Hyderabad:  Hyderabad: Hyderabad, the capital of (now) Telangana (previously Andhra Pradesh) was founded in 1591 by Sultan Muhammed Kuli. It has long been a center of Muslim culture and learning. Built on the banks of the river Musi, and surrounded by huge prehistoric rock formations, it is a blend of the fairy tale and the earthy, a mixture of old and new. The city gives travelers fascinating glimpses of past splendors, the legacy of its four hundred year old history. We will visit the Public Gardens which enclose the State Legislature and the Archaeological Museum; Gandhi Bhavan; and, Mecca Masjid - this mosque is said to have bricks from Mecca built into its central arch. The city was built around Charminar (Hyderabad’s famous landmark), a rectangular, four arched monumental gate 180 feet high and crowned at its four corners by graceful minarets. The eye-catching buildings of Osmania Hospital, High Court, State Library, Lad Bazaar. Salar Jung Museum - one of the best private museums in the world with a remarkable collection of curios, manuscripts, ancient weapons and costumes. Abid Road, the city’s shopping center. A multitude of influences has shaped the character of the city in the last 400 years.

Various Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms ruled the area during the subsequent centuries, and as a consequence historic Buddhist sites are scattered around the area.

Hyderabad became an important trading centre for diamonds and pearls, and a centre for culture. After a brief period of Mughal rule, the first Nizam of Hyderabad conquered the city in 1724. The Nizams later signed a subsidiary alliance with the British, and their territory became Hyderabad State, the largest princely state in British India with the city of Hyderabad as its capital. During this period, industry, railways, modern education, and airways developed in Hyderabad.

After India's independence in 1947, the Nizam did not wish to accede his state to the newly formed nation. By then, his power had weakened due to the Telangana movement. The Indian Army annexed Hyderabad in 1948.

Golkonda Fort. The 1000 year old Golkonda Fort lies 45 minutes by car west of Hyderabad city. The name originates from the Telegu words "Golla Konda", meaning "Shepherd’s Hill". Built by Hindu Kings, the fort was taken over by Bahamani kings, subsequently passing to the Qutb Shahis, who held it from 1512 to 1687 AD. The first three Qutb Shahi kings rebuilt Golkonda, over a span of 62 years. Famous features of Golconda include its system of acoustics, palaces, factories, water supply and the famous Rahban Cannon, one of those used during the last siege of Golconda by Aurangazeb, to whom the fort ultimately fell.