One year measurement of vertical profiles of volume backscatter and extinction coefficient, aerosol optical depth (AOD), mass concentration of black carbon (BC) and composite aerosol along with thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere has been carried out over an urban tropical location of Hyderabad(17.47°N, 78.58°E), India, during April 2009 to March 2010. The mean mixing layer height (MLH) exhibits large seasonality exceeding 4 km in pre-monsoon period whereas in winter it comes down to ~1.5 km with an annual mean value of 2.35 ± 1.02 km. Surface BC mass fraction (FBC) shows marked seasonal variation from winter (13 ± 1.9%), pre-monsoon (8.19 ± 2.16%), monsoon (7.3 ± 1.8%) to post-monsoon (11.8 ± 0.18%). The profiles of volume backscatter and extinction coefficients reveal presence of elevated aerosol layers from 2 to 4 km and strong oscillations during pre-monsoon (March–May) and monsoon (June–September) seasons, respectively, while in post-monsoon (October–November) and winter (December–February), the aerosols are well within the lower boundary layer and also exhibit a drastic decrease with increasing altitude. These elevated aerosol layers and vertical distribution appear to be closely linked to the thermodynamic structure of the atmosphere. The aerosol optical properties in conjunction with air mass back trajectory analysis indicate that the observed elevated aerosol layers during pre-monsoon and monsoon could contain significant fraction of coarse mode particles with a mix of dust and marine aerosols. Further analysis reveals that the aerosols within atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) dominate the column aerosol loading with ABL-AOD contributing to ~77.7 ± 17.0%, with significant seasonal variation from winter (86.2 ± 13.1%), pre-monsoon (76.6 ± 12.8%), monsoon (54.2 ± 15.6%) to post monsoon (80.8 ± 14.8%). Seasonal variation of ABL-AOD and BC mass fraction follows similar pattern in the ABL indicating that BC may be an important contributor to the ABL aerosol loading.