Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Enchanting Taj Falaknuma Palace

Taj Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma meaning, Star of Heaven is one of the most magnificent of its kind in the country. A castle built on a hill by Sir Vicar-ul-Umra, one of the Prime Ministers of the Nizam's dominions. It's located on top of 200 meter high hill, about 5 km from Charminar. It covers an area of 9,39,712 Designed by an Italian architect and built in marble, the Falaknuma was purchased by Seventh Nizam , Mir Osman Ali Khan, who used it as royal guest house. The dignitaries who visited the palace includes King George V.

L. Brooks Entwistle is the head of Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s Asian operations. At the end of 2012, he will move into the position of an advisory director for the bank. The advisory director position is a salaried position often offered to senior people for a period of time after retirement.

Entwistle is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council On International Policy and The Explorers Club. He serves on the board of The Aspen Institute India, The Aspen Institute Board of Trustees and Young Life. Brooks is a 2007 Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute and a member of the Bombay Chapter of The Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

 Brooks Entwistle Chairman South East Asia with Laura Entwistle Visited Falaknuma Palace 

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Asaf Jah VII

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi  Asaf Jah VII (Urdu: آصف جاہ‎), born Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur (Urdu): عثمان علی خان بہادر‎; 6 April 1886 – 24 February 1967), was the last Nizam (or ruler) of the Princely State of Hyderabad and of Berar. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948, until it was merged into India. He was styled His Exalted Highness The Nizam of Hyderabad.
During his days as Nizam, he was reputed to be the richest man in the world, having a fortune estimated at US$2 billion in the early 1940s ($32.8 billion in today dollars)or 2 per cent of the US economy then. At that time the treasury of the newly independent Union government of India reported annual revenue of US$1 billion only. He was featured on the cover of TIME magazine, portrayed as such. The Nizam is widely believed to have remained as the richest man in South Asia until his death in 1967, though his fortunes fell to US$1 billion by then and became a subject of multiple legal disputes between bitterly fighting rival descendants. His wealth include a vast private treasury. Its coffers were said to contain £100m in gold and silver bullion, and a further £400m of jewels. Among them was the fabulously rare Jacob diamond, valued at some £100m (2008), and used by the Nizam as a paperweight. There were pearls, too – enough to pave Piccadilly – hundreds of race horses, thousands of uniforms, tonnes of royal regalia and Rolls-Royces by the dozen. Calculating his modern day worth by accounting for inflation, the Nizam was worth $236 billion, making him one of the wealthiest people to have ever lived.
He built the Hyderabad House in Delhi, now used for diplomatic meetings by the Government of India.

On 22 February 1937, Time magazine called the Nizam the richest man in the world. His vast inheritance was accumulated by way of mining royalties rather than land revenue. It should be noted that Hyderabad State was the only supplier of diamonds for the global market in the 19th century.
Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi Bahadur acceded as Nizam of Hyderabad upon the death of his father in 1911. The state of Hyderabad was the largest of the princely states in pre-independence India. With an area of 86,000 square miles (223,000 km²), it was roughly the size of present-day United Kingdom. Its ruler was the highest-ranking prince in India, was one of only five princes entitled to a 21-gun salute, held the unique title of "Nizam", and was created "His Exalted Highness" and "Faithful Ally of the British Crown" after World War One due to his financial contribution to the British Empire's war effort. (For example, No. 110 Squadron RAFs original complement of DH.9As were Osman Ali's gift. Each aircraft bore an inscription to that effect, and the unit became known as the Hyderabad Squadron.

Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur was the absolute ruler of this principality. In some accounts, he is held to have been a benevolent ruler who patronised education, science and development. His 37-year rule witnessed the introduction of electricity, railways, roads and airways were developed, the Nizamsagar lake in Hyderabad state was excavated and some irrigation projects on the Tungabhadra river were undertaken.
In 1941, Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur started his own bank, the Hyderabad State Bank (now State Bank of Hyderabad) as the state's central bank, which managed the Osmania sikka, the currency of the Hyderabad state. It was the only state which had its own currency, the Hyderabadi rupee, which was different from the rest of India. Banknotes of Hyderabad gives a good reference of the banking of that period.

In 1947, the Nizam made a gift of diamond jewels, including a tiara and necklace, to Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her marriage. The brooches and necklace from this gift are still worn by the Queen today.
Nearly all the major public buildings in Hyderabad city, such as the Osmania General Hospital, Andhra Pradesh High Court, Asafiya Library now known as State Central Library, Town Hall now known as Assembly Hall, Jubilee Hall, Hyderabad Museum, now known as State Museum, Nizamia Observatory and many other monuments were built during his reign. Up to 11% of the Nizam's budget was spent on education. Osmania University was founded while schools and colleges and even a "Department for Translation" were set up. Primary education was made compulsory and provided free for the poor. The Nizam (as well as his predecessors) have been criticised for largely ignoring the native languages in favour of Urdu.
Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur donated to many institutions in India and abroad. Recipients included educational institutions such as the Jamia Nizamia, the Darul Uloom Deoband, Banaras Hindu University and Aligarh Muslim University.

