|Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad, wikipedia.o|
In the by-gone era India had countless Maharajahs, Sultans and other rich rulers whose luxury and style of living had no parallel. They enjoyed all the trappings, the world could offer them when they were in power. The world famous Rolls Royce car company's sales went up because of Indian rulers, some of whom bought the car in multiples. Among the rich Indian rulers, the Nizam of Hyderabad, Telengana state had a position of eminence whose fabulous affluence was well-known.
Considered as one of the richest men in the world during the colonial period, the Nizams were more known for their eccentricity than for their extravaganza and affluence. They might have lost their princely status and affluence after India's independence when the British divided India in August 1947, but their aura and regal grandeur is not yet lost and it still lingers in our mind and one may feel it if one visits their highly embellished palaces and other buildings in Hyderabad.
Chowmahalla Palace (meaning four palaces) located near Charminar was once the seat of power of the Asaf Jahi dynasty of Hyderabad who ruled this vast region until middle of 1940s; it was also the official residence of the Nizams. This palace is steeped in history because it was here main ceremonial functions including the accession of the Nizams and receptions to the Governor-General were held.
On 15 March 2010, prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation was presented to Chowmahalla Palace. The palace construction work took place long ago, first taken up by Salabat Jung in 1750, and the work was completed during the period of Afzal ad-Dawlah, Asaf Jah V between 1857 and 1869.
Khilwat Mubarak -Watch Tower gate of the palace is an interesting one. The palace consisting of two courtyards as well as the grand Khilwat (the Dharbar Hall), fountains and gardens, was originally built on a plot of 45 acres (180,000 m2), but now, the small spread is reduced to 12 acres only. It is a blend of many architectural styles.
Southern courtyard, constituting the oldest portion of tha main palace has four small palaces - Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal. It was built in the neo-classical style. Northern courtyard has Bara Imam, a long corridor of rooms on the east side near the central fountain and pool. It once formed the administrative office. One can not miss the Mogul type of domes, arches and structural designs that were prevalent at that time in Hyderabad. Across the Bara Imam is a unique building that is its shishe or mirror image. This part was used by the officials accompanying visiting dignitaries.
|Chowmahalla palace, Hyderabad, India. Trabol.com|
|Watch Tower gate of Chowmahalla Palace istockphoto.com|
|Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad, India. pinterest.com|
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|Chowmahalla palace,seat of power, Hyderabad, India TripAdvisor|
|chowmahalla palace hyderabad indianwanderers.wordpress.com|
As for the main gate of Chowmahalla Palace,
there is a historical clock called Khilwat Clock.
An amazing thing about this clock is it has been around for more than 251 years showing time without failing. It is said that experts from a family of clock repairers took care of the clock which had to be mechanically wound every week.
Roshan Bangla named after 6th Nizam's mother Roshan Begum, is a beautiful place and opened to public in January 2005. The decision was taken by the present Nizam (Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah) and his family after carrying out tedious restoration work and it took 5 long years to restore the palaces without damaging their heritage value.
The palace remains the property of Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, heir of the Nizams.