Splendid Chowmahalla Palace of Hyderabad's Nizam
Chowmahalla Palace, one of the most magnificient and enchanting palaces in Hyderabad, was thrown open to the public on Wednesday, 19th Nov'08. With the opening of the splendid Chowmahalla palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad, comprising five beautiful structures in different architectural styles, the common man will finally witness the heritage of Asif Jahi dynasty in its full glory.
The Chowmahalla Palace, located near the historic Mecca Masjid-Charminar complex, was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizam. According to historical accounts, the construction of this unique palace was started in 1750 by Nawab Salabat Jung and was completed by Nizam Afzalud Dowla in 1869. In Urdu, Chow means four and Mahalat means palaces, hence the name Chowmahallat. All ceremonial functions including the accession of the Nizams and receptions for dignitaries were held at this palace. The 220-year-old splendid complex is a galaxy of four palaces and the famous Khilwat Mubarak or the Durbar Hall was considered as the seat of power of the Nizams.
Part of the Chowmahalla, including the Durbar Hall, had been restored earlier and was opened to the public in January 2008. The restoration of the entire complex, with the various palaces crafted in different architectural styles and a sprawling courtyard with a big fountain, has been completed now. The restored palaces include the Afzal Mahal, Aftab Mahal, Mahtab Mahal and the Tahniyat Mahal. The entire palace is a living example of the exquistie Mughal architecture.
The glittering Durbar Hall, with a 50-feet high ceiling and 19 spectacular chandeliers of Belgian crystal, presents a beautiful sight after its restoration. This splendid Durbar Hall with white marble floor and intricate work has an elevated platform Takht-e-Nishan, where the Nizams would sit amid all the regalia to receive foreign delegates. The Nizam had given a royal reception to the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1906 in this hall. All religious and royal ceremonies were also held in this hall. It was here that Nizam Osman Ali Khan held his court till 1948.
Ever since the Chowmahalla palace was opened in January this year, visitors have enjoyed glimpses of the Nizams' marvelous past, through the exhibitions of the photographs and the wardrobe of the royal family. They have also been treated to unforgettable cultural programmes of ghazals, qawwalis, folk music and dances. The 'Textiles of Nizam' was the first ever opportunity for the public to get a closer look of at the wardrobe of the princes and princesses. Some of the textiles, including the glittering Sherwanis, Angrakhas, jackets and sarees with eavy embroidery works date back to the middle of the 18th century. The fleet of vintage cars acquired by the Nizams, from all over the world, include a Rolls Royce specially built for the sixth Nizam Mir Mahboob Ali Khan and seventh and last ruler of Hyderabad Mir Osman Ali Khan.
Photograph: Snaps India
Tourist Spots in Hyderabad