Hyderabad was the only state in British India where the ruler was allowed to issue currency notes. A 100 rupee note was introduced in 1918.

He also paid for a Royal Australian Navy vessel, N-class destroyer, HMAS Nizam (G38) commissioned in 1940.Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddqi Bahadur lived at King Kothi Palace—bought from a nobleman— during his entire life, after age 13. He never moved to Chowmahalla Palace not even after his accession to the throne.

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah (1580-1612 CE) (Urdu: محمد قلی قطب شاہ‎) was the fifth sultan of the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golkonda and founded the city of Hyderabad, in South-central India. and built its architectural centerpiece, the Charminar. He was an able administrator and his reign is considered one of the high points of the Qutb Shahi dynasty. Some say he named the city in honour of Ali ibn Abu Talib, regarded as the first Imam by Shia Muslims and who alternatively was known by the name Haider, meaning "lion". There is a myth that his beloved Bhagamati was converted into muslimfold and was eventually named as Hyder Mahal and the name of the city was changed to Hyderabad after her name thereafter. Hyder is usually a male name, and there is no evidence of Bhagmati's existence. Tombs of all the nobles of Qutub Shahi dyantsy exists, but there is on record of Bhagmati's tomb. Hyder-(meaning)--Brave Haider-(meaning)--Lion He ascended to the throne in 1580 at the age of 15 and ruled for thirty-one years. Some historians say that he was 17 years of age at the time of his crowning also.
The planning of Hyderabad was greatly influenced by that of Esfahan, which Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah opined was unparalleled in the world and a replica of heaven itself.


Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah was the third son of Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah Wali. . The city was built on the southern bank of the Musi river. Some say that Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah called architects from Iran to lay out the city, which was built on a grid plan. History mentions that he himself had studied many architectural plans and with consistent consultation of his Prime Minister Mir Muhammed Momin, he carried out roads and buildings with his help. Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah founded the city of Hyderabad in 1591.
After 1605 CE, Some say that.. Hyderabad was named as the City of Hyder (Brave) after the title of the Fourth Caliph Ali(as). Many people though, commonly believe that the city of "Hyderabad" was named after the people as their residence as "City of the Brave" from the Persian words "Hyder/Haider", Persian and Urdu meaning lion or brave and "Abad/Abaad", Persian and Urdu meaning abode or populated. The name Hyderabad was put by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah after the name of his beloved wife Bhagmati after she converted to Islam with changed name as "Hyder Mahal"in 1605 AD. History of the Quli Qutub Shah period is available in various books compiled by various authors book especially by Sri S.A.Bilgrami in his book "Land Marks of the Deccan" etc...
Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah initiated the construction of 'Charminar' (Four Minarets). While laying the foundation stone of Charminar, Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah and his wife prayed for welfare of the people in their contemplated new city. The structure of Charminar comprises four tall and massive minarets connected to each other by four high arches and this resembles the archetypal triumphal arch. This beautiful colossus in granite, lime, mortar and, some say, pulverised marble, was at one time the heart of the city. Initially the wonderful monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that the beautiful Charminar monument could be impressively seen from the top of Golconda fort. One could even catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets.Muhammed Quli Qutub Shah had constructed many roads, several palaces. gardens mosques, sarais, shops. fountains etc. not only to beautify the city but for its well planned alround growth for his dream city Hyderabad.Though not scholarly educated, he has written poems in both Persian and Urdu.

Thursday, 16 May 2013



Charminar  built in 1591 AD, is a landmark monument located in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. The English name is a transliteration and combination of the Urdu words Chār and Minar, translating to "Four Towers"; the eponymous towers are ornate minarets attached and supported by four grand arches.The landmark has become a global icon of Hyderabad, listed among the most recognized structures of India.The Charminar is on the east bank of Musi river.To the northeast lies the Laad Bazaar and in the west end lies the granite-made richly ornamented Makkah Masjid.


Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty built Charminar in 1591 AD,shortly after he had shifted his capital from Golkonda to what is now known as Hyderabad.He built this famous structure to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from this city. He is said to have prayed for the end of a plague that was ravaging his city and vowed to build a masjid (Islamic mosque) at the very place where he was praying. In 1591 while laying the foundation of Charminar, Quli Qutb Shah prayed: "Oh Allah, bestow unto this city peace and prosperity. Let millions of men of all castes, creeds and religions make it their abode, like fish in the water.Tourism in Hyderabad places.

The mosque became popularly known as Charminar because of the two Urdu words char, meaning four, and minar, meaning tower, combined to form Charminar.

It is said that, during the Mughal Governorship between Qutb Shahi and Asaf Jahi rule, the south western minaret "fell to pieces" after being struck by lightning and "was forthwith repaired" at a cost of Rs 60,000. In 1824, the monument was replastered at a cost of Rs 100,000.

