Chowmahalla Palace

Have You Been to The Last Century’s Richest Man’s Residence – Chowmahalla Palace?

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.

Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad
Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad

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.

Chowmahalla PalaceRoyal Court Room (Royal seat can be seen on the left side) at Khilwat Mubarak, at Hyderabad, India.

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 his 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.

Nizam of Hyderabad was  The Wealthiest Man in the World, until he died, aged 80, in 1967.

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.

Hotels near Chowmahalla Palace

There are many Hyderabad Hotels near the palace.

Have you been to the Last Century’s Richest Man’s Palace? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Falaknuma Palace – Heritage Hotel and Palace Hotel at Hyderabad

Falaknuma Palace is a Palace which was owned by Nizam of Hyderabad, which is now converted into a Heritage Hotel. It is situated at Hyderabad, India.

Taj Falaknuma Palace, HyderabadTaj Falaknuma Palace, a palace hotel at Hyderabad.

Falaknuma Palace is spread over 32 acres of land. It was opened in 1893 as a Palace and was converted to a Five Star hotel in 2010. This Palace is known as Taj Falaknuma Palace.

Taj Falaknuma Palace was constructed by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra. Nawab was the prime minister of the then princely state of Hyderabad. He was the uncle and brother-in-law of the Nizam VI.

There are 60 rooms and 22 halls inside the Palace. There is a large collection of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s treasures. These include furniture, paintings, statues, manuscript and books. There is also an extensive collection of jades here.

The Billiards table at the palace was designed by Burroughs and Watts of England. There are only two such identical tables in the world; one at Buckingham Palace and the other at Falaknuma Palace. Carved walnut roofed library is a replica of the library at Windsor Castle.

The Dinning hall can seat 101 guests. Chairs are made of carved rosewood with green leather upholstery.

The ballroom has a manually operated Organ, weighting around two Tons. It is the only one of its kind in the world.

How Do I Go to Falaknuma Palace?

Taj Falaknuma is situated at Falaknuma, in Hyderabad city. This Taj Palace Hotel is at around 5 kilometers distance from Charminar.

Hyderabad is well connected by roads to other parts of the country. Hyderabad railway station is a major station in India. There is an international airport at the outskirts of Hyderabad which is well connected to the rest of the world.

Fort Ruins inside The Largest Tiger Reserve in India – Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve

Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve is The Largest Tiger Reserve in India spread across 5 districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telungana states. The last count in 1989, puts the number of Tigers inside the Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve as 94.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam inside Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam inside Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve.

Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve is spread across 3,568 square kilometers in the following 5 districts; Nalgonda, Mahbubnagar, Kurnool, Prakasam and Guntur. National Tiger Conservation Authority has declared the Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve as a Project Tiger Reserve in 1983, a project to save Indian’s National animal, the Royal Bengal Tigers. The Tiger reserve was renamed as ‘Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary‘ in 1992.

Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve or Nagarjuna tiger reserve as it is called locally, has many historic places. Ruins of the ancient Nagarjuna Viswa Vidyalayam, started by the great Buddhist scholar, Nagarjunacharya of 2nd century, is found inside the Tiger reserve. Fort ruins of Ikshwaku Chandragupta, a third century ruler is also found inside the Tiger reserve. Fort ruins of king Pratap Rudra and other rulers are found on the banks of River Krishna, inside this tiger reserve. Ruins of the wall with a length of 169 kilometers, built during the Kakateeyas is seen here. There are many cave temples and rock shelters in the tiger reserve.

Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple, one among the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated at Srisailam, on the banks of the River Krishna. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam and Reservoir is situated inside the Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, at a distance of 150 kilometers from Hyderabad in the border areas of Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh state and Nalgonda district of Telungana state. Nagarjuna Sagar Reservoir is the second biggest water reservoir in India.

How Do I Go To Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve?

Srisailam is at a distance of around 210 kilometers from Hyderabad, the capital of Telungana state. Srisailam is at a distance of around 180 kilometers from Kurnool Town in Andhra Pradesh state.

River Trips in Papikonda National Park & Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary

Papikonda National Park and Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 3 districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.

Papikonda National Park and Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary view from river Godavari
Papikonda National Park and Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary view from river Godavari.

Papikonda national park and wildlife sanctuary is situated in the East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh state and Khammam district in Telangana state.

Papikonda wild life sanctuary & national park is spread over 1000 square kilometers. It is home to Royal Bengal tigers, leopards, spotted deer, sambar, bison, etc. The Bengal tiger is an Indian Tiger species and India’s national animal. Wild water buffaloes were seen till the 80’s; now they seems to be extinct from these areas.

The National park is situated along the right & left a banks of the river Godavari. The sight of River Godaveri meandering through the Gorges and deep forests in the National park will make you spellbound. There is a Museum and Environmental education center inside the national park. Safari ride and river trips are major activities for the tourists.

The kingdom of the Apes described in the Great epic of Ramayana (known as Kishkinda in Ramayana) is located here in this park. Sita was brought back from Lanka to this area with the help of locals here.

Palkonda Hills alias Papi kondalu or Papi Hills is situated in Kadapa district. Boat safari to these areas can be booked through AP tourism website. The Package tour from AP tourism includes overnight stay at huts in Kolluru village. There is no mobile or phone connectivity here; except for  a satellite phone connection in the village.

How Do I Go To Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary or Papikonda National Park?

Rajahmundry is the nearest major city to Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary and Papikonda National Park. Rajahmundry railway station is located on the main Chennai – Delhi / Kolkotta route. Rajahmundry airport is the nearest airport to the national park and wildlife sanctuary. Visakhapatnam airport is at around 100 kilometers from the Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary.

Khammam is another nearby town to the national park. Warangal , and Suryapet are other major towns to the national park.

Which is the Ideal Season to Visit the Papikonda National Park?

October to May are the Ideal months to visit Papikonda National park.

Hotels near Papikonda Wildlife Sanctuary and Papikonda National Park

Rajahmundry, Kannapuram and Maredumilli towns has government Forest rest houses for tourists. There are many hotels in the nearby towns of Rajahmundry, Warangal, Suryapet, etc.

Ananthagiri Hills Famous for Trekking with Temple, Caves & Medieval Fort Remains

Ananthagiri Hills are situated at Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district of Telungana State, India. Ananthagiri Temple is a famous temple in the forests of Ananthagiri Hills.

Anantha giri hills, a tourist place and trekking destination near Vikarabad, Telungana, India
Anantha giri hills, a tourist place and trekking destination near Vikarabad, Telungana, India.

Musi river which flows through the city of Hyderabad originates here.

Ananthagiri hills trekking is very popular with trekking community. There are many Ancient caves and medieval fort remains, which shows that medieval life existed in these areas.

Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Ananthagiri Hills, Telungana, India
Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Ananthagiri Hills near Vikarabad, Telungana, India.

Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple is an ancient temple inside the Ananthagiri forests. The temple was constructed by Nawabs. Nawab means Muslim semi autonomous rulers of the then princely states of India. Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy (Lord Vishnu) is the deity at the temple. The temple and hills got its name from the deity’s name,

How Do I Go to Ananthagiri Hills?

Ananthagiri Hills are located at a distance of around 80 kilometers from Hyderabad city, via Chevella Road. The nearest international airport is at Hyderabad. Vizianagaram railway station is the nearest railway station to the hills, at 43 kilometers distance. Hyderabad and its twin city of Secunderabad are the nearest Major cities with railway connectivity.