Falaknuma Palace is a grand and beautiful palace located 5 km north of the Charminar. Falaknuma means like the sky. This beautiful palace was built by the Nizam Vikar-Ul Umra who was the sixth Nizam of Hyderabad. The glory of the palace became profound during the reign of the seventh Nizam and the palace had become globally popular by the time India gained independence in 1947.
The Nizam of Hyderabad lost the royal tags after independence by the abolition of monarchy act and hence it became extremely difficult to maintain the palace. The Falaknuma Palace lost some of its glory after the 1950’s and was closed for almost 30 years. The last notable guest of the palace was Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India who stayed at the palace in 1951.
The Tata Luxury Hotels group obtained a 30 year lease of the Falaknuma palace in the year 2000 and the beginning of the millennium saw a new chapter in the history of the Falaknuma palace. The palace was restored with the guidance of the last queen of Nizam VII and a small palace was built for her close to the Falaknuma palace. The restoration effort was a giant one and cost close to 2100 crore rupees. The Falaknuma palace is now among the costliest luxury hotels in India and has hosted many dignitaries and celebrities since its reopening in 2002.
The hotel is now open for a guided tour as well. Keeping with the budget of my trip I could not obviously stay at the Falaknuma palace, what were you thinking? The city of Hyderabad has a number of luxury resorts but none of them can match the glory of the Falaknuma palace.
The grand ball room has some exclusive tapestry from Persia; the chandeliers are imported from Austria and Hungary. The artistic engravings on the older pillars have been well preserved by the Tata Group and its authenticity has not been lost. The main gallery has the portraits of the royal family, among which those of the Nizams were just magnificent. The library is a collection of rare literature in Urdu, Hindi and English.
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