Falaknuma Palace
Falaknuma Palace northern view
A map showing location of Hyderabad in Telangana, India.
A map showing location of Hyderabad in Telangana, India.
Falaknuma Palace
Location in Hyderabad, Telangana
General information
Architectural stylePalladian
LocationHyderabad, India
Coordinates17°19′50″N 78°28′03″E / 17.3305°N 78.4675°E / 17.3305; 78.4675
Construction started3 March 1884
Completed1893; 131 years ago (1893)
Opening1 Nov 2010[1] (as a hotel)
1893 (as a palace)
Cost4 million
OwnerAzmet Jah
ManagementTaj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Technical details
Size93,971 m2 (1,011,500 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect(s)William Ward Marrett[2]

Falaknuma is a palace in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.[3][4] It originally belonged to the Paigah family, and was later owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad.[5] It is on a hillock and covers a 13-hectare (32-acre) area in Falaknuma, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Charminar.

Built by Nawab Sir Viqar-ul-Umra, Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the uncle & brother-in-law of the sixth Nizam.[6] Falak-numa means "Like the Sky" or "Mirror of Sky" in Urdu.[3]

Design

An English architect William Ward Marret designed the palace. It is made completely with Italian marble with stained-glass windows and covers an area of 93,970 square metres (1,011,500 sq ft).

The palace was built in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings in the north. The middle part is occupied by the main building and the kitchen, Gol Bangla, Zenana Mehal, and harem quarters stretch to the south. The Nawab was an avid traveller, and his influences show in the architecture, which combines Italian and Tudor influences.[citation needed]

The Palace has a library with a carved walnut roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library had one of the finest collection of the Quran in India. The ground floor of the Palace housed the living quarters. A marble staircase leads to the upper floor. It has carved balustrades, which support marble figurines with candelabra at intervals.

One of the highlights of the Palace is the State Reception Room, where the ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded reliefs. The Ballroom contains a 2-ton manually-operated organ, said to be the only one of its kind in the world. The palace has 60 lavishly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls. It has some of the finest collections of the Nizam’s treasures, including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The jade collection at the Palace is considered to be unique in the world.[citation needed]

History

Falaknuma Palace, photographed by Lala Deen Dayal in 1900.
The entrance to the Palace

Sir Viqar-ul-Umra, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, after a visit to Europe, decided to build a European styled residence for himself. The foundation stone for the construction was laid by Sir Vicar on 3 March 1884. It took nine years to complete the construction and furnish the palace. Sir Vicar moved into the Gol Bangla and Zanana Mahel of the Falaknuma Palace in December 1890 and closely monitored the finishing work at the Mardana portion.

He used the palace as his private residence until the palace was handed over to the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad around 1897–1898.

The palace was built and furnished at a cost of 4 million (equivalent to 1.8 billion or US$22 million in 2023), which necessitated borrowing money from the Bank of Bengal. In the spring of 1897, the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Mahbub Ali Khan was invited to stay at the palace. He extended his stay to a week, then a fortnight, and then a month, which prompted Sir Viqar to offer it to him. The Nizam accepted but paid some of the value of the palace.

The Nizam used the palace as a guest house for the royal guests visiting the kingdom of Hyderabad. The list of royal visitors included King George V, Queen Mary, Edward VIII and Tsar Nicholas II.[7][8] The palace fell into disuse after the 1950s. The last important guest was the President of India, Rajendra Prasad, in 1951.[3]

The palace was then restored after being leased by the Taj Group of Hotels. The restoration, which began in 2000, took ten years, and was managed by Princess Esra, the first wife of Mukarram Jah. Now, the hotel is again used to host guests in Hyderabad, such as Aga Khan IV, Ivanka Trump and Narendra Modi.

Palace architecture

The reception room of the Palace.

One of the highlights of the palace is the state reception room, where the ceiling is decorated with frescoes. The ballroom contains a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world [9] The palace has 60 rooms and 22 halls. It has considerable collections of the Nizam's artifacts including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts, books, an extensive jade collection, and the largest collection of Venetian chandeliers, with 40 138-arm Osler chandeliers in the halls.[10]

The dining hall can seat 101 guests.[3] The chairs are made of carved rosewood with green leather upholstery.

It has a library with a carved walnut roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library houses more than five thousand books. It has an extensive collection of English, Urdu and Persian books as well as copies of the Quran, and rare first editions.[4]

The dining hall

Burroughs and Watts from England designed two identical billiards tables, one of which is in Buckingham Palace and the other in the palace's billiards room.[3]

The palace was the private property of the Nizam family, and not normally open to the public, until 2000.

Renovation into a luxury hotel

In 2000, Taj Hotels started renovating and restoring the palace.[11] The renovated hotel was opened in November 2010.[12][13]

In popular culture

References

  1. ^ "Taj Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad Opens November 1, 2010".
  2. ^ Bahadur, Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra (1884). "Falaknuma palace". Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mamotra, Anyushi (24 January 2011). "Taj Falaknuma Palace review - One with the sky, one with royalty". The Hindu Business Line. Archived from the original on 8 February 2019.
  4. ^ a b Borah, Prabalika M. (25 February 2017). "Falaknuma Palace: Turning the pages of history". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 10 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Affairs of state". Business Standard India. Business-standard.com. 4 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  6. ^ Mohammed Azam Pasha. "Falaknuma Palace". Archived from the original on 16 March 2008.
  7. ^ "Jewel in the crown: a palace fit for a Nizam". The Guardian. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  8. ^ Seshan, K. S. S. (21 February 2018). "The story of a Hyderabad Nizam and his diamond paper weight". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  9. ^ Taneja, Richa (27 November 2017). "All About Hyderabad's Falaknuma Palace Where PM Modi, Ivanka Trump Will Dine". NDTV. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Architecture of Falaknuma Palace". tourism-of-india. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Ratan Tata to meet K Rosaiah on November 7 – Money – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  12. ^ Cook, Sharell. "Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad Opens as a Luxury Taj Hotel". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
  13. ^ Dharur, Suresh. "Regal splendour & luxury at Rs 5 lakh a night!". The Tribune. Chandigarh, India. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Prabhas shoots for Radhe Shyam at Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad".
  15. ^ "'Radhe Shyam': Shooting of Prabhas starrer at Falaknuma Palace, teaser on the way". The Times of India. 5 January 2021.

17°19′51″N 78°28′03″E / 17.330955°N 78.467504°E / 17.330955; 78.467504