What you need to know
Hyderabad is the capital of Telangana in Southern India, located on the banks of the Musi River and on the Deccan Plateau. Hyderabad and Secunderabad are “twin cities” near Hussain Sagar Lake (also known as Tank Bund in local parlance) but both cities have grown so much that now they have become one big metropolis. The city and district of Hyderabad are coterminous. Hyderabad district is entirely contained within the Ranga Reddy district of Telangana. Many of the suburbs of Hyderabad were recently merged into the city, now called Greater Hyderabad.
A city rich with history and tradition, Hyderabad now competes with Bangalore and Chennai for the crown of India’s IT capital; Microsoft and Google have their India headquarters here.
A major center for the technology industry, it’s home to many upscale restaurants and shops. Its historic sites include Golconda Fort, a former diamond-trading center that was once the Qutb Shahi dynastic capital. The Charminar, a 16th-century mosque whose 4 arches support towering minarets, is an old city landmark near the long-standing Laad Bazaar.
Population: 6.81 million(2011)
Area: 650 km²
The Indian rupee (Rs) is India’s currency, and comes in denominations of Rs1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 notes. Coins come in denominations of Rs5, 2 and 1, as well as 50 and 25 paise. There are 100 paise in a rupee.
You can’t exchange Indian rupees outside of the country so if you’re going to need money to get to your hotel, you must head to the airport’s exchange bureau when you arrive.
The best exchange rates are offered by the banks in India, however the cheapest option is to withdraw cash from the ATMs as they are convenient and give the most competitive rates. You’ll find no shortage of unauthorised money changers, but it’s inadvisable to use them as you could be cheated easily.
ATMs are widely available in the big cities across India and they typically accept Cirrus and PLUS. Most ATMs allow you to withdraw Rs10,000 at a time, which is roughly US$200. Credit cards are accepted in the larger restaurants, hotels and shops, with Visa and MasterCard being the most popular; expect a two per cent service change. Traveller’s cheques are accepted at banks, hotels and some restaurants.
yderabad has a tropical wet and dry climate bordering on a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh). The annual mean temperature is 26.6 °C (79.9 °F); monthly mean temperatures are 21–33 °C (70–91 °F). Summers (March–June) are hot and humid, with average highs in the mid-to-high 30s Celsius; maximum temperatures often exceed 40 °C (104 °F) between April and June. The coolest temperatures occur in December and January, when the lowest temperature occasionally dips to 10 °C (50 °F). May is the hottest month, when daily temperatures range from 26 to 39 °C (79–102 °F); December, the coldest, has temperatures varying from 14.5 to 28 °C (57–82 °F).
Heavy rain from the south-west summer monsoon falls between June and September, supplying Hyderabad with most of its mean annual rainfall. Since records began in November 1891, the heaviest rainfall recorded in a 24-hour period was 241.5 mm (10 in) on 24 August 2000. The highest temperature ever recorded was 45.5 °C (114 °F) on 2 June 1966, and the lowest was 6.1 °C (43 °F) on 8 January 1946. The city receives 2,731 hours of sunshine per year; maximum daily sunlight exposure occurs in February.
Bengali, the official state language, is the dominant language in Kolkata. English is also used, particularly by the white-collar workforce. Hindi and Urdu are spoken by a sizeable minority.
Hyderabad has remained safe from terrorism of late, although an explosion suspected to be by the Indian Mujahideen happened in 2013, killing 17 and injuring over a hundred people. In 2007 and 2008, Hyderabad has been victim to multiple terrorist outrages in the form of bombings. These blasts have taken place at Mecca Masjid, Lumbini park and at Koti, places often frequented by travellers. Though the chance that you will be in danger is quite low, you should obviously make your own risk assessment. Rather than physical danger, it is more likely that the intrusive security will dampen your enjoyment of your Hyderabad vacation. Every shopping mall, cinema theatre and palace has metal detectors and security guards patting you down.
The old city area was historically known as a communally sensitive zone and a venue for religious riots between Hindus and Muslims. It was common for the police to impose a curfew in that area while the rest of the city went about life without any problems. Old city continues to be at the heart of Hyderabad’s crime wave and though many tourist attractions including Charminar are in this area, it is best to avoid late night visits, especially for single females or foreigners traveling alone.
While there were fears of law and order issues before the formation of the Telangana State, such fears have been put to rest by the exemplary police forces here, who are both well equipped and citizen friendly, even taking complaints via Whatsapp, mobile app, and Facebook, and keeping complainants updated on the status of their complaints via the same media. Hyderabad also has an extensive network of CCTV cameras whose feed is used very frequently to swiftly solve crimes.
Outside of these, Hyderabad is a rather safe metropolis. Muggings and violent crime are uncommon, most crimes involve thefts. Avoid staying out late at night, especially if you are a single woman.
The usual tourist-oriented scams in India are not as bad in Hyderabad as they are in other places. However, foreigners will be hounded for money at tourist sites like the old city. Just ignore the beggars and they will go away.
Should tourists run into any kind of problem they should immediately contact police at “100” or the emergency services at “108”. The police personnel are extremely helpful and for foreign tourists it is even better. Traffic police can be found nearly at all major junctions and can be more effective than “108”.
The health care system in Hyderabad, India consists of 50 government hospitals, with bed facility of 5749, and the city has around 165 Private hospitals and up to 4000 clinics and Nursing Homes and 500 diagnostic centers, Total providing up to 12,000 bed spaces in general.
The health scenario in Hyderabad is standardized and easily affordable than many other cities in India. The majority of residents prefer treatment at private health sector and the proportion of 28% of residents uses government facilities, due to far distance locations, poor quality of patient care and extreme waiting time.
