All I was looking forward to was dum biryani and some jewellery shopping. Taj Faluknama Palace,also known as "Mirror of the Sky", turned out to be a real jewel in the crown.Originally, a getaway for the Nizam of Hyderabad,now maintained on a lease by the Taj ,the Falaknuma Palace is a royal treat for it's guests.It's magnificent designs,inspired by European architecture and the picturesque location on top of a hill overlooking the entire city ,could not have asked for a better stay.
The Palace was originally built by the prime minister of Hyderabad in the late 19th century, who went bankrupt building it and finally bought over by his brother-in-law ,Nizam VI.The Nizam VI in 1897 used the palace as a royal guest house as it had a commanding view of the entire city.When you visit the hotel,it's like reliving the era.The Nizam's family has left the palace with it's various antiques ,intact.The sprawling library has some rare books like the original book written by the first survivor of the Titanic,Britannica Encyclopedia first edition and many more.The cars are stopped at the main entrance and from there you are transferred to the main lobby in a antique 'baggi' .The main lobby overlooks three sky gardens which give a magnificent view of the entire city.Not to miss ,are the two old canons along with real canon balls for decoration.
The rooms are reasonably modern with a hint of antique,they are actually old store and kitchen rooms converted .The doors have inlay work with huge 'kundis' or latches.Even small details like knobs,light fitting,fans give you the feel of that era.Apart from this the guests are given a taste of Duppata and traditional attire and jewellery .There is a palace historian who takes you on a historical tour of the palace on request,and you end up in the awe of the Nizams and their grandeur.The world's largest dining table with a seating capacity of 101 people at a time, a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world,jade themed entertainment room,onyx and ivory desk accessories all leave you wishing you were born in that era.Also one thing to note is that nothing in the palace is an Indian influence.
What is interesting is that you can use all these antiques,like sitting on the Nizam's chair,writing on his desk,using the begum's gossip room unlike most palaces which are just museums.Every evening there is a 'qawwali' by a group of very talented singers(who sing without any mike and just a harmonium ) at the celestial terrace,which has the 'Charminar' and 'Mecca mosque' along with the city view in the background.Sipping wine with starry lights and city lights and listening to this spell binding 'qawwali' ,you are transported in a different era.
Other experiences are the super relaxing Jiva Spa which has a special customised 'Nawab-e-khas' treatment for the guests.The staff is courteous and makes sure you feel royal all the way ,even little things like a taste of Indian fruit platter in the morning,'mithai' in the evening and a silver plate with rose petals and cream in the night on your bed ,all add to the experience.
No wonder,that Nizam the VI was named one of the world richest man,with his fleet of 400 imported cars,35 palaces and riches good enough to fill an entire Piccadilly square.The current Nizam the VIII lives in Turkey and only visits occasionally .
The luxury doesn't come cheap though,the rooms are steeply priced starting at 27,000 Rs per night ,but you may look at corporate deals or offers to book online.
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- Also Known As:
- Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel Hyderabad