A melting pot of Muslim and Hindu cultures, the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana comprises the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, with a combined population of around eight million. Secunderabad, of little interest, is the modern administrative city founded by the British, whereas Hyderabad, the old city, has teeming bazaars, Muslim monuments, the absorbing Salar Jung Museum and magnificent Chowmahalla Palace. Hyderabad declined after Independence, with tensions often close to the surface due to lack of funding. Nowadays, although the overcrowded old city still suffers from substandard amenities, the conurbation as a whole is booming. In recent years Hyderabad has overtaken Bengaluru to become India’s foremost computer and IT centre.
The Hyderabad metropolitan area has three distinct sectors: Hyderabad, divided between the old city and newer areas towards HITEC City; Secunderabad, the modern city; and Golconda, the old fort. The two cities are basically one big sprawl, separated by an artificial lake, Hussain Sagar.