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Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad

Falaknuma Palce in Hyderabad entrance
The city of pearls has many gems in its treasure and one of them is Falaknuma Palace. Initially owned by Nawab Sir Vikar ul Umra, Amir e Paigah and now by The Nizam of Hyderabad, the Falaknuma Palace has been given to the Taj Hotels on lease. The renovation and restoration of the Palace started in 2000 and the renovated palace was finally launched as a hotel managed by Taj Hotels in November 2010. Nawab Vikar ul Umra who was the then prime minister of Hyderabad; built the palace and named it Falaknuma which means ‘like the sky’ or ‘mirror of the sky'.

History of the Falaknuma Palace

The palace depicting 'the sky' required lot of money for construction, so much so that Sir Vikar ul Umra took loan to complete it. However, Lady Vikar ul Umra intelligently found a solution to this problem and asked Sir Vikar ul Umra to invite Mehboob Ali Pasha Nizam VI to the palace. During the visit the Nizam VI loved the palace to such an extent that he accepted the offer of Sir Vikar ul Umra and took the palace as a gift; however he made the gesture of paying all the expenses incurred in building the palace. This is how the Paigah nobel was saved from a financial crisis and the Nizam of Hyderabad took ownership of the palace.

Falaknuma palace hosted many dignitaries and royal guests till 1950, however after 1950 it got lost into oblivion when the Nizam shifted his abode to another palace. Dr Rajendra Prasad the first President of India became the last guest of this palace in 1951 after which in 2000 the palace was given to Taj hotels for restoration on a 30 year lease. The restoration process was supervised by the princess Asra Jah who is the first wife of the seventh Nizam.

The palace is a combination of many types of architecture including Renaissance architecture; French, Baroque style and has the true blue Nizam flavour along with other art deco sensibilities that were woven into the décor of this palace.  It was therefore an uphill task for the princess and Taj hotels to restore the palace keeping intact the essence of the original palace. Exact upholstery, recreation of broken structures, making extra rooms and building restaurants are some of the highlights of restoration process at Falaknuma Palace.

Architecture of Falaknuma Palace

In 1884 on the 3rd day of March Sir Vkar ul Umra Bahadur laid foundation for construction of the palace which was designed by an English architect. The architect took nine years to complete the palace. Sir Vikar ul Umra was then residing in the Gol Bangla and Zanana Mahel where he closely watched the finishing of the Mardana portion.

The design of the palace is inspired from that of a scorpion whose stings are depicted by north wings of the palace. In the middle is the Kitchen, the Gol bangla (modeled after the white house and Buckingham palace), Zanana Mahel and the Harem quarters located in the south of the palace. As the Nawab loved travelling architecture of this palace has a blend of Italian and Tudor architecture.

The state-of-the-art entrance or the reception room has fresco decorated ceiling and has gilded reliefs. Another noticeable piece of art is the ballroom which has a two ton manually operated organ and is considered one the most unique pieces in the world. The palace has in total 220 rooms out of which 60 are for guests and 22 spacious halls. The palace still houses priceless treasures, manuscripts and books, furniture, paintings, statues etc. out of these treasures the Jade collection as Falaknuma is quite exclusive and exquisite. Apart from the Ballroom the Dining room is another unique part of the castle and is one  its kind in the world as the rosewood carved chairs and dining table (108 feet and 5.7X2.7 feet area) has the capacity of 101 persons and acoustics in the dining are such that a person sitting 180 meters apart can have a conversation in his normal pitch. The Library at the palace is worth mentioning as it is a replica of Windsor Castle’s library; this library is known for having one the finest Quran collection in the country; it has around 5,970 books out of which 150 can now be accessed by visitors. Living area is on the ground floor and the billiards room had two similar identical tables designed by Burroughs and Watts from Britain, now there is only one table and one has been put in Buckingham palace.

Architecture of Falaknama PalaceOil paintings in Falaknuma palace

  • H.H The Nizam VI, Nawab Mir Mehboob Ali Khan Bahadur
  • Amir e Paigah 1902-1949
  • Nawab Shams ul Umra IV
  • Amir e Kabir I
  • Nawab Sultan ul Mulk Bahadur
  • Amir e Paigah II
  • Prime Minister of Hyderabad
  • Amir e Kabir III
  • Nawab Rahiduddin Khan Bahadur
  • H.E Nawab Mohammed Fazaluddin Khan
  • Amir e Paigah
  • Sir Vicar ul Umra Bahadur
  • H.E Shams ul Umra II
  • Amir e Paigah (1881-1902)
  • Iqbal ud Dowla
  • H.E Nawab Sir Salar Jung I, prime minister of Hyderabad 1853-1883
  • Maharaja Narain Pershad Narainder Bahadur Raja e Rajayan, Peshkar

Interesting facts about Falaknuma Palace

As mentioned before the palace is an eclectic blend of many architectures and styles; one of the interesting pieces of artifact in the palace would be the Venetian chandelier. What makes it interesting is the fact that it required six long months to refurbish the chandelier as one Osler chandelier has 138 arms and there are about 40 similar Osler chandeliers in the halls of Falaknuma Palace.

In 1884 the telephone and electrical system was introduced in the world by Osler and the palace housed one of the hugest electrical switchboards in India.

Before the palace was given to Taj Hotels on lease visitors were not allowed to visit the palace and only on special occasions the palace was opened for public

In the present day time Taj Falaknuma Palace is included in the 2012 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List of the world's best places to stay

Falaknuma Palace as Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel

Taj Falaknuma Hotel entrance

Hyderabad is the emerging silicon valley of India after Bangalore and also attracts tourists because of its rich heritage and historical importance. After the palace was given to Taj hotels on lease for 30 years it got open for visitors and tourists. There are 60 rooms available for guests as mentioned before and these rooms are a combination of history and modernity as the architecture is historical but all the amenities in these rooms are modern and advance.

Room tariffs (per room)

  • Rs 30, 000 - Rs 32, 000 for palace room queen bed or twin bed
  • Around Rs 90,000 – Rs 1, 50,000 for grand royal suite 1 bedroom with King bed


Engine Bowli, Falaknuma, Hyderabad-500054
Phone: 040-6629858

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