Falaknuma Palace northern view
|Construction started||3 March 1884 H.E. Nawab Sir Vicar ul Umra laid the foundation stone.|
|Opening||2010 (as a hotel) |
1893 (as a palace)
|Cost||40 lakh (4 million) Rupees|
|Management||Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces|
|Size||93,971 m2 (1,011,500 sq ft)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||William Ward Marrett.|
Falaknuma is a palace in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It belonged to the Paigah family, and was later owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It is on a 32-acre (13 ha) area in Falaknuma, 5 kilometers from Charminar. It was built by Nawab Sir Viqar-ul-Umra - Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the uncle & brother-in-law of the sixth Nizam. Falak-numa means "Like the Sky" or "Mirror of the Sky" in Urdu.
An English architect designed the palace. The foundation stone for the construction was laid by Sir Vicar on 3 March 1884; he was the maternal grandson of Mir Akbar Ali Khan Sikander Jah, Asaf Jah III of Hyderabad. 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. It is made completely with Italian marble with stained-glass windows and covers an area of 1,011,500 square feet.
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 traveler, and his influences show in the architecture, which combines Italian and Tudor influences.
Sir Viqar-ul-Umra, the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, used the palace as his private residence until the palace was handed over to the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad around 1897–1898. His monogram is on the furniture, walls and ceiling of the palace.
The palace was built and furnished at a cost of four million rupees, 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 Paigah family maintains that around 20 lakh rupees was paid.
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.
The palace fell into disuse after the 1950's. The last important guest was the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, in 1951.
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 
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 Venetian chandeliers. It has a library with a carved walnut roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle; it had an extensive collection of Qurans.
The dining hall can seat 101 guests. The chairs are made of carved rosewood with green leather upholstery.
The palace was the private property of the Nizam family, and not normally open to the public, until 2000.
Renovation into a luxury hotel
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