Top Hyderabad Souvenirs | What to Buy in Hyderabad


Located along the banks of the Musi River is Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana and the de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh. The city is known by many names - the City of Nawabs, the Land of Biryani, City of Pearls and in recent times Cyberabad (due to a large number of IT companies located in the city).

Hyderabad has a large number of historical monuments, museums, temples and parks & gardens and is one of the top domestic tourist destinations in India. The number of international tourists has also been increasing in the last few years.

In addition to the tourist-y attractions, the city also has a vibrant shopping scene and if you are heading to Hyderabad, don't forget to pick up some unique souvenirs to carry back home. Here are some of my recommendations on what you could bring home from Hyderabad.

Hyderabadi Pearls


So, first on my list is Hyderabadi pearls and it is no surprise considering the fact that Hyderabad is also referred to as the 'City of Pearls'. It has a booming pearl industry and for centuries has been supplying different parts of India and the rest of the world with fine pearl jewellery. If you are looking to purchase real and quality pearls, it has to be in Hyderabad.

Pearls from Hyderabad

Hyderabad's connection to pearls dates back to the era of the Nizams when they sourced different types of quality pearls from the Arabian Gulf. It became a pearl hub with skilled craftsmen being drawn to this princely state. And to date, it remains one of the most important pearl centres in the country. You will find all kinds of pearls in Hyderabad - original, semi-cultured and cultured - in different shapes, sizes and colours.

Traditionally jewellery was mostly created using white pearls. Today there is a vast range of choice for buyers with pearls being used in a variety of ornaments and accessories.

While in Hyderabad, head to the Pathargatti area where you will find lots of pearl shops. You can also find popular pearl shops near Basheer Bagh, Begum Bazaar, Koti and near Charminar. Some prominent pearl dealers include Krishna Pearls, Jagadamba Pearls and Mangatrai Pearls to name a few. If you are unable to make it to any of these shops, you can still pick up your pearl souvenir from Krishna Pearls' outlet at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (located both in domestic and international departures).

Biscuits from Karachi Bakery


Hyderabad has many food souvenirs that are quite popular among both local and international travellers. And topping the list are the mouth-watering biscuits from Karachi Bakery. If you are heading to Hyderabad, don't forget to sample them. And once you have sampled them, it will be hard to leave Hyderabad without taking home boxes of these biscuits.

Karachi Bakery

The partition of India in 1947 saw a number of people migrating to Indian states. And the family of Khanchand Ramnani was one of them. They moved to Hyderabad from Sindh in Pakistan and set up the bakery business. Their business empire was built on one of their best sellers - the fruit biscuit. Baked to perfection, this buttery biscuit still remains one of their top sellers even after nearly six decades.

Over the years, they have added to their collection. Head to one of their outlets and you will find an amazing choice of products - crunchy cashew biscuits, Osmania biscuits (perfect for tea time), almond & pistachio biscuits, butter cookies, chocolate biscuits, cakes, pastries, cupcakes, macarons, artisan bread and a selection of Indian sweets & snacks. However, it is their fruit biscuits (which still use the same old family recipe) that is the main draw. Flavoursome and 'melt in the mouth', they remain a firm favourite with customers.

Biscuits from Karachi Bakery in Hyderabad

You can find their outlets in different parts of Hyderabad - Banjara Hills, Mozzamjahi Market (their flagship outlet), Hitec City, Gachibowli, Kharkhana, Shamshabad, Tarnaka and Begumpet to name a few. Karachi Bakery also has outlets at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (both in International & Domestic terminals).

Lac Bangles


Head to Laad Bazaar (in the Charminar area) and you will be enamoured by the glitzy and shimmering lac bangles of Hyderabad. You will find shop after shop stocking bangles in varied colours and designs. You might even find artisans sitting around metal stoves making these bangles. It is a time-consuming process wherein the metal is first transformed to the shape of the bangle. And then a lacquer coil is rolled onto the bangle's base. The artisans then embellish the bangles with stones adding a touch of richness to the bangles.

