Falaknuma Palace

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Falaknuma Palace
Falaknuma Palace 01.jpg
Falaknuma Palace northern view
General information
Architectural style Andrea Palladio
Location Hyderabad, India
Coordinates 17°19′50″N 78°28′03″E / 17.3305°N 78.4675°E / 17.3305; 78.4675
Construction started 3 March 1884 H.E. Nawab Sir Vicar ul Umra laid the foundation stone.
Completed 1893
Opening 2010 (as a hotel)
1893 (as a palace)
Cost 40 lakhs
Owner Nawab Sir Vikar ul Umra, Amir-e-Paigah (1884 to 1897) and later, The Nizam of Hyderabad
Management Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces
Technical details
Size 93,971 m2 (1,011,500 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect William Ward Marrett.[1]

Falaknuma is a palace in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It belonged to the Paigah family, and was later owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad.[2] It is on a 32-acre (13 ha) area in Falaknuma, 5 km from Charminar. It was built by Nawab Sir Vikhar-ul-Umra - Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the uncle & brother-in-law of the sixth Nizam.[3] Falak-numa means "Like the Sky" or "Mirror of the Sky" in Urdu.

Design[edit]

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.

History[edit]

Falaknuma Palace in 1900

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 forty lakh rupees, which necessitated borrowing money from the Bank of Bengal. In the spring of 1897, the sixth Nizam Mir Mahbub Ali Khan was invited to the palace and extended his stay to a week, 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.[4][5]

The palace fell into disuse after the 1950's. The last important guest was the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, in 1951. The palace was then restored after being leased by the Taj Group of Hotels; the restoration, which began in 2010, was managed by Princess Esra, the first wife of Mukarram Jah.

Palace architecture[edit]

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 [6]

The palace has 60 rooms and 22 halls. It has considerable collections of the Nizam's artefacts including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts, books, an extensive jade collection, and Venetian chandeliers.[7] 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

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

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.[8]

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

Renovation into a luxury hotel[edit]

The entrance to the Palace.

In 2010, Taj Hotels started renovating and restoring the palace.[9] The renovated hotel was opened in November 2010.[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Falaknuma palace". Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Business Standard. "Affairs of state". Business-standard.com. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  3. ^ "Falaknuma Palace". Archived from the original on 16 March 2008. 
  4. ^ "Jewel in the crown: a palace fit for a Nizam". www.theguardian.com. theguardian. 20 Feb 2011. Retrieved 8 June 2018. 
  5. ^ "Czar Nicholas views Nizam's Jewels". NDTV. thehindu. February 21, 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2018. 
  6. ^ "Here's all you need to know about the unique Falaknuma palace which has the world's largest dining hall:". NDTV. November 27, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Architecture of Falaknuma Palace". tourism-of-india. Retrieved June 7, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Taj Falaknuma Palace review – One with the sky, one with royalty", The Hindu Business Line.
  9. ^ "Ratan Tata to meet K Rosaiah on November 7 – Money – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 
  10. ^ Cook, Sharell. "Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad Opens as a Luxury Taj Hotel". Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  11. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India – Main News". Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2012-12-20. 

External links[edit]

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