In its heyday, the Charminar market had some 14,000 shops. Today the famous markets known as Laad Baazar and Patoher Gatti, near the Charminar, are a favour, of tourists and locals alike for jewellery, especially known for exquisite bangles and pearls respectively.

The structure is made of granite, limestone, mortar and pulverised marble. Initially the monument with its four arches was so proportionately planned that when the fort was opened one could catch a glimpse of the bustling Hyderabad city as these Charminar arches were facing the most active royal ancestral streets. There is also a legend of an underground tunnel connecting the Golkonda to Charminar, possibly intended as an escape route for the Qutb Shahi rulers in case of a siege, though the location of the tunnel is unknown.

The Charminar is a square edifice with each side 20 meters (approximately 66 feet) long, with four grand arches each facing a cardinal point that open into four streets. At each corner stands an exquisitely shaped minaret, 56 meters (approximately 184 feet) high with a double balcony. Each minaret is crowned by a bulbous dome with dainty petal like designs at the base.

A beautiful mosque is located at the western end of the open roof and the remaining part of the roof served as a court during the Qutb Shahi times.

Charminar has the signature style of Islamic architecture.This great tribute to aesthetics looks sturdy and solid from a distance and, as one moves closer, it emerges as an elegant and romantic edifice proclaiming its architectural eminence in all its detail and dignity. Charminar looks equally spectacular at night when it is illuminated. Apart from being the core of the city’s cultural milieu, it has become a brand name.

Charminar is a beautiful and impressive square monument. Each of the corners has a tall, pointed minaret. These four gracefully carved minarets soar to 48.7 m above the ground, commanding the landscape for miles around. Each minaret has four stories, marked by a delicately carved ring. Unlike the Taj Mahal, Charminar's four fluted minarets are built into the main structure. The top floor, the highest point one can reach, provides a panoramic view of the city.

A vault that appears from inside like a dome, supports two galleries within the Charminar, one over another, and above those a terrace that serves as a roof, bordered with a stone balcony. The main gallery has 45 covered prayer spaces with a large open space in front to accommodate more people for Friday prayers.

Timings:  9.00 am - 5.30 pm (Open all days)
Entry Fee:  Rs. 5 for Indian Nationals, Rs. 100 for Foreign Nationals

Video:  Rs. 25

Contact: +91 40 24522990 (AP Tourism)

Qutb Shahi Tombs

Qutb Shahi Tombs
The structure of the tomb of Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah, the fifth king, represents the first attempt at the building of a tomb on a massive scale. This magnificent tomb which is one of the largest and certainly the finest in the group is 42.5 mts high. The dome is about 18.2 mts high. To make the onument imposing, the architect has judicially planned it on a double terrace, rising to a height of 6 meters from the ground level. The lower one is 60.8 mts. square supported by a facade of 28 open arches on each side and the upper terrace is 38.3 meters square. This tomb, a large domical structure, was designed as a picturesque gallery with false openings with two central pillars supporting horizontal lintels on the four exterior sides of the hall in order to make the base symmetrical to its otherwise heavy dome. The roof is supported by octagonal pillars topped by lotus capitals, in order to relieve monotony, rich ornamental parapets with minarets at the corners are added. The real grave where the king was buried is seen in the crypt in the midst of the lower plinth at the level of the land surface. Sultan Mohammed Quli Qutub Shah died on 11th January, 1612 A.D.

Qutb Shahi Tombs is the burial ground of the seven kings of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, situated at Ibrahim Bagh near Golconda, Hyderabad, India. These kings ruled Golconda for nearly 170 years.The Qutb Shahi rulers were great builders and patrons of learning. They not only patronized the Persian culture but also the regional culture of the Deccan, symbolized by the Farsi and Urdu languages.
Just a km away from the Golconda Fort,

Timings: 9.30 am - 6.30 pm
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 to 20 for Indian Nationals, Rs. 100 for Foreign Nationals
Contact: +91 40 23513410

Chowmahalla Palace

Chowmahalla Palace
Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat (4 Palaces), was a palace belonging to the Nizams of Hyderabad state. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizam.In Persian, Chahar means four and in Arabic Mahalat (plural of Mahal) means places, hence the name Chowmahallat / four places, or four palaces.All ceremonial functions including the accession of the Nizams.
This is heart of Chowmahalla Palace. It is held in high esteem by the people of Hyderabad, as it was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. The grand pillared Durbar Hall has a pure marble platform on which the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. Here the Nizams held their durbar and other religious and symbolic ceremonies. The 19 spectacular Chandeliers of Belgian crystal recently reinstalled to recreate the lost splendor of this regal hall. 

Northern Courtyard
The northern courtyard has been painstakingly restored and is now open to the public.
The highlights of this area are the Bara Imam - a long corridor of rooms on the east side that once housed the administrative wing. And the Shishe-Alat or quite literally, the shishe or mirror image which was once used as guest rooms for officials accompanying visiting dignitaries.  