The craft of making these bangles is said to be more than 500 years old and it hasn't lost its charm even today. In fact, it seems to have only become more popular with the lac bangles becoming a big draw for both domestic and international visitors. People head to Hyderabad just to visit Laad Bazaar to buy these lac bangles.

Kondapalli Toys


Looking for a sustainable souvenir? Then the Kondapalli wooden toys would be a good choice. Made from a soft wood known locally as 'Tella Poniki', these wooden toys from Kondapalli, a small town near Vijaywada are not only gorgeous but environmentally friendly as well. The art form has been around for more than 400 years. Artisans (belonging to the Aryakhastriya community) carve the figurines (mostly figures from Indian mythology and rural life although today you will find figures and objects referencing the modern life as well) out of wood, smoothen the edges and then colour them with vegetable dyes or oil/water based colours. These wooden wonders are impressive and traditional in design and if well taken care of, can be passed down from generation to generation.

Kondapalli Toys

Prices for these toys start from Rs.50 going into thousands of rupees for the more elaborate and intricate pieces. In Hyderabad, you can find them at Lepakshi outlets, Shilparamam (the arts and crafts village) and most gift shops.

Pickles


Another item that you could carry back from Hyderabad is pickle! Most states in India are known for their traditional pickles and Telangana is no exception. There are so many varieties of pickles on offer that you are sure to find one to suit every palate.

Some of the popular ones are - Mango pickle (with mustard and other spices), Gooseberry pickle (has a tangy taste), Lemon pickle (very delicious), Ginger pickle, Tomato pickle (made with sun dried tomatoes) and the very famous red chilly pickle (a very unique taste and texture). While the spice levels vary, all the pickles are packed full of flavour and aroma.

Telugu Pickles

Some of the well-known brands are Telugu Foods, Priya, Godavari and Ruchi. You can find them in all the shops, big and small. Priya also has an outlet at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

Bidri Art


Bidri Art is a beautiful metal handicraft that originated in the town of Bidar in Karnataka sometime in the 14th century. It is said to have been brought to India from ancient Persia. Bidriware is a combination of Persian and Arabic styles and its fusion with the local Indian style has transformed it into a very unique handicraft. The process of making bidriware is long and tedious. It is made from an alloy of zinc and copper and involves moulding, engraving, smoothening/buffing and silver inlaying among other things.

Traditionally, Bidriware makes use of geometric designs and patterns, flowers & leaves and sometimes human figures. You will find Bidriware art on flower vases, ornamental boxes, bowls & trays, jewellery, fridge magnets, hookahs, chess boards and many other utilitarian and decorative items.

Bidriware from Hyderabad

While the art is practised in a few cities across India, Bidar and Hyderabad remain the two main Bidriware centres. Bidriware is considered as one of the most popular handicraft items exported from India’s handicraft market and as such you will find them in all major gift and souvenir shops.

Putharekulu


Rounding up my list is Putharekulu!

Putharekulu or the 'paper sweet' as it is also referred to, comes from coastal Andhra but you can find it all across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Putharekulu is made from rice batter (starch) combined with powdered sugar and ghee (clarified butter). Watered down batter is poured onto a pre-heated upturned pot (special earthen pots made with red and black clay). The batter dries into a thin sheet which is then coated with powdered sugar and ghee and rolled.

The process is time-consuming and labour intensive but the end product is truly a flavoursome delight. You will also find variations of the sweet, where it has been stuffed with dry fruits or jaggery.

Putharekulu Sweet from Hyderabad

If you are heading to Hyderabad, don't forget to try this distinctive sweet! It is unlike any other sweet and makes a great food souvenir.

So, that's my list of top Hyderabadi souvenirs. You can pick them all up in the city but if you don't have the time to shop or forget to pick up one of these, you can still get them at the Hyderabad Airport. You may end up paying a little more than what you would have paid for the items in the city though.

If you have any additional ideas on Hyderabadi souvenirs, do let me know via the comments.

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