Purani Haveli

Filed under Attractions

Just southeast of Afzal Gunj Bridge near Dewandevdi in Hyderabad lies one of the many palaces of Hyderabad’s Nizam, the Purana Haveli Palace. Built more than 200 years ago, the Palace, while not as grand as the other palaces built by the Nizams across their dynasty, is still a very fine example of the melding of two culture’s architectural styles. Even now, it still stands as a wonderful edifice that is representative of India’s rich and diverse history. Purani Haveli is literally translated as “Old Quarters”.

Originally, the place was supposed to be the residence of Mir Momen, the Prime Minister of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, ruler of Hyderabad during the Qutub Shahi dynasty in the late 16th century. When the 18th century rolled in, the place was renovated by the second Nizam, Asaf Jah II, with the intention of giving it to his son and successor, Sikandar Jah, the third Nizam of Hyderabad. However, when the latter assumed the mantle, he decided to transfer residency to the Khilwat complex in Chowmahalla. The building became known as Purani Haveli, and was relegated to the sidelines. When Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqi, the sixth Nizam, made it his official residence in the 19th century, the palace regained most of its former glory.

The complex itself is U-shaped, with a central single storeyed building, the royal palace, constructed with the facade of 18th century European architecture. The courtyard, however, is distinctly Indian, forming a comfortable amalgamation of aesthetics between the two. The central palace is flanked by two parallel double storeyed oblong wings, nearly 1000 feet long; the western wing, in particular, has what is said to be the world’s longest wardrobe. It is built in two levels, with a hand-cranked wooden elevator in place. Both wings have extremely well-proportioned courtyards that are surrounded by many rooms and verandas with semicircular European arches. Certain rooms still have their tiled walls and mosaic flooring intact, while their multiple colors still recall the old glory of the palace.

Purani Haveli also houses the Nizam’s museum, which showcases the artifacts of the last Nizam of the state of Hyderabad. Included in the collection are souvenirs, gifts, and mementos given by the different dignitaries of the world to the last Nizam. There are also vintage cars on display, including a 1930 Rolls-Royce, a Packard, and a Jaguar Mark V.

The place is open to the general public every day except on Fridays, from 10:30 AM to 5 PM.


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