It is listed in one of the primary tourist attractions in Hyderabad. It is the palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad. In Urdu, Hindi Char means four, and even in Persian, Chahar means four and in Urdu and Hindi Mahal means palaces, hence the name Chowmahalla/four palaces. The prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation was presented to Chowmahalla Palace on 15 March 2010.
Here are some interesting facts about this historic place.
1. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty
2. The palace belongs to the Nizams of Hyderabad and was their official residence while they ruled their state
3. Begun in 1750 by Salabat Jung, it was completed between 1857 and 1869 by the period of Afzal ad-Dawlah, Asaf Jah V, the V Nizam.
4. Over the 100 years of its expansion it has absorbed Persian, Indo-Saracenic, Rajasthani and European styles into its architecture.
5. Originally the palace covered 45 acres, but only 14 acres remain today
6. A 1912 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost car of the Nizam is on display in the sourthern courtyard. The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost car of the Nizam was made to order in 1911 with many special features. The original body was painted in rich canary yellow with gold mountings and later re-bodied to reflect a 1930’s style. All the body hardware, lights and roof dome with its fleur-de-lys pattern were finished in silver.
7. This car was sparingly used for ceremonial occassions and in the last 100 years it has done just 356 miles.
8. The Khilwat Mubarak is the heart of Chowmahalla Palace and is the most beautiful palace on the grounds
9. The clock above the main gate to Chowmahalla Palace has been ticking away for around 250 years. The people of the locality wait for its chimes and correct their own watches by the accuracy of this clock’s timing
10. Chowmahalla Palace is said to be modeled on the Shah of Iran’s palace in Tehran
11. In the northern courtyard is the Khilwat Mubarak, a magnificent durbar hall which houses exhibitions of photos, arms and clothing. This part of the palace has Bara Imam, a long corridor of rooms on the east side facing the central fountain and pool that once housed the administrative wing. Opposite to the Bara Imam is Shishe-Alat, a building that is its ‘shishe’ or mirror image.
12. Roshan Bangla is another building in this palace. The sixth Nizam is believed to have lived here and the building was named after his mother Roshan Begum.