they sold. How I wish I had carried sunglasses! All I knew that I had another excuse to try Hyderabadi cuisine at this very prime location in the city. So, I landed in Hotel Shadab for the dinner. Another iconic restaurant at Hyderabad which serves best Chicken Biryani with mirchi ka salan, is at walking distance from Charminar. I also had Qubani ka Meetha, dessert from Nizam’s kitchen, to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Day 4 started on lazy note. Pretty exhausted from last two eventful days in the city, I decided to take it easy on the last day. I paid quick visit to Sri Jagannath temple located at Banjara Hills. It is the exact replica of original Jagannath Puri temple from Odisha. On my way, I stopped at ‘Famous Ice Cream’ shop at Nampally. This small dhaba like place sells fruit flavor pot ice creams. The ice cream is so delicious, fresh and cheap that you will crave for more. Just on the opposite side of Famous Ice Cream is one of the branches of Karachi Bakery. I grabbed few boxes of their fruit biscuits, Osmania biscuits and other variety of Shrewsbury biscuits as a souvenir of my Hyderabad trip. Rest of the day I spent strolling at Hussain Sagar Lake and catching up on Light and Sound show at Limbuni Park in the evening.

Looking back, I conclude this trip more focused on trying variety Hyderabadi dishes than exploring the city. I missed opportunity to try Haleem – one of their famous servings available during the month of Ramadan. Nevertheless, I might plan another trip to Hyderabad to replenish my foody soul again.

Special mentions:-
• Adarsh Café – Small café at Adarsh Nagar is famous for their 3 Rupees onion samosas.
• Badam ki Jali – at Aziz baugh, Amberpet. They serve Badam and Kaju mithai (recipe straight from Nizam’s era).
• Pista House – Bakery famous for breakfast and serves best Haleem. It is just opposite to Esra hospital, Charminar.
• Idli Factory – If you are at Hyderabad airport, do not miss their south indian snacking options and piping hot filter coffee.