Once the seat of India’s richest princely state, Hyderabad is booming again as a high-tech hub of the country’s software industry. It’s a city whose bright future has yet to outshine its illustrious past, and where the echoes of nizams and nawabs still resound among resurrected palaces and grand monuments.
Places of note: Visit Chowmahalla Palace, former seat of the nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, who ruled Hyderabad—then a principality about the size of Italy—from 1724 until its annexation by India in 1948. Dating from 1751, the Chowmahalla was modeled on the shah’s palace in Tehran; its four wings border a central courtyard with a rectangular pond and fountains. If you’re keen on driving to the outskirts of the city, the Golcanda Fort is a picturesque ruin that is also worth the trip. Stay at the Taj Falaknuma Palace hotel, which opened in 2010 as one of India’s great conservation success stories after a massive restoration of the Falaknuma Palace, or check in at the Park Hyderabad, which boasts 270 sleekly outfitted rooms, a restaurant crafted by Mumbai fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani, and a nightclub one accesses via a translucent tube that passes through the swimming pool.
How to get there: Silk Air flies daily from Singapore to Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport; from Bangkok, Thai Airways operates six flights a week. The city is also well connected to Delhi, a two-hour flight away, and other major cities in India.
When to go: Situated 520 meters above sea level on the Deccan Plateau, Hyderabad has a relatively pleasant climate for a major Indian city. The weather is generally at its best from mid-November to March, when skies are typically clear and temperatures remain below 30ºC.