The Clock Tower
Clock tower is another impressive construction. It houses what is affectionately called the Khilwat Clock which has been ticking away ever since the Palace was built. 

The Council Hall                                         

Council Hall  which housed a rare collection of manuscripts and priceless books is where the Nizam often met important officials. Today it is the venue for temporary exhibitions from the treasures of the Chowmahalla Palace Collection that offer you a glimpse of a bygone era.
Named after the sixth Nizam’s mother, Roshan Bangla is another exquisite part of this courtyard. Chowmahalla, where the Nizams held their durbar and other religious and symbolic ceremonies also hosted popular banquets in honor of their Royal Highness's the Prince and Princess of Wales in February 1906.
The 100 year old Rolls Royce Silver Ghost​ now estimated at about $4 million lies in splendid beauty at the exquisite Chowmahalla Palace, the residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, India. In celebration of the Rolls Royce hitting a century the Chowmahalla Palace authorities are planning an event to be held next month. In 1911, Nizam VI had ordered this very same car from the Rolls Royce
factory in Great Britain.

However a couple of years ago this royal yellow car was in a pathetic state. Dr Ameenuddin Khan, Administrator, Nizam’s private estates stepped in and convinced the royal family to do justice to the legendary vehicle by getting it duly restored.

  • Open :- All Days Except Friday
  •  Entry fee:- Rs 25 for Indians and Rs 150 for   foreigners.
  •  Closed:- Friday and National holidays
  • Timings:- 5 am to 5 pm               

  • Address: Khilwath Road, Moti Gali, Charminar,
  • Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500002, India
  • Phone:+91 40 2452 2032
  • Thursday hours 10:00 am–5:00 pm    

Mecca Masjid

         Mecca Masjid - 400 Years Old located at Hyderabad

Makkah Masjid is one of the oldest mosques in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, And it is one of the largest Mosques in India. Makkah Masjid is a listed heritage building in the old city of Hyderabad, close to the historic landmarks of Chowmahalla Palace, Laad Bazaar, and Charminar.

Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, commissioned bricks to be made from the soil brought from Mecca, the holiest site of Islam, and used them in the construction of the central arch of the mosque, thus giving the mosque its name. It formed the centerpiece around which the city was planned by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah.[1]

History and construction

Makkah Masjid was built during the reign of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the 6th Qutb Shahi Sultan of Golconda (now Hyderabad). The three arched facades have been carved from a single piece of granite, which took five years to quarry. More than 8,000 workers were employed to build the mosque. Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah personally laid the foundation stone. The construction was later completed by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb after conquering Hyderabad.

    "It is about 50 years since they began to build a splendid pagoda in the town which will be the grandest in all India when it is completed. The size of the stone is the subject of special accomplishment, and that of a niche, which is its place for prayer, is an entire rock of such enormous size that they spent five years in quarrying it, and 500 to 600 men were employed continually on its work. It required still more time to roll it up on to conveyance by which they brought it to the pagoda; and they took 1400 oxen to draw it.

Timings: 8.00 am - 12.00 pm and 3.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Open all days)

Golkonda Fort

Golkonda Fort   a ruined city of south-central India and capital of ancient Kingdom of Golkonda (c.1518–1687), is situated 11 km west of Hyderabad.
The most important builder of Golkonda was Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah Wali, the fourth Qutub king of the Qutub Shahi Dynasty. Ibrahim was following in the spirit of his ancestors, the Qutub Shahi kings, a great family of builders who had ruled the kingdom of Golkonda from 1512. Their first capital, the fortress citadel of Golkonda, was rebuilt for defense from invading Mughals from the north. They laid out Golkonda's splendid monuments, now in ruins, and designed a perfect acoustical system by which a hand clap sounded at the fort's main gates, the grand portico, was heard at the top of the citadel, situated on a 300-foot (91 m)-high granite hill. This is one of the fascinating features of the fort. 


In the 16th century, Golkonda was the capital and fortress city of the Qutb Shahi kingdom, near Hyderabad. The city was home to one of the most powerful Muslim sultanates in the region and was the center of a flourishing diamond trade.
Golkonda was located 11 km west of the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh state, India (location 17°23′00″N 78°24′15″E). According to a legend, the fort derives its name from Golla conda, which is a Persian term meaning Gol Ghandeh or rose jam. This terminology is being used today in India, and the Jam is called Golghand.
The city and fortress are built on a granite hill that is 120 meters (400 ft) high and is surrounded by massive crenelated ramparts.  The fort became the capital of a major province in the Sultanate and after its collapse the capital of the Qutb Shahi kings. The fort finally fell into ruins after a siege and its fall to Mughal emperor Aurangazeb.


