Falaknuma Palace

Filed under Attractions

About 5 kilometers or so from historic Charminar, another grand masterpiece of architecture can be found. It is called Falaknuma Palace, which literally means “Star of Heaven” in Urdu.

Considered one of the finest palaces in Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace was constructed by Nawab Vikarul-Umra, former Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the fifth emir of the Paigahs. He then generously gave it to the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqi, also known as Asaf Jah VI, when the Nizam professed a liking for the place as it held a commanding view of the whole city.

The palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture, whose design is influenced by its Italian architect. The place occupies a total area of 939,712 square meters and it was totally made out of of Italian marble. The palace itself is constructed in the shape of a giant scorpion, with the two north wings corresponding to the scorpion’s stings. The middle part is occupied by the main building, with the harem quarters and the kitchen located in the south. The Nawab also adds variations to the palace’s architecture and interior design, influenced primarily by his travels. Louis XIV-style decors merge with a distinct Mughal ambiance, and completed by Italian marble staircases and ornate, decorated fountains. All in all, it took nine years for the palace to be fully built.

There are 222 beautifully ornamented rooms in the palace, as well as 22 halls and a massive library that has a walnut-carved roof, exactly like the one at Windsor Castle. It also has one of the finest collections of Qurans in India. All the rooms are furnished with English furniture, chandeliers, statues, and paintings. There are also rare treasures which the Nizam has collected across the years; the palace’s Jade collection, in particular, is considered to be unique in the world. The palace’s state reception room has a ceiling that is decorated with frescoes and gilded reliefs. The dining hall can also seat about 100 guests, with chairs that are carved from rosewood and upholstered with green leather.

Until recently, visitors were not allowed to visit the palace. Now, however, it has been opened to the public during certain, specified occasions, giving everyone a glimpse of this wonderful piece of edifice.

(Image by bikash mishra from http://www.flickr.com/photos/7235437@N04/419396013/)


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