Chowmahalla Palace – An Epitome of Nizami Grandeur in Hyderabad

Chowmahalla Palace in the Indian City of Hyderabad is a true epitome of grandeur and elegance of the Nizams who ruled the city. It has served as the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad state during their reign and remains the property of their heir. The palace has been a seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty over 200 years where the Nizams hosted their official guests and royal visitors.

Chowmahalla palace is at a walkable distance from the iconic Charminar. After a scrumptious lunch devouring the Hyderabadi biryani close to Charminar we sauntered our way through the laad bazaar to Chowmahalla palace. Our expectation wasn’t much after visiting the Purani Haveli museum which though had some interesting exhibits wasn’t well maintained.

We bought tickets at the entrance of the Northern courtyard. More details on here. We strolled through a long corridor dotted with rooms called the Bara Imam. These rooms are said to be guest rooms for the officials visiting the Nizams. Few of these rooms today house small cafes and souvenir shops.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The construction of the palace was initiated in the year 1750 and was completed by 1869. During this span of time, numerous expansion of the palace took place adding features from different architectural styles like Persian, Rajasthani and European styles. The facade of the corridor is punctuated with beautiful arches embellished with artwork and roofs bedecked with cenotaphs. Chowmahalla palace is said to resemble Shah Palace of Tehran in Iran. For us some parts of the palace especially the Khilwat Mubarak was a reminiscence of the Versailles palace we visited in France.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

On the opposite side, is the mirror image building of Bara Iman called Shishe-Alat and is dotted with rooms in a similar way. At the center of the courtyard sits a pool punctuated by three beautiful fountains with exquisite designs on its pillars. The cannons sit at the corners of the pool.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

On the west of the palace is the clock tower housing the 250-year-old clock called Khilwat Clock in a working condition. A family of skillful clock repairers has been winding the mechanical clock every week.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The first view of the grandiose facade of the palace entranced us with its striking magnificence and remarkable stucco work. It piqued our curiosity to unfurl the splendor hidden behind the mystical curtains falling over the seven arches of the palace facade. A rapt moment was in store ahead!

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Khilwat Mubarak

The sheer opulence of the majestic hall is an astounding peek into the past glory and the lavish lifestyle of the Nizams. A walk through the immaculate marble flooring flanked by the pillars will walk you back in time. The arches, the ceilings and the walls decorated with intricate Persian work and the nineteen dazzling ornate Belgian crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling recreate the splendor of the durbar hall of the time when the royalty of Asaf Jahi Dynasty addressed the visitors.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The pure marble royal seat or the Takht-e-Nishan of the Nizams sits at one end of the hall. The religious and royal ceremonies held by the Nizams amidst the resplendent glory must have been one of its kind engrossing the visitors in the Nawabi charm.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The side rooms of the hall hold exhibit offering insight into the history of Chowmahalla Palace and the Nizams.

Hall of Crafts

A tour of the exclusive collection of Nizams personal possessions starts at the ‘Hall of Craft’ where an exhibition of the crockery items, handpainted artifacts, handwoven textiles, beautifully carved tables exemplifies the skillful craftsmanship and tasteful indulgence of the royal family in local handicrafts.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Hall of Arts

The ‘Hall of Arts’ displays pictures of the various Nizams. The windows of the hall offer an impressive view of the beautiful spread of lawn behind the palace.

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We couldn’t stop ourselves from clicking few more pictures of the grand Khilwat Mubarak from the first-floor museums.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The corridor at the rear exit of the palace was lined with several wooden cupboards possessed by the royal clan of the Nizams.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

And as you walk wondering at the age old dusty wooden cabins have a look at the ceiling to be bedazzled by the extensive work of art in yellow and white colors. Beautiful patterns adorn the arches of the corridor.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Armor Museum

At end of the corridor is an armor display exhibiting Sword, dagger, Afghan Churas, Khanjars, Jambiyas with hilts adorned in stones, crystals, gold, and silver. The armory arranged in an appealing pattern was interesting to behold. The rifles were kept in an enclosed glass cabinet while the swords and the daggers were arranged on the wall reaching up to the ceiling. Even here the ceiling had some beautiful artwork done.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

