Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace is one of the finest palaces in Hyderabad, India. It is located in Falaknuma, 5 km. from Charminar was built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad. Falaknuma literally means "Star of Heaven" in Urdu, originated from Arabic words Falk or Falak E Numaish meaning to A gift from Heavens".

An Italian architect designed this palace and the foundation for the construction was laid by H.E. Sir Vicar Ul Umra Bahadur on 3 March 1884. It took 9 years to complete the construction and furnishing the Palace(Sir Vicar moved into the Gol Bangla and Zanana Mahel of The Falaknuma Palace in December 1889 and closely monitored the finishing work at the Mardana Portion of Falaknuma). It was totally made with Italian marble and it covers a total area of 9,39,712-sq-metre. The palace is laid out in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings on 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 being an avid traveller, various influences show on the palace architecture. The Falaknuma palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. Its glass stained windows throw a spectrum of colors into the rooms.

The Nizam VI in 1898 used the palace as a royal guest house as it had a commanding view of the entire city. As the Nizam liked the guest house, the Falaknuma palace was gifted to the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad, Mehboob Ali Khan by the generous Nawab Sir Vicar Ul Umra. Amir e Paigah Sir Vicar Ul Umra(prime minister of Hyderabad and Berar) used this palace as his private residence till it changed owners and the palace was handed over to H.H.The 6th Nizam of Hyderabad in 1897-1898.

The Palace
One of the highlight's of the palace is the state reception room, whose ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded relief's. The ballroom contains a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world. The palace has as many as 220 lavishly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls. It has some of the finest treasures collections of the Nizam. Falaknuma houses a large collection of rare treasures including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The Jade collection of the Palace is considered to be unique in the world. The famed dining hall of the palace could seat 100 guests on its dining table. The furniture was very aesthetic. The chairs were made of carved rosewood with green leather upholstery. The tableware was made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added. The palace has a library with a walnut carved roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library had one of the finest collections of the Quran in India. The ground floor of the palace housed the living quarters. A marbled staircase leads to the upper floor. It has carved balustrades, which supports marble figurines with candelabra at intervals. On the walls of the landing are excellent oil paintings of the Asaf Jahi family, past ministers and notable personages, the whole forming a very interesting historical picture gallery which adds greatly to the imposing effect of the staircase. The Falaknuma palace has other unique things to its credit. It includes the largest collection of Venetian chandeliers. It is said that it took six months to clean a 138-arm Osler chandelier and the palace has 40 such chandeliers adorning the halls. The telephone and electrical system was introduced in 1883 by Osler and the palace has one of the largest electrical switchboards in India. Since the palace was the private property of the Nizam family until recently, visitors weren't allowed. Occasionally, however, the venue is opened for public. The Taj group has taken over the palace on lease, and it will open as a 7-star hotel in February 2010.


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