The Golconda fort used to have a vault where once the famous Kohinoor and Hope diamonds were stored along with other diamonds.
Golkonda's mines yielded few diamonds. Actually, Golkonda was the market city of the diamond trade, and gems sold there came from a number of mines. The fortress city within the walls was famous for diamond trade. However, Europeans believed that diamonds were found only in the fabled Golconda mines.
Magnificent diamonds were taken from the mines in the region surrounding Golkonda, including Darya-e Nur, meaning sea of light, at 185 carats (37 g), the largest and finest diamond of the crown jewels of Iran.
Its name has taken a generic meaning and has come to be associated with great wealth. Gemologists use this classification to denote a diamond with a complete (or almost-complete) lack of nitrogen; "Golkonda" material is also referred to as "2A".
Many famed diamonds are believed to have been excavated from the mines of Golkonda, such as:

  • The Koh-i-noor
  • Darya-e Nur
  • Nur-Ul-Ain Diamond
  • The Hope Diamond
  • The Regent Diamond
  • Wittelsbach Diamond
By the 1880s, Golkonda was being used generically by English speakers to refer to any particularly rich mine, and later to any source of great wealth.
During the Renaissance and the early modern eras, the name "Golkonda" acquired a legendary aura and became synonymous for vast wealth. The mines brought riches to the ruling Qutb Shahis of Hyderabad State, who ruled Golkonda up to 1687, then to ruling Asaf Jah of Hyderabad State, who ruled after the independence from the Mughals in 1724, until 1948,, when Hyderabad was annexed, to become an Indian state.

Timings: 09.00 am - 5.00 pm (Closed on Monday)
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Indian Nationals, Rs. 100 for Foreign Nationals
Video: Rs. 25
Contact: +91 40 23512401 (AP Tourism)

Sound & Light Show (Organised by APTDC:

All days 1st Show 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Nov to Feb); All days 2nd Show 8:15pm to 9:15 pm (Mon, Wed, Fri - Telugu Show; Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun - Hindi Show)
All days 1st Show 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm (March to October)
Entry Fee:
VIP Class Rs. 100 (Adult) Rs.75 (Child) Non Executive: Rs.50 (Adult) Rs.30 (Child) Child is reckoned as 3 to 10 years.
+91 40 23451065, (AP Tourism)

Falaknuma Palace

Falaknuma Palace 
Falaknuma Palace is one of the finest palaces in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. It belonged to Paigah Hyderabad State, and it was later owned by the Nizams. It is on a 32-acre, 19400 square meter area in Falaknuma, 5 km from Charminar. It was built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, the then-prime minister of Hyderabad and the uncle and brother-in-law of H.H. The Nizam VI, Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur. Falak-numa means "Like the Sky" or "Mirror of the Sky" in Urdu.


An English architect designed this palace. The foundation for the construction was laid by H.E. Sir Vicar Ul Umra Bahadur on March 3, 1884. He was the great grandson of Khuddus, a famous scientist who was a best friend of Sir Charles Darwin. 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 1889 and closely monitored the finishing work at the Mardana portion. It is made completely with Italian marble and covers an area of 93,971 square meters.
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.
The Falaknuma palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. Its stained glass windows throw a spectrum of colour into the rooms.


Amir e Paigah Sir Vicar Ul Umra (prime minister of Hyderabad and Berar) used this palace as his private residence until it changed owners and the palace was handed over to H.H. The 6th Nizam of Hyderabad around 1897-1898. Sir Vicar ul Umra  apart from being the prime minister of Hyderabad  was also the Amir of Paigah and was the maternal grandson of H.H. the Nizam III Nawab Sikandar Jah Bahadur. He was married to H.H Nizam VI Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan's older sister Princess Jahandarunnisa Begam Sahiba, also known as Lady Viqar ul Umra.The monogramme VO for Viqar ul Omra is seen on every part and the furniture of the palace.
The Falaknuma Palace was so costly to build that even Sir Viqar Ul Umra had to borrow money to complete it and realized that he had gone beyond his means. His very intelligent wife, Lady Viqar ul Umra, thought up a solution and advised her husband to invite Mehboob Ali Pasha Nizam VI to the palace. As anticipated, the Nizam liked the palace so much that he extended his stay and this prompted Sir Viqar to offer that if his sovereign liked the palace he would be honoured to give it to him.
The Nizam liked the gesture but, being the grand man he was, he had his treasurer send the entire amount spent on the palace to Sir Viqar, thus easing his paigah noble from a financial crunch The Nizam VI in 1897 used the palace as a royal guest house as it had a commanding view of the entire city.
After being a celebration of royal living and playing host to royalty and dignitaries from all over the globe, the Falaknuma fell silent after the 1950s when the Nizam moved to his next abode. The last guest was the first president of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1951.
Piecing together Falaknuma past glory was perhaps the biggest challenge of the restoration. These came with other challenges like retaining the eclectic blend of Renaissance architecture, Baroque style, French charm, art deco sensibilities and other inspirations that were woven into the décor of the palace — yet retaining its true-blue Nizam flavour.
The restoration was extensive — sourcing the perfect upholstery to redo the sofas and chairs, choosing fresh drapes to match the taste of the Nizams, polishing the marble, repairing damaged pieces, recreating broken structures, and blending in new wings and spaces for more rooms, extra landscape, and additional restaurants.

