Perched atop a 2,000-ft hillock, the spectacular Falaknuma (meaning a mirror in the sky) Palace harks back to Hyderabad's royal past. One of the largest and the grandest Venetian chandeliers, gorgeous antique furniture, an exquisite Italian marble staircase, delightful marble fountains, awe-inspiring statues, rare manuscripts and precious objects d’art adorn this palace, which is around 5 km from Old Hyderabad, and was the home of the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mehboob Ali Pasha. It also has a well-stocked library with one of the most unique collections of the Quran. Its manicured lawns are dotted with Mughal, Rajasthani and Japanese gardens. Designed by a European architect and built over a decade in the 1880s, the palace fell into misuse after the Nizam died in 1911. For nearly 100 years it stayed neglected till it was hired out to an Indian luxury hotel major for renovation. Today, it’s a spectacular heritage hotel, restored after almost 1,000 artisans toiled on it for around 10 years!

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