Culture of Hyderabad

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Culture of Hyderabad also known as Hyderabadi Tehzeeb or Deccani Tehzeeb,[1] is the traditional cultural lifestyle of the Hyderabadi Muslims, and characterizes distinct linguistic and cultural traditions of North and South India, which meet and mingle in the city and erstwhile kingdom.[2] This blending was the result of the geographic location of the region and the variety of historical dynasties that ruled the city across different periods—its inception by the Qutub Shahi dynasty in 1591 AD, the occupation by the Mughal Empire and its decline, and the patronage under the Asaf Jahi dynasty.

Hyderabadis, as residents of the city are known, may be either Telugu or Urdu speaking. [3] The traditional Hyderabadi garb is Sherwani and Kurta Paijama for men,[4] Khara Dupatta and Salwar kameez for women.[5][6] Burqa and Hijab is commonly practised among the Muslim women in public.[7] Most of the youth wear western clothing.[8] Public carnivals celebrated in Hyderabad include the Ganesh Chaturthi,[9] Bonalu,[10] Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.[11]

The Capital[edit]

Hyderabad city as the former capital of Hyderabad State had received the royal patronage for arts, literature and architecture by the former rulers, also attracting men of letters and arts from different parts of the world to get settled in the city. Such multi-ethnic settlements popularised multi cultural events such as Mushairas, literary and stage drama.[12] Besides the popularity of Western and other Indian popular musics such as the filmi music, the residents of Hyderabad play city based Marfa Music which had become an integral part of every event.[13][14] The Osmania University and University of Hyderabad offers Masters and Doctoral (PhD) level programs in classical languages, modern languages, dance, theatre arts, painting, fine art and communication.[15][16] The Ravindra Bharati, Shilpakala Vedika and Lalithakala Thoranam are well-known auditoria for theatre and performing arts in the city.[17] The modern Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), also known as HITEX, constructed with the cost of 3 billion has become well known venue address internationally.[18] The Hyderabad Literary Festival, held since 2010, is an annual event which showcases the city's literary and cultural aspects.[19] In the year 2010, the first ever International Congress of Mathematicians was organised in the city.[20] Other cultural events include annual Numaish and literary festival for promoting regional Indian literature.[21] Some of the nationally and internationally acclaimed cultural representatives from the city are Sarojini Naidu, Amjad Hyderabadi, M F Hussain,[22] Talat Aziz, Harsha Bhogle, Sharmila Tagore, Vithal Rao, Shaik Dawood Khan, Janardhan Mitta and Rashid Ali.


Hyderabad is home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions which are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role. The first of these to be established was the AP State Archaeology Museum (former name Hyderabad Museum) in 1930.[23] The other important museums including, the Salar Jung Museum, the Nizam Museum, the City Museum,[24] and the Birla Science Museum which also comprises a planetarium.[25]

Salar Jung Museum[edit]

The Salar Jung Museum, which houses "The world's largest one man collection",[26] is by far the largest and most famous museum in the city. It is one of the three national museums of India. It houses an impressive collection of artifacts from all over the world, collected by Salar Jung III, who was the Prime Minister of Hyderabad. Among the most notable exhibits are jade-crafted daggers belonging to Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the famous sculpture of Veiled Rebecca and copies of the Quran in various styles and sizes.


Deccani style painting originated in the 16th century in and around Hyderabad, contains an insightful native style with the blend of foreign techniques and had a similarity of neighbouring Vijayanagara paintings. The highly use of luminous, gold and white colours are generally found in Deccani paintings. Due to the Islamic influence in the sultanate the Deccani paintings are mostly of nature with the background of floral and fauna, and the major use of regional landscape are reflected commonly with regional culture, some of the Deccani paintings present the historical events of the region.[27][28]


