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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the history and culture of Hyderabad?

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A sultan falling for a dancing girl and ultimately marrying her, naming his city after her- this is the stuff fairy-tales are made of. With legends like this hovering around the history of Hyderabad, romantic aura makes a grand entry into the city. This aura goes on centuries later in the half-ruined monuments that echo ages of histories filled with anecdotes of different varieties.

This colourful ancient city was once a region formed by the unification of different kingdoms, which were under various rulers, from
Budddhists to Hindus, each dynasty contributing their own cultures to make the Hyderabad of today. The rule of Chalukyas and their Kakatiyas chieftains led to the carving of their kingdom in around Warangal. By 1321 AD, Warangal was brought under the control of Muhammad bin Tughluq, thereby, making it a part of the Sultanate of Delhi. By mid-15th century, Warangal has already became a stronghold of the Sultanate. All was well in the kingdom until a revolution by Sultan Quli, the governor of Golkonda, against the Bahmani Sultanate. History has been a constant witness to rise and fall of kingdoms and Hyderabad was no exception to it. The revolution led to the formation of Qutb Shahi dynasty. And, again the rise began with Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who was the fifth ruler of the new dynasty, establishing Hyderabad near the river, Musi  in the year 1591. The rise continued for a long time stamping the city with its universal identifiers- Charminar, Purana Pul and Mecca Masjid. Then came the Mughal empire in the 17th century, who under their wings, introduced a new ruler in 1712, which were referred to as the Nizam. Establishing Hyderabad as their capital, the Nizams continued with their rule till the British came with their agendas and made a pact with the Nizams. All these came to an end in 1948 with Independent India uniting Hyderabad under the umbrella of the new country.

The long and eventful history of the city and the various rules it had experienced, from
Buddhist to the Nizams, contributed in different ways to the rise of the city as a historical heritage. Apart from the architectural marvels that speak of its culture, the city’s involvement with the fields of arts, particularly poetry, songs and dances is known throughout the world. Musahiras, ghazals are identified with Hyderabad as much as the Charminar. The Nizams supported art in every form and the legacy stayed on, with today’s Hyderabad still organizing many programmes related to it. The tolerance of religion is also reflected in the city’s culture, from food, including the famous biryani- a result of the blend of Mughlai with the original Andhra Pradesh cuisine, to structures, ranging from mosque, mandir to statue of the Buddha and churches, Hyderabad is an example for the rest of the country to follow.

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