The Indian Heart Association, is a non-profit NGO headquartered in Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad dedicated to raising cardiovascular health awareness among the South Asian population.
About One third of women and One fourth of men are overweight and obese, about 49 percent of children below 5 years are anemic and up to 20 percent children are underweight. Diabetes is emerging important health problem in urban areas of India, more than 2 percent of women and 2.8 percent men suffer from diabetes in Hyderabad.
Hyderabad is the largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP), tax and other revenues, of Telangana, and the sixth largest deposit centre and fourth largest credit centre nationwide, as ranked by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in June 2012. Its US$58 billion GDP made it the sixth-largest contributor city to India’s overall GDP in 2008. Its per capita annual income in 2011 was ₹44,300 (US$660). As of 2006, the largest employers in the city were the governments of Andhra Pradesh (113,098 employees) and India (85,155). According to a 2005 survey, 77% of males and 19% of females in the city were employed. The service industry remains dominant in the city, and 90% of the employed workforce is engaged in this sector.
Public and private schools in Hyderabad are governed by the Central Board of Secondary Education and follow a “10+2+3” plan. About two-thirds of pupils attend privately run institutions. Languages of instruction include English, Hindi, Telugu and Urdu. Depending on the institution, students are required to sit the Secondary School Certificate or the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education. After completing secondary education, students enroll in schools or junior colleges with a higher secondary facility. Admission to professional graduation colleges in Hyderabad, many of which are affiliated with either Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad (JNTUH) or Osmania University (OU), is through the Engineering Agricultural and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAM-CET).
There are 13 universities in Hyderabad: two private universities, two deemed universities, six state universities and three central universities. The central universities are the University of Hyderabad, Maulana Azad National Urdu University and the English and Foreign Languages University. Osmania University, established in 1918, was the first university in Hyderabad and as of 2012 is India’s second most popular institution for international students. The Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Open University, established in 1982, is the first distance-learning open university in India.
Hyderabad is also home to a number of centres specialising in particular fields such as biomedical sciences, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, such as the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) and National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). Hyderabad has five major medical schools—Osmania Medical College, Gandhi Medical College, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Deccan College of Medical Sciences and Shadan Institute of Medical Sciences and many affiliated teaching hospitals. The Government Nizamia Tibbi College is a college of Unani medicine. Hyderabad is also the headquarters of the Indian Heart Association, a non-profit foundation for cardiovascular education.
There are many ways to get around in Hyderabad. It has good bus service, good autorickshaw service (although they never charge by meter and always overprice, making cabs cheaper) and well developed Radio taxi services as well as new app based services such as Uber and Ola. There is a local train service too, but it is grossly inadequate and unreliable. It is advisable that travelers using smartphones download the Hyderabad Police and Hyderabad Traffic Police apps from the app store, as these have some safety features such as and SOS button to the control room, as well as options to lodge complaints.
Hyderabad has good local bus connectivity and is run by TSRTC, a state-government owned corporation. Most intercity buses start and end at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Terminus more commonly known as Imlibun, and there are numerous depots where city service buses start and end. One can use Google maps to plan travel by bus. There are five categories of buses (Ordinary, Metro Express, Metro Deluxe, AC, Volvo AC). The Volvo Buses are the most comfortable.
Autorickshaws in Hyderabad should be metered, though it can be difficult for non-locals and locals alike to find an autorickshaw driver who ever agrees to a metered fare. (This is especially true when hailing an auto in front of a 5 star hotel, near bus stands, railway stations and near Hi-Tech area.) However, Traffic police are very helpful and will help engage an Auto with metered fare. Autos can carry a maximum of 3 passengers excluding the driver, but it is common to find them being overloaded to carry up to six passengers when one. here are also shared 4 seater and 8 seater Maxi Vans available to and fro from the suburbs to a main location of the city in that direction. Fares are mostly 2 rupees more than bus fares, but are far more comfortable and fast for short distances up to 5 km. Fix the fare before you step into the autorickshaw. Auto Drivers in Hyderabad are a nightmare and are absolutely uncooperative. Finding a needle in a haystack is easier than finding an auto driver who agrees to go by the metered rate with a common excuse that their meter is not functioning.
It is best to use new app based cabs such as Ola and Uber, which assure service and courteous drivers. However, there have been cases of misbehavior by Cabdrivers (although few) and it is advised to us the Hyderabad Police app and enter the details of the cab you are getting into, to be safe. Fares for these start at Rs. 6 per km and Rs. 1 per minute of ride time. (Ola Micro). Availability is very good at busy locales, and most apps have tracking features as well as SOS features. Metered Radio taxis are available, but they cannot be hailed off the street. One needs to call their centralised call centre and book the service. Service is very good, especially if you are booking for longer distances. It can be next to impossible to be able to get a Radio cab without prior booking since demand far outstrips the supply. All metered cabs have digital meters that show the distance and fare.
Local trains called MMTS are available, albeit only for a few places in Hyderabad, The frequency ranges from 10 to 30 minutes, except during day time and Sundays, when there are fewer trains. It is a fast way of travel to the few stations it covers, and the cheapest option as well. If you plan to travel through MMTS check out the schedule on the website MMTS Train Timings,. If you are foreign traveler it is advisable to take first class. General class tend to get overcrowded and you can never find a seat at intermediate stations. If you have to catch a train do not rely on the MMTS schedule, as it is rarely followed and usually late; Trains may also get cancelled without prior notice. Daily and monthly passes are also available at the MMTS stations.