The Qutb Shahs are regarded as the great patrons of Telugu,farsi and Urdu language. The region saw a growth of Deccani Urdu literature, the Deccani Masnavi and Diwan composed during those periods are among the earliest available manuscripts in the Urdu language. The literary work of this region is influenced with the regional Marathi, Telugu, and Kannada in parallel with Arabic and Persian including the adoption of poetic meters and a great quantity of renovated words.[29] The period of Nizams saw a growth of literary growth since after the printing was invented in Hyderabad, In 1824 AD, the first collection of Urdu Ghazals named Gulzar-e-Mahlaqa (Mahlaqa's garden of flowers) written by Mah Laqa Bai, was printed and published from Hyderabad.[30] The region of Nizam VII saw many reforms in literary work, first time in history the Nizams introduced Urdu as a language of court, administration and education, along with regional many scholars and poets (Shibli Nomani, Dagh Dehlvi, Fani, Josh Etc.) make Hyderabad their home, that grew and brought reforms in the literary and poetry work.[31] Since after Indian Independence, the organisation that are working for the development of the literary work are Sahitya Akedamy (to promote both Telugu and Urdu in Telangana), Urdu Academy, Telugu Academy, National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, The Comparative Literature Association of India and Andhra Saraswata Parishad (Former name; Nizam Rashtria Andhra Saraswata Parishad). Along with native languages the city attracts many international languages scholars since after the establishment of English and Foreign Languages University (1972).[32] The State Central Library, Hyderabad (former name Asifia Kutubkhana) since 1891 is the biggest library of Telangana.[33] The other popular libraries in the city are the Sri Krishna Devaraya Andhra Bhasha Nilayam, the British Library[34] and the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram which also houses Urdu research center's collection.[35][36][37]

Dance, Theater and Drama[edit]

Since inception of Hyderabad, the nobles have a tradition of courtesans dance and poetry, which had led to a unique style of dance form in court dance in Hyderabad, the Taramati of the early 16th century and Mah Laqa Bai 18th century are some of the early courtesans who popularised Kathak dance and poetry culture in the early history of Hyderabad. Some of the dance festivals organised by the AP Government are; Golconda Music and Dance Festival, The Taramati Music Festival, The Premavathi Dance Festival.[30][38]

The residents of Hyderabad, in the past were not much trendy in theatre and drama, though artists like Baban Khan had been internationally recognised for their theatrical work.[39] It was in the last few decades that the Department of Culture and the Theatre Development Department of Andhra Pradesh Government had applied efforts to promote the art of theatre with multiple programs and festivals.[40] The result of which that most of the youths have been evolved in the theatre art and drama and it is gaining popularity among the residents.[41]


Film-making in Hyderabad was started in early 1917 by Lotus film Co during the Nizams era.[42] The city is home to the Telugu film industry, popularly known as Tollywood,[43] the second largest in India after Bollywood.[44] Since 2005, parallel to Tollywood and Bollywood the city base Hyderabad lingo movies initiated by "Hyderabad Deccan Film Club" deccanwood, had gained popularity in the region.[45] Annually the city host, "International Children Film Festival",[46] and since 2007, the city has hosted the Hyderabad International Film Festival (HIFF),[47] The Prasad IMAX Theaters houses the world's largest IMAX-3D,[48] In the year 2005, the Guinness World Records declared, The Ramoji Film City located in Hyderabad since 1996, as the world's largest film studio.[49]

A Bidriware of the 18th century, displayed at Musée du Louvre


A Fine art metal handicraft Bidri ware (the skills and techniques which came from Middle East to India during the 14th century), was popularised in Hyderabad during Asif Jahi region in the 18th century. Today the production of Bidriware in Hyderabad and neighbouring Bidar accounts highest in India. The Bidri ware is an Geographical Indication (GI) awarded craft of India.[50] The Kalamkari, a fine art of Handicraft (originated in Machilipatnam 3000 year ago is a Handicraft of Andhra Pradesh) is also popular in the city.[51]

Nizamia General Hospital, an example of Asaf Jahi Architecture


A distinct Indo-Islamic architecture style with local contribution is reflected in buildings of Hyderabad, making it the first and "Best Heritage City of India" as of March 2012.[52] The city houses many famous historical sites constructed during Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi period, including various mosques and palaces. [53] The Qutb Shahi style of architecture since the 15th century, manifested itself in colossal arches found in the Charminar, Mecca Masjid and Charkaman. Qutub Shahi's built with massive granite walls using granite and lime mortar as the chief ingredients.

In the 17th century, Asaf Jahi architecture emerged with palatial style outweighed secular construction. the Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII is called as the maker of modern Hyderabad. The buildings constructed during his reign are impressive and represent a rich style of architecture, such as the Osmania University, Osmania General Hospital and Hyderabad High Court. These buildings are quite distinct from their earlier Qutb Shahi counterparts. The Nizams even applied European styles in some of the constructions such as Falaknuma and King Kothi Palaces.[13][54]


Hyderabadi cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the people of Hyderabad and consists of various wheat and rice dishes, often cooked with meat, or paired with meat curries. Some of the most famous dishes include Hyderabadi Biryani, Boti Kebab, Hyderabadi Haleem, Hyderabadi Marag, Maghz Masala and Hyderabadi Khichdi. Irani Chai is enjoyed all over the city, often with Osmania Biscuits.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


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  20. ^ "The IMU Prizes". 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2012. 
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