Chowmahalla Palace

Chowmahalla Palace is among the most remarkable palaces of the Nizams in Hyderabad that has preserved its original beauty. Also known as ‘Chow Mahallat Palace’, it's derived from two Urdu words-chār mahallāt, meaning 'four palaces’. It is spread across 12 acres of courtyards, gardens, palaces, and fountains. While Salabat Jung began its construction in 1750, it was completed by Asaf Jah V in 1869; hence, the exotic interiors and architecture reflect the era of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. It was recognized as a prime seat in that era and was the formal residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad during their rule. Originally, the palace covered about 45 acres from Laad Bazaar on the north to Aspan Chowk Road, which is on the south. The Chowmahalla complex is a replica of Shah’s Palace in Tehran, Iran. Presently, the palace consists of two courtyards with graceful palaces, the grand Durbar Hall or the Khilwat. Gardens and fountains add to the elegance. This palace is a delicate work of art consisting of domes, arches, windows, and meticulous designs. The highlight of this place is the grand pillared Durbar Hall, which was used by the Nizams for their durbar and other symbolic ceremonies. This hall has a pure marble platform on which the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. The regal hall is renowned for the 19 spectacular chandeliers created with Belgian crystal, reflecting the age-old splendour of the palace complex. The Southern Courtyard is the oldest part of the complex. It comprises four graceful palaces, namely Tahniyat Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, and Aftab Mahal. The Northern Courtyard has been restored and is open to the public. The main attraction of this area is the Bara Imam, a long corridor. It has rooms on the east wing, which once served as the administrative wing. Another stunning construction is the Clock Tower. It houses the Khilwat Clock, which still works perfectly. A huge water fountain in front of the palace, with artistically carved pillars, is the first thing to offer a peek into the architectural excellence of this Chowmahalla Palace. Intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings of the palace are also worth noticing. Glass chandeliers with different designs in each mahal are not to be missed. Various galleries in the palace with each presenting an interesting display of crockery, clothes, furniture, coins and currency notes, pictures from the Nizam era, etc., are sure to keep you engaged. Display of weapons has been especially done in an interesting manner; these are displayed not just inside glass cabinet but on the walls as well, reaching till the top. The Quran section showcasing Qurans of various kinds such as hand written Quran, which has been restored by using a Japanese technique, Naskh script, miniature Qurans printed in metal, some which have been inscribed in gold and many others.  It is said that Chowmahalla Palace used to have around 7000 attendants on any given day. It has been often compared to the Enchanted Gardens of the Arabian Nights for its grandeur. Now, it's one of the best tourist spots in the city. It is located at a distance of 2 km from Charminar in the old city and is easily accessible through major thoroughfares from various parts of Hyderabad. One can visit the palace throughout the week, except on Friday and national holidays.

Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace was built in 1893. It was the dream project of Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra. He was also the chief architect and designer of this fascinating formation. The word ‘Falaknuma’ comes from an Urdu word meaning 'Mirror of the Sky.' The ownership of the palace was shifted to the Nizams of Hyderabad from the Paigah family. The palace is a unique and exotic blend of Italian and Tudor architecture and is spread across the 32-acre in Falaknuma, just five kilometers from Charminar. With ancient artefacts, Venetian chandeliers, 60 rooms, and 22 halls, it is now among the most famous palaces in Hyderabad. With the construction laid out in 1884, it took almost nine years to complete the construction of the palace. One of the popular tourist spots of Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace was later purchased by Nizam VI in 1897. The palace served as a royal guest house to him. Constructed over an area of 32 acres and approximately 2,000 feet above Hyderabad, the Falaknuma Palace has been constructed with Italian marble. Built by an Italian architect, the palace is one of the architectural wonders of the 19th century and is often referred as "mirror of the sky". Falaknuma means "Like the Sky" or "Mirror of the Sky" in Urdu language. The palace is known for its lavishly decorated rooms as well as spacious halls and also houses some of the finest treasure collections of the Nizams. Falaknuma is also home to a large collection of rare treasures such as paintings, furniture, statues, manuscripts and books. The jade collection of this palace is considered unique in the world. The famed dining hall of Falaknuma Palace can seat 100 guests at its table. In addition, here is the delight of the trip where tourists can enjoy snacks and high-tea in the pleasant and exquisite environs of the place. One of the most captivating features of this palace is its innumerable Venetian chandeliers; their exquisite beauty and large size. The palace represents the glamour of the Nizam era. It is said that the Nizam was an ardent traveller who used to love collecting souvenirs from places around the world. This is one of the reasons why Falaknuma Palace houses such a rich collection. Not only chandeliers, Falaknuma Palace boasts of marble staircase, carved balustrades, a huge library and a unique collection of the Holy Quran. Along with this, the rosewood dining table of the palace, with a capacity of hosting 100 guests at a time, is also worth noticing. The Nizam also treasured massive collections of rare paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The Jade collection of the Falaknuma Palace is famous all over the world. Although Falaknuma Palace is one of the most important places to visit in Hyderabad, it is not open to the general public. If interested in visiting you can book a day tour, Nizam Palaces Tour, by Telangana Tourism. Visitors are taken to Falaknuma for tea in the evening. The tour also includes lighting at Golconda Fort and Chowmahalla Palace. You need not worry about Falaknuma Palace timings and entry fee as these are taken care of in the tour itself. It is usually organised on Saturday and Sunday. If interested, travellers can also stay at the palace and explore its exotic and intricate beauty at leisure, while enjoying the lavish comfort of their stay. This palace was taken over by Taj Group and was opened as a 5-star hotel in the year 2010. Now, it is popularly known as the Taj Falaknuma Palace. The hotel consists of 60 spacious guest rooms that offer visitors a royal experience. The hotel not just offers grand staying opportunities but also has a tea room, a hookah lounge and two restaurants.