Hyderabad, like much of India, is taking off its traditional clothing and putting on a business suit. The "City of Pearls," named for the pearl trade that the city's economy once relied on, has become of one India's centers of computer technology. The temples, palaces, and forts still remain, and vacation packages to Hyderabad will put you in the middle of this city of startling, wonderful contrasts.
Many of the city's historical attractions are in the Old City, the most famous of which is the four-towered Charminar, the symbol of Hyderabad. Also in the Old Town is Chowmahalla Palace, the former home of Indian royalty. The man-made Hussein Sagar Lake marks the northern end of the city, where it joins with sister city, Secunderabad. The lake is a good spot for a walk, or you can take a boat trip round the Buddha statue in the middle. Golconda Fort, both a historic capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, and an old diamond mine, is a few miles west of town. Car rental in Hyderabad is a good option if you want to visit the fort and explore the surrounding area. Close to the lake is Birla Mandir, a beautiful temple made entirely from white marble.
India holds many festivals every year, and it's a good idea to schedule vacations in Hyderabad to take in at least one festival. One of the biggest is Diwali, the festival of lights, which takes place over five days between October and November, depending on the full moon. The whole city lights up with candles, fireworks, and fun! Makar Sankranti takes place on January 14, representing the harvest and the coming of spring, and is celebrated by people flying colorful kites.
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