In India, there is no dearth of structures that are considered to be one of the finest in the history of architecture. These structures are a symbol, a legacy of the ancient people who believed in living a grand life and exhibiting their royalty by constructing structures that redefine excellence. Falaknuma Palace is one such royal structure that is now one of the most attractive tourist spots. Falaknuma is an Urdu word that translates into “Sky Like”. The name itself makes it clear that the palace is vast like the sky and is equally fascinating with its internal and external beauty.
Located in Hyderabad, a bustling metropolitan, this palace is very close to the Charminar, another tourist site famous for its enthralling structure.
Sir Vicar Ul Umra Bahadur, also known as Nawab Viqar Ul Umra, who was the prime minister of Hyderabad State during that period, laid the first foundation stone of the palace. Designed by a British architect, this palace was the residence of the prime minister. The construction began on March 3, 1984, and it took nine years to finish the construction and furnish the palace with whatever the prime minister wanted to. Even before the construction was over, Sir Vicar shifted into the palace to supervise the completion of a portion that was unfinished at that time.
It is said that the prime minister ran out of funds due to the costs involved in the construction of the palace. However, he borrowed funds in order to complete the construction. Sometime later, his wife came up with an idea to invite Mehboob Ali Pasha Nizam VI to visit the palace. The Nizam, upon visiting the palace, realized that it was one of the finest structures around the city. Sir Vikar offered him the palace as an honor, and Nizam honored his offer though he ensured that the amount spent to construct the palace is paid off to Sir Vikar.
The palace became the royal guest house in 1897, and it was the venue for a large number of royal gatherings and events. The last guest of the palace was the first President of independent India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Later, when the Nizam decided to shift his residence to a new address, the palace was left empty. When the time came for renovating the palace, the authorities had a tough time to retain its authentic appeal. However, all the efforts were put in to find the exact elements such as drapes, upholstery, etc. The damages that had occurred to the structure were repaired and all the damaged portions were recreated and restored in its true form. Additional rooms were created along with new wings and extra restaurants.
The shape of the palace is identical to that of a scorpion. The north part of the palace is finished with wings that look like the stings of the scorpion. The palace blends two very famous Italian and Tudor architecture styles. The palace is spread over 32 acres of land. The total cost of building this palace was Rs 60 laces. The palace is divided into 60 rooms.
The windows are made of colorful stained glass. When the sunlight falls on these glasses, the room looks like an artist’s palette, splattered with different colours.
What to See
All the portions of the palace, everything that comes across the visitor, is a specimen of the grandeur of the century old people and their lives. As you enter into the place, you will notice that the rooftop is glowing with the frescoes. The ballroom too is equipped with a unique organ that weighs two tonnes, and it is said that there is no other organ in the world as huge as this one. The walls of the palace are adorned with beautiful oil paintings of famous historical figures. The ground floor of the palace was used as the living quarters. A dining table, measuring 108 feet in length, 5.7 feet in width, and 2.7 feet high, is still in the dining hall. It could seat around 100 persons at a time.
Inside the palace, there are 220 rooms, each one decorated with artifacts and accessories. There are 22 spacious halls along with the rooms. A unique collection of ornamental stones called jades is also at the palace. The library at the palace boasts a collection of Quran, amongst other books and sacred texts. Another attraction of the palace is the billiards room. Though there were two tables, one was taken to the Buckingham Palace, while the other is still kept here. Everything that adorns the palace is distinguishable due to some or the other feature associated with it. For example, the chandeliers in the palace that were imported from Venice are so huge in size that it took six months to clean one chandelier. There are a total of 40 such chandeliers in the palace.
The palace was renovated and converted into a luxury hotel by the Taj Hotels, Resorts, and Palaces. The group invested ten years in the whole process that began in 2000 and ended in 2010. The palace was decorated with accessories.
Best Time to Visit
The palace is now a world class hotel and is open to visitors all year long. With the price you pay and the time you put into explores this place, you will be surprised that there are so many things money can actually buy, even quality time. All the rooms of the hotel are comfortable, and the staff is equally supportive. The food of the restaurant is delectable. The view that the palace offers is equally delightful.
How to Reach
Falaknuma Palace is easily accessible, as it is within the city itself. The city of Hyderabad is easy to reach due to its proper rail, road, and air connectivity with various cities of the state and country.
Things to Remember
Keep in mind the weather during which you are traveling and make your reservations for accommodation in advance to avoid any inconvenience. Have an enticing and memorable trip!