Hyderabad is the capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It occupies 650 square kilometres (250 sq mi) on the banks of the Musi River on the Deccan Plateau in southern India. The population of the city is 6.8 million and that of its metropolitan area is 7.75 million, making it India's fourth most populous city and sixth most populous urban agglomeration. The Hyderabad Municipal Corporation was expanded in 2007 to form the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
Hyderabad was established in 1591 CE by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. It remained under the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1687, when Mughal emperor Aurangzeb conquered the region and the city became part of the Deccan province of the Mughal empire. In 1724 Asif Jah I, a Mughal viceroy, declared his sovereignty and formed the Asif Jahi dynasty, also known as the Nizams of Hyderabad. The Nizams ruled the princely state of Hyderabad for more than two centuries, in a subsidiary alliance with the British Raj. The city remained the princely state's capital from 1769 to 1948, when the Nizam signed an Instrument of Accession with the Indian Union at the conclusion of Operation Polo. The 1956 States Reorganisation Act created the modern state of Andhra Pradesh, with Hyderabad as its capital. Since 1969, Hyderabad has been a major center of the Telangana movement, which demands that the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh should be made a separate state.
A 400-year history is behind the culinary delights of Hyderabadi food. It evolved in the kitchens of the Nizams, who elevated food to a sublime art form. Hyderabad cuisine is highly influenced by Mughals and partially by Arabic, Turkish and Irani food where rice, wheat and spices are widely used to great effect.
In the past, the food was called Ghizaayat. The cuisine is linked to the nobles, who religiously maintain the authenticity of the past, and the recipes are a closely guarded secret. The royal cooks are known as Khansamas, highly regarded by the nobles. Shahi Dastarkhan is the dining place, where food is served and eaten. A chowki is a low table, instead of a dining table and cotton mattresses for squatting and bolsters for the back rest. The Dastarkhan is revered in the noble household.
The herbs and spices used in the dish as well as the method of preparation gives the dish its name. For example, Murgh do Pyaaza is named so because Onion ('Pyaaz') is added to the dish twice, in different variations.
On Formal occasions, the food is garnished with warq (a very fine, pure silver leaf created by prolonged hammering and flattening of a small piece of silver).