Hyderabad has been the meeting place of
many different cultures and traditions. Historically,
Hyderabad has been the city where the distinct cultural and
linguistic traditions of North India and South India meet. The
Muslim culture of Hyderabad has fused with south Indian
traditions of the region.
Hyderabad is a unique cosmopolitan city and home to people
practicing Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, and
Zoroastrianism. Hyderabadis have developed their own
distinctive culture, which is a mixture of the centuries old
Islamic Culture and the Hindu traditions of the Telugu people.
Telugu and Urdu are the principal languages spoken in
Hyderabad. Telugu being the official language of Andhra
Pradesh (and the second largest language in India after
Hindi), is widely spoken here. Hyderabad has always had one of
the largest Urdu speaking populations in India, and the famous
Osmania University here was the first Urdu medium university
Deccani, a dialect of Urdu and Hindi, is spoken and understood
there. Both Urdu and Telugu have linguistically impacted on
each other in this region. The Telugu dialect spoken in
Hyderabad and rest of Telangana is very distinct from the one
spoken in coastal Andhra. A large percentage of the population
is also well-versed in English.
Women of all cultures and faiths in Hyderabad typically wear
either the traditional Indian dress, the sari, or,
increasingly, the Shalwar Qamis especially among the younger
population. A large percentage of Muslim women in the city
wear either the burqa or the hijab. The traditional Hyderabadi
garb for females are the Khara Dupatta and the Shalwar Qamis,
and for the males, it is the Sherwani. This one of the more
visible cultural attributes of Hyderabad.
Hyderabadi cuisine is a blend of heavy Mughal influences,
traditional Andhra and Telangana cuisine. A number of
restaurants have come up that serve a variety of cuisines. All
the major hotels in city host one or more restaurants that are
popular among the cityfolk.
The most famous dish of Hyderabad is Hyderabadi Biryani. Other
culinary delights include Khubani ka Mitha, Pheni (a sweet
vermicelli delicacy eaten during the festival of Diwali) and
Haleem (a meat dish traditionally eaten by Muslims during the
holy month of Ramadan).
Indian Mithai(sweet) shops are famous for their pure ghee
sweets. Karachi Bakery near Mau'zzam Jahi Market, Nampally, is
popular for making biscuits including the local Osmania
biscuits. A family residing in Azeez Bagh palace in the old
part of the city is famous for the preparation of Badaam Ki
jaali (Almond lattice confection).
The more popular restaurants in the Twin Cities are the Madina,
Bawarchi, Cafe Bahar and the Golden Persis at Paradise Corner
in Secunderabad. Other restaurant chains in the city include
The Taj Mahal, Kamat Hotel, and Hyderabad House.
Also widely found on the corners of every street are the
cafe's which offer 'Irani chai' and 'Osmania biscuit'. People
sit leisurely over a cup of 'chai' and talk for hours. The
waiter's do not write down the order but have a remarkable
memory of making the exact bill even after hours.
Hyderabad is also a major centre for Art, and some leading
painters have been associated with Hyderabad - M. F. Hussain,
Vaikutam, K V Sridhar (Pops), Laxma Goud and Jagdish Mittal
(renowned collector of Indian modern art).