Before applying to this study abroad program, I had never heard of Hyderabad. When I thought of India, names that came to mind were Delhi and Mumbai – Kolkata and Chennai, to a lesser extent. In the last several months, though, Hyderabad has become something like home to me and to other students. Since I have an exam tomorrow and want an excuse to procrastinate, here are a few facts to make for a belated introduction the city. Some of these have popped up throughout previous posts, as well.
Hyderabad is India’s 4th largest city.
According to the 2011 census, Hyderabad’s 6.7 million people make it the 4th most populous city in India. Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore have higher populations. By metropolitan area count, it is 6th behind Kolkata and Chennai.
The city is called the City of Pearls.
Hyderabad does not border any sea, but it was and is a center of the pearl trade. Pearls are sold throughout the city, whether in street bazaars or fancier jewelry shops. They are often pretty affordable here – honestly, plain pearl earrings can be found for $3. These cheap ones are usually real; they are just cheaper because many are cultured pearls, from farm-raised oysters.
It is considered part of South India.
India can very generally be spoken in terms of North India and South India. Less generally, it can be divided into North, West, Central, South, East, and Northeast. The regions are loosely defined by geography, culture, language, history, etc. South India is usually considered to include the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.
It is the state capital of Telangana.
Hyderabad is the capital of the state of Telangana. Telangana only became a state about 3 years ago, splitting from Andhra Pradesh. The new state took a different name but kept the old capital.
A current state capital, it has also been a historic capital.
More history: in the 16th century, the area was the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, later taken over by the Mughal Empire. After the Mughals, Hyderabad was ruled by and the long-standing capital of the Nizam monarchs of the larger Hyderabad State. It was a princely state that, under the British Raj, maintained some autonomy with official protectorate status.
The official languages are Telugu and Urdu.
The two official languages in India are Hindi and English. States can have additional official languages, and Telangana’s are Telugu and Urdu. Telugu also has such status in Andhra Pradesh; Urdu does in four states besides Telangana (Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir). Urdu here is heavily influenced by Telugu. Hindi spoken in Hyderabad usually has characteristics derived from the prominence of Telugu, and Hindi and Urdu are already essentially the same when spoken.
The majority religion is Hinduism, but Islam has a huge presence.
Hindus make up about 74% of India and about 55% of Hyderabad. Islam is the second most popular religion in both: approximately 14% of India, 40% of Hyderabad. The history and influences of both are readily observed in the culture of the city, from dress to architecture. The Old City in the city center has a particularly high Muslim population.
Hyderabad is growing in population and economy.
The university is actually just outside of Hyderabad – to the northwest, in Gachibowli. Hyderabad has been expanding over the years, both in population and in its economy. Among other areas, IT is one industry that is seeing growth.
It is going to be abuzz over the next two weeks.
In the next two weeks, Hyderabad will notably be host to India’s Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Rao. A big reason why they are coming is for the inauguration of Hyderabad’s metro. Also, Ivanka Trump will be traveling here for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. We have seem flyovers being painted, lights being installed, and posters being put up for the last few weeks in preparation for these.
Hyderabad has been good to me these five months.
I guarantee it: this is a fact.