The palace

One of the highlights of the palace is the state reception room, whose ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded reliefs. The ballroom contains a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world.
The palace has as many as 220 lavishly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls. It has some of the finest treasures collections of the Nizam. Falaknuma houses a large collection of rare treasures including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books.
The jade collection of the palace is considered to be unique in the world.
The famed dining hall could seat 100 guests at its table. The chairs were made of carved rosewood with green leather upholstery. The tableware was made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added.
The palace has a library with a walnut carved roof: a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library had one of the finest collections of the Quran in India.
The ground floor of the palace housed the living quarters. A marbled staircase leads to the upper floor. It has carved balustrades, which supports marble figurines with candelabra at intervals.
There is a billiards room. Burroughs and Watts from England designed two identical tables. One found its way to the Buckingham Palace and the other is here.
On the walls of the landing are excellent oil paintings of H.H. The Nizam VI, Nawab Mir Mahaboob Ali Khan Bahadur; H.E The Shams ul Umra II, Amir e Kabir I, Amir e Paigah II, Prime Minister of Hyderabad (grandfather of Vicar ul Umra); Nawab Shams ul Umra IV, Amir e Kabir III, Amir e Paigah,Nawab Rahiduddin Khan Bahadur (father of Vicar ul Umra); H.E Nawab Mohammed Fazaluddin Khan, Iqbal ud Dowla, Sir Vicar ul Umra Bahadur (Vikar Ul Oomra), Amir e Paigah (1881-1902) prime minister of Hyderanad (1893-1901); Nawab Sultan ul Mulk Bahadur, Amir e Paigah 1902-1949 (eldest son of Vicar ul Umra Bahadur); H.E Nawab Sir Salar Jung I, prime minister of Hyderabad 1853-1883; Maharaja Narain Pershad Narainder Bahadur Raja e Rajayan, Peshkar; and photographs of notable personages forming a very interesting historical picture gallery which adds greatly to the imposing effect of the staircase.
The Falaknuma Palace has other unique things to its credit. It includes the largest collection of Venetian chandeliers. It is said that it took six months to clean a 138-arm Osler chandelier and the palace has 40 such chandeliers adorning the halls.
The telephone and electrical system was introduced in 1883 by Osler and the palace has one of the largest electrical switchboards in India.
Since the palace was the private property of the Nizam family.

The palace at present is a part of the Taj Group and has been converted into a plush 5 star hotel. To get inside the Falaknuma Palace, you need to take prior permission. October to March is the ideal time to visit this palace.

  • Prices: $313 per night
  • Address: Engine Bowli, Falaknuma, Hyderabad-500054, Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Phone:+91 40 6629 8585
  • Transit: Falaknuma 

Salar Jung Museum

                                   The Salar Jung Museum
 Salar Jung Museum is an art museum located at Darushifa, on the southern bank of the Musi river in the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is one of the three National Museums of India. It has a collection of sculptures, paintings, carvings, textiles, manuscripts, ceramics, metallic artefacts, carpets, clocks, and furniture from Japan, China, Burma, Nepal, India, Persia, Egypt, Europe, and North America. The museum's collection was sourced from the property of the Salar Jung family.


The Salar Jung Museum was established in 1951. The major portion of the collection of the museum was acquired by Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, popularly known as Salar Jung III..
In the absence of any direct descendants of Salar Jung III, the Government of India appointed a Committee to administer the Salar Jung Estate. Later on with the idea of perpetuating his name, the Salar Jung Museum was brought into existence on 16th December, 1951 in DiwanDeodi, the residential palace of Salar Jung III and opened to the public by PanditJawarharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India.
In 1958, the Government of India took over the museum through a compromise deed. Till 1958 this museum was administered by the Salar Jung Estate Committee.
Thereafter the Museum continued to be administered by the Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, Government of India till 1961. In 1961, through an Act of Parliament, the Salar Jung Museum along with its library was declared as an “Institution of National Importance.
The administration of the museum was transferred to an Autonomous Board, having the Governor of A.P. as its Chairman. The museum was transferred to its present building in the year 1968.
The family of SalarJungs had assumed such great importance that five of its family members served as Prime Ministers to the Nizams, who were the erstwhile rulers of Hyderabad.
Mir Turab Ali Khan - Salar Jung I, was awarded the title of Salar Jung Bahadur at the age of 13 years. At the age of 24 years he was appointed as Prime Minister by the then Nizam, Nasir-ud- Daulah. He was a great administrator, known for his reforms and also a connoisseur of art. He died in the year 1882.
His eldest son, Mir Laiq Ali Khan was appointed as first Secretary to the Council of Regency and later on as a member of the Council of State. He was appointed as Prime Minister in 1884 A.D. by the then Nizam, Mir Mehboob Ali Khan.
He spent most of his time in continuing the social reforms which were discontinued by his father Mir Turab Ali Khan, Salar Jung I. When he was only 26 years old he died at Poona, leaving behind an infant of 24 days, AbulQasim Mir Yousuf Ali Khan.
When Mir Yousuf Ali Khan became 10 years old, the then Nizam bestowed upon him the family title of Salar Jung Bahadur and restored his Mansab and other titles.
Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam VII, selected Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III as his Prime Minister. Due to some difference of opinion, Salar Jung III relinquished the post of Prime Minister in November 1914. Thereafter his entire life he devoted in enriching his treasures of art.
Mir Yousuf Ali Khan was not only a collector of antiques but he also patronized poets, writers and artists, encouraging literary and cultural activities. He continued with his zeal as an art connoisseur till the very end of his life enriching his art collections and died as a bachelor on 2nd March,1949 at the age of 60.


