If there is one place you should go to in order to really taste the traditional flavours of Hyderabad as a whole, that place would have to be Shilparamam. This arts-and-crafts village’s 65-acre spread is dedicated entirely to the preservation, encouragement, and showcasing of Andhra Pradesh’s artistic culture, and it is a government-run facility that is still being developed to further attract tourists as well as foster a hospitable environment for those still practising the local arts. There are dozens of things to see in Shilparamam, as might be expected of a village dedicated to the arts, but better than that, there are also dozens of things to do here: the village has an interactive approach when it comes to promoting the arts it supports, which means visitors can definitely do more than just stare at the display pieces as they would in a stiff museum.
First off, Shilparamam has its own artificial lake—which is to be expected when you are talking about Hyderabad, after all. The lake is open to visitors of the area for the usual amusement activities: boating is a typical exercise here, and people are encouraged to try it out… provided they follow the safety regulations on life-jackets and care, of course.
There are also public display pieces that you can touch and interact with for a better experience, including the Prakruti Raga or Rock Museum and the Rural Museum. The former is a superb place to go to if you want to relax and find a moment’s peace, since the harmonious arrangement of the huge rocks—some of which are several hundred years old—tends to encourage a certain level of meditation and silence of visitors.
The Rural Museum is a particular favourite for those who desire to see how Hyderabadis lived (and in some cases, are still living) traditionally. The houses are thatched and made out of hardened and dried mud.
There are also events hosted here, from festivals as huge as the February All-India Arts and Crafts Festival to special, private affairs for which meeting places inside the village are hired. There are numerous venues for those having special events, from the Shilpakala Vedika to the gorgeously elevated Mountain Heights. The Amphitheatre may also be hired.
There is much, much more to discover in Shilparamam if you visit it, from the ethnic food stalls and their offerings to the recently added Shilpa Sandhya Vedika, or the Night Market. The Night Market opens from three in the afternoon to three in the morning and is already drawing quite a bit of attention from locals, who are eager to get a midnight shopping experience. Even without the Night Market, there are already stalls and shops in the village that sell a variety of objects, from saris to traditional fabrics and even handmade carpets. Nearly everything is handmade, as a matter of fact.
Finally, you may also be interested in coming to Shilparamam in order to participate in some of the traditional arts and crafts classes being provided. You can learn how to achieve works in the Mughal art style, embossed mural designs, and so on. Some of the classes are even provided for free.