FALAKNUMA PALACE is one of the finest Palaces in Hyderabad. It belonged to PAIGAH, Hyderabad State, and it was later owned by the Nizam of Hyderabad. It is on a 32-acre area in FALAKNUMA, 5km from Charminar. It was built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the uncle and brother-in-law of Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Bahadur. FALAK – NUMA means “Like the Sky” or “Mirror of the Sky”.
Sir Vicar moved into the GOL BANGLA & ZENANA MAHAL of the FALAKNUMA PALACE in December 1890, and closely monitored the finishing work at the MARDANA portion. It is made completely with Italian marble and covers an area of 93,971 sq.metres.
The FALAKNUMA fell silent after the 1950s. The last important guest was the President of India, Rajendra Prasad, in 1951. The Palace was mostly kept closed since then and underwent a huge restoration after it was given on lease to the Taj Group of Hotels. The responsibility of the restoration, to its original grandeur, was led by H.H. Princess ESRA JAH, the 1st wife of H. E. H the 8th Nizam of Hyderabad.
One of the highlights of the Palace is the State Reception Room, where the ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded reliefs. The Ballroom contains a 2-ton manually-operated organ, said to be the only one of its kind in the world. The palace has 60 lavishly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls. It as some of the finest collections of the Nizam’s treasures, including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The JADE COLLECTION at the Palace is considered to be unique in the world.
The Palace has a library with a carved walnut roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library had one of the finest collection of the Quran in India. The ground floor of the Palace housed the living quarters. A marble staircase leads to the upper floor. It has carved balustrades, which support marble figurines with candelabra at intervals.
There is a Billiards Room. Burroughs & Watts from England designed two identical tables, one of which is in Buckingham Palace and the other in the Falaknuma Palace. On the walls of the landing are many oil paintings and photographs of notable personages. The Falaknuma Palace also has the largest collection of Venetian Chandeliers, with forty 138-arm Osler Chandeliers in the halls. The telephone and electrical system was introduced in 1883 by Osler and the Palace has one of the largest electrical switchboard in India. The Palace was the private property of the Nizam family, and not normally open to the public till 2000.
In 2001, Taj Hotels started renovating and restoring the Palace. The renovated hotel was opened in November 2010. The rooms and halls were decorated with ornate furniture, handcrafted tapestries and brocade from France. The interiors have English and Venetian chandeliers and intricate frescoes, and have outdoor terraces with rare artefacts. There is also a DURBAR HALL, embellished with intricately carved wooden ceilings, parquet flooring, walnut furniture and handcrafted mirrors.
It is said that the Nizam used to have enough pearls to pave Piccadilly.