Hyderabad is one of India’s most important cities. It’s the fourth most-populated, with 6.9 million living in the city and 9.7 within the metropolitan area. It’s the urban centre for the whole of south-central interior India, and has the fifth-largest urban economy in the country.
Established in 1591 as an extension of the Qutb Shahi dynasty’s Golconda Fort, the city was annexed by the Mughals a century later. Less than forty years later, Mughal viceroy Asaf Jah I founded his own dynasty, known as the Nizams. Not directly governed by the British Empire at the time, the ‘Princely State of Hyderabad’ nevertheless was home to a British presence until Indian independence in 1947. The city became the capital of the newly-formed Andhra Pradesh in 1956, but found itself between states when Andhra Pradesh was split in 2014, and is now the joint capital of the existing state and the new Telangana.
Hyderabad’s various influences can be seen in some of its most famous landmarks, a feature of the city that led the Indian government to name it the first “Best heritage city of India” in 2012. Highlights include the beautiful ruins of Golconda Fort, built in the 16th Century; the tombs and mosques of the kings of the 16th and 17th Century Qutb Shahi dynasty; and the grandeur of the Nizam-era Chowmahalla Palace.
Hyderabad’s most iconic landmark is the Charminar, a mosque and monument built in the centre of the city and surrounded by busy markets. Meaning “Four Pillars” in English, the Charminar is one of India’s most historically and religiously significant pieces of architecture.
Formula E has its home in the city on the banks of Hussain Sagar, a heart-shaped lake built in 1563 by Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali, ruler of the kingdom of Golconda. Named after the kingdom’s Master of Architecture, Hussain Sagar spreads across 5.7 square kilometres and separates the centre of Hyderabad from the city neighbourhood of Secunderabad. Standing pride of place in the middle of the lake on Gibraltar Rock is an 18-metre-high statue of the Buddha, chiselled out of white granite rock and erected in 1992.
India’s EV credentials
Formula E and Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok spoke to The Times of India and The Hindustan Times about what the Greenko Hyderabad E-Prix means for the country, discussing India’s electric vehicle initiatives in the process. “The electric mobility revolution is certainly unfolding rapidly across the globe and India is no different,” said Chandhok. “With Indian brands such as TATA and Mahindra launching EV ranges and the government taking proactive steps to push the electric infrastructure across the country, this is a good time for the premier all-electric racing championship in the world to come to India.
“Of course both of the brands I mentioned are involved with Formula E. I was closely involved with getting the Mahindra team on the grid back in 2014 when I drove for them and it’s been good to see the TATA group join the party via their Jaguar brand.”
World Green City winner
When it comes to using nature in an urban space, Hyderabad is world-leading. Hyderabad took the crown at the inaugural AIPH World Green City Awards 2022 for the Telangana Ku Haritha Haram (Green Garland to the State of Telangana) initiative. Local government and residents have embraced the initiative since 2015, planting trees and greenery to such an extent that green cover in the state has increased from 24% to 33% – an astounding 147% over their original aim.
The AIPH noted that annual rainfall has increased, along with reductions of air and noise pollution “AIPH celebrates this fantastic achievement for the city of Hyderabad. We are proud to showcase their inspiring urban greening work. With this global recognition, we can confidently say that Hyderabad is a world leader in nature-oriented approaches to city design, form, and function,” says Tim Briercliffe, Secretary General of International Association of Horticultural Producers.
“The innovation, ambition, and inspiring action demonstrated in the city’s entry leaves a powerful legacy for other cities from around the world to aspire to.”
Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City (or HITEC City for short) is the technology, engineering and business hub of Hyderabad. Also known as Cyberabad, HITEC City is home to dozens of global companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, Deloitte, IBM and Qualcomm.
A nation of sport
It’s not just motorsport that’s popular in India: the country is famously vociferous in its love for sport. Its national sport is hockey, but it’s cricket that is seen as India’s main game, with matches in the Indian Premier League some of the most-watched sporting events in the world. There’s also a strong national tradition in other sports, such as badminton, shooting and archery.
The Greenko Hyderabad E-Prix is a groundbreaking race. It marks India’s official introduction to top-tier electric motorsport, and will be held on what’s being billed as the country’s first-ever street circuit. The E-Prix will also be the first top-tier FIA World Championship motor racing in India for a decade. Not a bad list of ticked boxes.
Mahindra will be hoping to clinch a trophy for the home fans to really celebrate. 2016/17 Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi and teammate Oliver Rowland are in the cockpit for the Indian team – di Grassi already has a win under his belt this season, in his Mahindra debut in Mexico City, and with nine wins, no driver has been on the podium more in Asia. It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend for Mahindra.
Hyderabad’s Formula E tracks skims the shores of Hussain Sagar and passes by the stunning NTR Gardens, the 2.835km track featuring an ATTACK MODE-ready hairpin and plenty of the tight turns well-known to Formula E veterans. It’ll be a strong test for the new Gen3 car and Hankook tyres, with temperatures set to reach the mid-30s.