The Indian historical collections
  • Aurangzebs sword.
  • Jade crafted daggers of, Emperor Jehangir, Noorjahan and Shah Jehan.
  • A wardrobe of Tipu Sultan and
  • A tiffin box made of gold and diamond
The marvellous expose unveils the art heritage of India, Asia, Middle East and Europe and includes Persian carpets, Chinese porcelain, Japanese lacquer ware, sculpture, invaluable collections of jade, bronzes, enamelware, paintings, wood and inlay work from Tibet, Nepal and Thailand etc. There are Aurangzeb's sword, daggers belonging to empress Noor Jehan, emperors Jehangir and Shah Jehan, the turbans and chair of Tippu Sultan, furniture from Egypt, paintings etc. Among the sculptures stands out the world famous statue of Veiled Rebecca, her beautiful face hazily visible through; hold your breath, a marble but gossamer veil. The visitor may mistake it for a gorgeous woman draped in a wet garment. Equally captivating is a double-figure wood sculpture done by G.H. Benzoni, an Italian sculptor, in 1876. It stands before a mirror and shows the facade of a nonchalant Mephistopheles and the image of a demure Margaretta in the mirror.
The objects on display in the children’s section of the museum are a testimony to the vast range of interest and diverse nature of Salar Jung III, in collecting objects. The objects housed in the section provide informal education to the children apart from providing delight to them.
Salar Jung Museum is an institutional member of various historical and museological organizations, like ICOM-INC, Museums Association of India etc. The museum organizes temporary exhibitions periodically on various themes and efforts are being made to make them more aesthetic, educative and informative. It is also maintaining a ‘Mobile Exhibition Van’ arranging exhibits on different themes on the museum’s collections and the cultural heritage of India to present the museum at the doorstep of schools, villages and other public places as part of Museum Education.
The museum publishes guide-Books, brochures, research Journals, and books on selected subjects in English, Hindi and Urdu languages.
Seminars and workshops are being organized on special occasions such as – Birthday celebrations of Salar Jung III, Museum Week, Childrens Week etc., as part of its educational activities.
During the Museum Week (8th –14th January) the visitors are allowed on 50% concession on entrance fee. Rangoli Competition for women of different age groups are being conducted every year to maintain the traditional culture.
During the Children’s Week (from14th to 20th November) students and children are allowed free entry to the Museum. Competitions are also conducted on different aspects amongst the school-children of different age groups- such as elocution, essay writing, drawing etc. in English, Hindi, Telugu and Urdu languages.
The Salar Jung Museum is also possessing a huge library consisting of nearly sixty thousand books, manuscripts, journals etc., and it is a monument to the love of learning of the Salar Jung family.
As part of the re-organization of museum, two huge buildings were constructed on either of side of the main building. Plans are on afoot to arrange the galleries on a wide range like all the objects belonging to European countries to be housed in the Western Block and all the objects of East and Far East countries are to be housed in the Eastern Block. The oriental and Indian objects will be housed in the present main building.
As one of the museums of “National importance” in India, the Salar Jung Museum is meant to function as a cultural centre through its exhibits, research projects and planned activities.


there are 38 galleries in the Museum in three blocks. 
(1) Indian Block (27 galleries)
(2)Western Block (7 galleries)
(3) Eastern Block (4 galleries) 
in which nearly 13,654 objects are on display.
The collections of the Salar Jung Museum are the mirrors of the past human environment,   ranging from 2nd century B.C to early 20th century A.D of different cultures such as Islamic Greek, Roman, Hindu, Jain, , Christian and Buddhist of various countries and of various materials.

Arabic, Persian Manuscripts

The Arabic and Persian manuscripts are the most valuable collection of the museum. The earliest manuscript on display is a Holy Quran written on parchment in Kufic script and is datable to 9th century A.D. Besides, a number of Holy Qurans both illuminated and embellished adorn the gallery. The other noteworthy manuscripts on display are: the Quartrain of Omar Khayyam written from Sultan Hussain of Persia and autographed by princess Jehanara Begum, the favourite daughter of Shah Jehan, an illuminated Holy Quran, Shah-nama by Firadausi written by Mohd-b-Abdul Rahman Sammarqandi ( 1424 A.D. ) etc. 

