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

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.

Royal 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 palace. 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 31st July 1724 to 17th September 1948.

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.

15 Responses

  1. Denny George says:

    I have lived in Hyderabad for over 8 years, but never visited Chowmahalla palace. Your post is very informative. I especially enjoyed the historical perspective. I’ll now make time to go visit the palace

  2. Tom says:

    Osman Ali Khan was the richest man of the last century? Sounds like one should visit the King Kothi Palace as well. Regardless, the inside of Chowmahalla looks formidable–would like to see more of it.

  3. That is indeed an interesting palace complex. I am from St. Petersburg, Russia, where we have a lot of o residences of former rulers turned into museums. When used wisely, I think places like this can bring a lot of tourists.

  4. Bella WW says:

    This is a really beautiful palace. When I will be visiting India, I’ll definitely include it in my itinerary. The chandeliers are gorgeous!

  5. What a special place to visit! Thanks so much for this inside look … though now I really wan to make the trip myself too 🙂

  6. Liz Gen says:

    It’s interesting to learn about the rich eccentric Indian ruler who lived there. I think it’s a good museum to visit in that place.

  7. Devesh Joshi says:

    i wonder how it would feel if you have so much money. WOuld love to experience such a lifestyle (even if for just a day lol)

  1. November 2, 2018

    […] Arrangazeb (reigned 1658–1707) was ruling most of India (including Murshidabad) and was the richest man in India (after his hard-earned victory over the Diamond-rich Golconda king), he used to write Quran and […]

  2. July 18, 2019

    […] Chowmahalla Palace, Salar Jung Museum, Hussain Sagar Lake (which is known as the ‘Heart of the World’), Ramoji Film City, Golconda Fort (11 kilometers from city), etc, are some of the main tourist attractions in and around Hyderabad city. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *