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Culture Corner

Monuments and Must-Sees

Charminar
The most famous and recognizable monument in Hyderabad, Charminar was originally built in the late 16th Century by the reigning sultan, Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. This giant mosque commemorates the eradication of plague from Hyderabad, and has a historic market surrounding it.

Golcanda Fort
Before the city of Hyderabad was established, the nearby city of Golcanda was the center of the region. The fort was built in the 14th Century and was the first major structure in the newly established city. Once famous for the numerous diamonds that were found beneath the fort, it is now appreciated for its impressive architecture, despite having been abandoned for centuries.

Paigah Tombs
These 18th Century tombs were constructed to house the remains of the Paigah family, the richest and most powerful nobility of their time. The architecture of the tombs themselves reflect the once opulence of their inhabitants, with designs that incorporate styles from many cultures into a unifying geometric structure.

Chowmahalla Palace
Constructed over 100 years in the 18th and 19th centuries, this ornate palace was inspired by the Shah of Iran's palace in Tehran. Built as the residence and seat of power for the ruling Nizam of Hyderabad during the British occupation, this recently restored palace is a spectacle of excess that all visitors to the city should see.

Cultural Activity Suggestions

Hyderabad has endless activities for international visitors to enjoy. Listed below are some different cultural activities to experience while in Hyderabad. Many of these activities can be done on your own, with friends, or they may be sponsored by ISA. Upon arrival to Hyderabad, different sponsored cultural activities will be announced throughout your program abroad.

Bazaars
There are several of these distinctive markets around the city, with the Laad Bazaar near the Charminar is the largest. Students will be able to sharpen their haggling skills, find unique souvenirs, and experience the hectic joy of the bustling city. It is here that visitors can see first-hand why Hyderabad is known as the "City of Pearls", with pearls of every kind being sold here.

Ravindra Bharati Theatre
This 50 year-old theatre is a landmark in Hyderabad and offers traditional performances and brings in performers from around the world. Plays, dance numbers, and music are all presented at this beautiful auditorium.

Cuisine
Hyderabadi food is famous for its unique blend of Persian and Indian tastes developed over the past four centuries. While there is still a wide variety of vegetarian dishes, Hyderabad has a higher proportion of meat-based dishes than most other parts of India. Be prepared for meals to be extra spicy, as this is a tradition of south Indian cuisine. Sweets are a specialty in Hyderabad, there are several unique local delicacies that should be tried, such as ghee-based treats or faluda.

Cultural Immersion

Volunteering Opportunities
While there is no structured program offered, any student truly interested in volunteering while in Hyderabad can work with the ISA Hyderabad staff to find different opportunities. Students simply present different organizations or areas that interest them to the ISA Hyderabad staff, and they can help you find out how to get involved.

ISA Student Blog
Stay connected while you're abroad and share your experience with your peers back home! Each summer and semester the ISA Student Blog features ISA students as bloggers and video correspondents who document their time abroad to share with their friends, family, prospective students and more. If sharing your study abroad experience through blog posts, videos, photos and other media while receiving professional guidance and feedback appeals to you, consider applying to be an ISA Featured Blogger or an ISA Video Correspondent! The Site Specialist for your program will email all accepted students to notify you when ISA is accepting applications for bloggers and video correspondents.

Cultural Blogs

We also suggest you check out the plethora of other cultural blogs available on the web to learn more about others' experiences in Hyderabad, cultural happenings, and expat lives.

Language Resources

There are many different languages spoken in Hyderabad. Hindi and Telugu are the most prominent. Telugu is the official language of Andhra Pradesh, the state in which Hyderabad resides. Hindi and English are both spoken by most people in the city, Hindi is the official languge of India and most signs are in English, although neither is often a Hyderabadi's first language. Urdu is also widely spoken in the city.

Helpful Phrases (Hindi)
Namaste or Namaskar - Hello/Goodbye
Aap kaise hai? (formal) Tum kaise ho? (Informal) - How are you
Mei thik hu - I am fine
Shukriya - Thank you
Phir Milenge - See you again!
Ji ha - Yes
Ji nahi - No
_____ kaha hai? - Where is _____?
Mei vidyarthi hu - I am a student
Mei America se hu - I am from America

On-line Dictionary Resource:http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/guide/

Verb Conjugation
We suggest you look up some helpful websites dedicated to verb conjugations in Telugu, Hindi and/or Urdu.

Listening and Speaking
Check out some different Telugu, Hindi and/or Urdu podcasts available to practice your verbal and listening skills.

Beware of translation websites... much can be LOST in translation!