Jade Gallery

Jade is a semi precious stone, varies in colour from almost pure white, emerald green to a dark black green. The term jade includes Nephrite and Jadeite. The collection includes wine cups (plain and studded with precious stones) plates, cups, book stands belt buckles, arm rests, flywhisk handles and hair pins, etc. Most of the Indian jade objects are dated from17th to 19th centuries based on style, decoration and polish and can be said that they were carved during Mughal and later Mughal period.
A jade book-stand having the name of Shamsuddin Iltamish, an archer ring inscribed with the legend “Sahib-e-Kuran-i-Sani” - title of the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan are masterpieces. A dagger and a fruit knife made of jade decorated with precious stones are said to belong to Jehangir and Noorjehan respectively. Mughal period jade boxes in the collection shaped with exquisite skill depict creeper designs in conventional flower motifs inlaid with precious stones are indeed a proud possession of the museum.

 Bidri Gallery

The word Bidri took its name from the city of Bidar situated about 120 kilometers north-west of Hyderabad. There are two techniques in use in preparing Bidri objects, namely Tahnashin and Zarbaland. In Tahnashin (deeply cut work), the designs are engraved deeply and the gold or silver pieces are laid in the trenches. In the Zarbaland technique the design is raised. The Bidri work was not confined to Bidar but was also practised at Hyderabad, Lucknow, Pune and to a limited extent in Kashmir also. The design is usually inlaid with silver foils. The bright silver design on a contrasting black body creates excellent effect. The old Bidri ware in the museum is represented by huqqa bottoms, pandans, trays, surahis, aftabas, vases, etc.
Middle East is represented through its art objects from Persia, Syria and Egypt covering diverse media like carpets, paper (manuscripts), ceramics, glass, metal, furniture, lacquer ware etc. These objects give us a fair idea of the artistic achievements of the craftsmen of these regions in a fitting manner.

Egyptian & Syrian Art

Though the major part of the Egyptian art objects on display are only copies made after the originals from the important tombs of the Egyptian kings, yet the visitor can have an idea of the art traditions and the religious beliefs of ancient Egypt through these objects. The art objects consist of furniture, appliqué work and ivory carvings. The centre of attraction is the superb replica of Tutankhamen throne datable to1340 B.C., the original of which is in the Cairo Museum in Egypt. Though a copy made in 20thcentury, this throne easily acquaint visitors with the excellent workmanship of the original. The Syrian art objects comprise of a good number of furniture items with magnificent workmanship inlayed with mother of pearl. A majority of them are inscribed.

 European Clocks

A bewildering variety and array of clocks greets the visitor in the clock room. There are ancient Sandiaers in the form of obelisks to huge and modern clocks of the twentieth century. Others in the range vary from miniature clocks which need a magnifying glass to imbibe their beauty and complexity to stately grandfather clocks from as far away as France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Britain. A visual delight is the musical clock Salar Jung bought from Cook and Kelvy of England. Every hour, a timekeeper emerges from the upper deck of the clock to strike a gong as many times as it is the hours of the day.

 European Paintings

Oil and water paintings form an important part of the European collections. Technically and aesthetically the works on display are excellent examples of the craft. They are also reflections of the public taste and artistic interest of the period. Though the major group on display is of mainly of British 19th century paintings, the gallery also shows examples of traditional French school, beautiful Italian landscapes and the picturesque scenes that the Munich painters had made popular. Cooper’s Cattle in Repose and four other works exhibited in the Museum, show fine views of English pastoral scene punctuated by life-like sheep and cows. Italian pictures represented in the Museum include the works of Canaletto, Hayez, Blass, Marc Aldine, Diziani, Matteini and a few lesser known painters. Canalettos oil painting Piazza San Marco exhibited in the Salar Jung Museum is a delightful piece, combining beautiful architecture, pleasing forms, pleasant natural scenery and excellent perspective. Hayezs sweet composition Soap Bubbles showing a boy blowing bubbles which are afloat in the air affords much delight to the visitors.

France  (Double Statue)
Mephistopheles and Margaretta
19 Century AD.
the skillfull use of a single block of hard Brownish Wood (Sycanmore, hare-wood family) For Carving double figures of the mysterious kind of demon,Mephistopheles and margarette is a testimony to the command of the sculptor over this medium and an art creation.the french sculptor whose name is UN-known,Symbolically depicted good(female) and the Evil(male) in this life-size Double-Statue. the imaginary of these two characters has been taken from the famous German drama. Dr Faust's by Goethe(AD. 1808)

Timings:10a.m. to 5pm.(Closed on Fridays)

Entry Fee: Rs. 10 for Indian Nationals, Rs. 150 for Foreign Nationals
91 040 24576443