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Timings : 10:00 AM to 5:00PM (Closed on Friday)

Time Required : 3- 4 Hours

Entry Fee : Indians: INR 80, Foreigners: INR 200, Children: INR 10
Photography: INR 50
Videography: INR 100

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Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad Overview

Once the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, the Chowmahalla Palace was built in Hyderabad between the years 1857 and 1869. In essence, Chowmahalla can be literally translated to mean 'Four Palaces'. The magnificent monument consists of two massive courtyards as well as a grand dining hall known as 'Khilawat'. This splendid monument that once served as theĀ official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad during their reign still retains some of its past splendour. It is still the property of Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, heir of the Nizams and has been decorated with UNESCO's Asia Pacific Merit award in 2010 as well.

The architecture of the Chowmahalla Palace is an imposing sight to behold. The facade itself is a delicate artwork of domes, arches, windows and meticulously carved out designs. The complex is elegantly embellished with gentle fountains, expansive lush gardens, numerous palaces, Clock Tower, Roshan Bangla and the Council Hall. The Courtyard here is a fairytale venue to hold the most exquisite dinner parties, with the palace standing firmly in the background.

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History of Chowmallah Palace

The construction of the Chowmahalla palace was initiated by Salabat Jung in 1750 and it was completed during the period of Afzal ad Dawlah, Asaf Jah V. The fifth Nizam ensured the completion of the Chowmahalla palace within 1869. The Palace went on to become the main residence of the Nawabs and the royal court was held here as well. Even in the olden times, the palace was the main centre for all activities pertaining to the Nizam rule, including festive ceremonies and welcome parties hosted for esteemed guests. This was also a stopover for Grand Khilwat and served as a guesthouse for other royalty. It is believed to have taken inspiration from the Shah of Iran's palace in Tehran built by Juveria Khan Rahimullah.

Architecture of Chowmallah Palace

The architectural style of the Chowmahalla palace has its influence from Persian, Rajasthani, Indo-Saracenic and European styles. Originally spread over an area of 45 acres, the palace now covers only 12 acres presently. Chowmahalla Palace consists of two courtyards, the northern courtyard and the southern courtyard. There are elegant palaces, the grand Khilwat (Durbar Hall), many fountains and beautiful gardens. There are four palaces inside, Aftab Mahal, Afzal Mahal, Tanhiyat Mahal and Mahtab Mahal. The northern courtyard has the Bara Imam, where all the major administrative activities took place.

Structures inside Chowmahalla Palace

A number of illustrious buildings are present inside the Chowmahalla Palace, which deserve a mention of their own:-

1. Khilwat Mubarak: Perhaps the most important structure in the Chowmahalla Palace, the Khilwat Mubarak includes a number of features in itself. It has the raised marble platform where the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. This was where the major proceedings of the Nizam Court took place. Presently, it has a number of splendid Belgian chandeliers installed in its chambers. A Clock Tower which is also called the Khilwat Clock is also present here and has been ticking away for around 251 years. Its upkeep is maintained by an expert family of clock mechanics, who regularly examine the cogs and gears to keep the clock up and running. The Council Hall has an impressive collection of manuscripts and priceless books and served as the destination where the Nizams met important dignitaries and visitors. Presently, it holds a priceless collection of relics from the Chowmahalla Palace Collection. The Roshan Bangla in the premises of the Chowmahalla Palace is a royal chamber named after Roshan Begum.
2. Bara Imam: The Bara Imam is a long corridor of rooms which overlook the fountain and pool that were the administrative wing and Shishe-Alat in the olden times. This structure has a considerable Persian influence in its architecture, with domes and arches making multiple appearances. This part is situated in the Northern Courtyard of the CHowmahalla Palace and overlooks a building built in its exact image. It used to serve as a guest house for guests visiting the palace.

The Southern Courtyard of the Chowmahalla Palace has a number of other structures which add an ornate beauty to it. These include Afzal Mahal which is a two - storey building adorned with long pillars, detailed carvings, and majestic garden spaces, Mahtab Mahal and Tahniyat Mahal which have delicate carvings and majestic archways adorning their white stone surface and Aftab Mahal, all of which are built in neo - classical architectural style.

Events at Chowmahalla Palace

In keeping with the traditions of the Nawabs, the Chowmahalla Palace regularly hosts a number of events for the benefit of its guests. Heritage walks that take you through Old Hyderabad are a great way to rediscover the avenues of history and are organised here regularly. Annual Chowmahalla Music and Dance Festival is a colourful fanfare, where you can witness a number of amazing performances ranging from divine qawallis to enchanting dance performances.

How To Reach Chowmahalla Palace

Chowmallah Palace is located in the heart of Hyderabad, and hence, easily accessible. The Nampally station is located near the Palace. From the station, you can hire an autorickshaw or taxi to the palace. Also, if you wish to travel by bus, there are many buses running to and fro Nampally at frequent intervals.

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