Culture & Society

Hyderabad – Qutbs, Nawabs and Biryani

SM Fasiullah for Beyondheadlines

There’s something exotic about Hyderabad – its history, hospitality and cuisine are unusually interesting. The city’s popularity partly comes from Hyderabadi Biryani and Culture, Hi-Tech City, Owaisi brothers, Nightingale of India Sarojini Naidu and Marxist poet Makhdoom Mohiuddin.

However, Hyderabad’s golden past is much more interesting. The very sight of Charminar, an iconic huge 160ft monument and mosque, titillates us to revisit history of the city. Hyderabad was once a city of nawabs and nizams.

Pre-independent India, with its rich resources, grand socio-religious diversity and large population, had been an attraction for many including invaders and travelers. Many rulers ruled India including Hyderabad for a long time and left behind their footprints.

Hyderabad – Qutbs, Nawabs and Biryani

Located on the Musi River in the heart of the Deccan plateau, Hyderabad came into existence when Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth sultan of the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda, planned and established the city, and built Charminar in 1591 CE.

At the young of 15, he ascended to the throne and ruled the well-planned city of Hyderabad for thirty-one years. He modeled the city on the then legendary city of Esfahan of Persia, which was considered the “heaven” on earth.

Later, he built a grand Mecca Mosque, which has the capacity to accommodate 10,000 people. The seven Qutb Shahi tombs near the famous Golconda Fort are reminiscent of the culture prevailed during that time and also of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, which spanned 171 years in the history of South India.

It also reminds us of the firm impression of the Qutb Shahi rulers’ strong personalities upon the land and its people. They were great builders and patrons of learning. They patronized the Persian culture as well as the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolized by the newly developed Deccani idiom.

Nizams-ruled period of Hyderabad saw city prosper and progress to new heights. “Under the nizams the Hindu and Muslim populations lived in amity” notes Encyclopedia Britannica.

Hyderabadi cuisine had become a princely legacy of Nizams – it’s an amalgamation of Arabic, Turkish and Mughlai. Thousands of tourists, visitors and researchers, both local and international, come to Hyderabad to explore its culture, cuisine and history.


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