Chowmahalla Palace was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, India. It is now converted into a private museum and venue for parties by the royal family.
This magnificent palace complex was once the residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad, one of the premier kingdoms in India. Nizams up-to the sixth Nizam, lived at Chowmahalla Palace.
Osman Ali Khan (Last and VII th Nizam or Asaf Jah VII) lived here till the age of 11. He then moved outside of the Chowmahalla palace complex to the newly constructed King Kothi Palace or Nazri Bagh Palace, at a distance of around 5 kilometers away. Even though he lived outside of Chowmahalla palace, his royal court meeting were held at Chowmahalla Palace. He breathed his last here at the King Kothi Palace, on the 24th February 1967.
Structures inside Chowmahalla Palace Complex
Khilwat Mubarak is the main building in the complex, where the king used to hold his Durbar (the court of a ruler). There are 19 Belgian crystal chandeliers in the durbar hall. You are allowed to view the hall and not allowed to roam around, especially near Takht-e-Nishan, the royal seat.
Council Hall was used to store rare manuscripts and books. It was also used for meeting dignitaries and high ranking officials. It now showcases the treasures of the Palace Collection.
Roshan Bangla is the palace where the sixth Nizam lived, which is named after his mother, Roshan Begum.
There are four palaces in the Chowmahalla Palace complex. (‘Chow’ or ‘Char’ means four, ‘Mahal’ means palace.) Mehtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal, Afzal Mahal and Aftab Mahal are the Four palaces in the complex.
There is a Clock Tower in the complex.
There are two main courtyards; one on the southern side and one on the northern side. There is a beautiful pool and fountain the front of the palce. There are other buildings which were used as administrative office.
There is a Gallery for the Vintage royal cars and bikes.
Weddings, meetings, etc, are allowed to be hosted in the palace. Chowmahalla palace wedding costs Rs. 1,75,000 as rental charges, without catering. Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian foods are allowed. Both in-house as well as outside catering is allowed inside the palace. Alcoholic beverages can also be supplied.
Nizam of Hyderabad & The Erstwhile Princely State of Hyderabad
The first Nizam of Hyderabad was a viceroy of the Deccan region under the Mughal Dynasty, from 1713 to 1721. He was the ruler of the Deccan area for a short period in 1707, upon the demise of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In 1724, when the Mughals became week, he declared Hyderabad an independent state and became the first ruler of the newly formed state.
Princely state of Hyderabad was the most prosperous state among the princely states in India. Golconda, where priceless Kohinoor Diamonds were mined, belonged to this princely state. It was the largest state among the princely states in India, spread over an area of 214,190 square kilometers or 2,6980 square miles. The State had its own currency, army, railway network, airline, postal system, telecommunication system and radio broadcasting service.
Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last and seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, refused to accede to India, when India got Independence in 1947. Hence the Indian Army forced its way into Hyderabad and dethroned the Nizam in September 1948. The operation is known as Operation Polo. Nizams of Hyderabd reigned from 31 July 1724 to 17 September 1954.
Nizam of Hyderabad was awarded the maximum privy purse amount of 43 lacks rupees per year (approximately 8.5 per cent of the state’s annual revenue), by the Indian government, upon acceding his state to India. Privy Purse was abolished in 1971 by 26th Indian Constitutional Amendment Act. Some of the Rulers challenged this law in various courts. A few royals were able to get this pension resorted to them. There were a total of 555 rulers. 398 rulers were getting less than Rs. 50 K per year.
At one point, Nizam of Hyderabad was The Wealthiest Man in the World.
This eccentric Indian ruler was the world’s richest man. He had 86 mistresses, 100 illegitimate sons and employed 38 staff to dust palace chandeliers..
He disciplined himself to live on the equivalent of £1 a day and smoked the cheapest brand of cigarettes, relighting and smoking the discarded butts – he once took a cigarette from an adviser, cut it in half and offered the man half back.
In one of his many palaces he had a wardrobe half a mile long, bulging with exquisite silks, brocades, damasks and fine muslins.
Another palace had a mile-long banqueting hall.
How Do I Go to Chowmahalla Palace?
Chowmahalla Palace is situated at the heart of the Hyderabad city. It is located at around 850 meters from Charminar, one of the most recognized structures in India.
Hyderabad is well connected by roads to the rest of the country. Hyderabad railway station is a main railway station in the city Secunderabad railway station is another major railway station, at around 11 kilometers from this magnificent palace complex. There is an international airport on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
Chowmahalla Palace Timings
Chow mahalla Palace is open from 10 am to 5 pm and is closed on Fridays. The entry fee for Indians are Rs 50 and Rs 10, for adults and children respectively. Foreigners are charged Indian Rupees 200. There is a separate fee for Camera and Video recording devices.
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Hotels near Chowmahalla Palace
There are many Hyderabad Hotels near the palace.