Assuming this to be the end of the display we enquired with the guard only be ushered towards Southern courtyard behind the garden. The southern courtyard built in the neo-classical style is the oldest part of the palace and has four palaces Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The Aftab Mahal displays the lavish textiles belonging to the royal family of the Nizams. Apart from the wonderful metallic embroidery work of gold and silver, the fabrics were studded with precious stones, diamonds, and pearls. Also on display are the Vintage cars and Buggees. The Rolls Royce Silver Ghost car of the Nizam made to order in 1912 is the main attraction of the exhibit. The car is said to be adorned with gold mountings and silver finish originally.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

The last part of the Chowmahalla Palace tour is the Afzal Mahal. The entry into this hall was not allowed though we could peek through the glass windows and the one central door kept open for a quick glance at the sumptuous life of the Nizams.

Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

There is also a Quran section you will find on the way back towards the main palace. The room exhibits various kinds of Quran some hand-written, the miniature Qurans printed in metal and some with gold inscriptions.

Today the grandeur of the bygone era of the Nizams can be relived again as the hall is available to hosting ceremonies, events and special dinners parties for corporate people as well as individuals. The aura of the palace will be lit up in golden lights and dressed in best of the opulent colors. Attending one such party would be a dream, isn’t it?

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19 Comment

  1. Wow, the palace is beautiful. I love buildings that are so interesting, both in their architecture and their history. It’s easy to imagine what went on in there through your great photos.

  2. Chowmahalla palace is beautiful and so opulent. I can see why you compare it to Versailles. I love the bright gold colors and that chandelier.

  3. This is beautiful! How interesting that it was like the Versailles palace! I haven’t been to either place but the pictuers are gorgeous. I love how peaceful it looks and that there aren’t a lot of people around!

  4. It is massive and has so much history. The collection of antiques looks amazing too. It is like you are traveling through time. The architecture is awesome too.

  5. Jean says: Reply

    Oh wow! I can see what you mean about it looking like the Palace of Versailles. What a magnificent place to explore. I so want to see more photos please.

  6. Hyderabad has an old world charm like no other. Chowmahalla Palace is the epitome of grandeur. Some ago I did a heritage walk from Char Minar to Chowmahalla Palace early morning. We passed through Laad Bazaar and many ancient buildings including a clock tower.

  7. I completely skipped Hyderabad when I visited India and the more I read your posts on Hyderabad and the surrounding area the more I regret not visiting. Hyderabad is a must visit on my next visit to India (probably next year). The Chowmahalla Palace is stunning and you photographed it brilliantly. I would love to recreate the reflection shot you made, that’s my favourite of your images!

  8. Katie says: Reply

    What an awesome place to visit!! Looks so beautiful! And yeah it amazes me about the similarities we can find around the world!

  9. There are innumerable royal palaces in India, but my favorite is the Chowmohalla. It is in impeccable shape and the variety of artefacts displayed are amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes in the Durbar Hall. Its so graceful and delicately ornate…a work of art!

  10. Bhusha says: Reply

    Whoa! I missed this when I visited Hyderabad. Our Nizams have done an amazing job with architecture!! The intricate stucco work is indeed spectacular!

  11. What a stunning palace! It reminds me of Versailles too, especially with those unbelievable fountains. I also love the vintage car collection. I would die to see that yellow car up close and personal!

  12. I went to Hyderabad for work quite a few years ago but never got a chance to explore the city! The Chowmahalla Palace looks absolutely splendid and its architecture is quite magnificent!

  13. Colby says: Reply

    Wow! You are so right! Chowmahalla is the epitome of grandeur and elegance. There’s so many intricate details. So much opulence. I’d love to visit here someday and pretend I’m a pretty pretty princess haha.

  14. Indrani says: Reply

    I am glad this is maintained so well. I visited it many years back and looks almost the same.
    Very well framed pics.

  15. Jodie says: Reply

    What a stunning place full of history and colours! I’d never even heard of the Nizams before! I really enjoy stories that involve the history of the people in places like these. Thanks for sharing it!

  16. Tatum says: Reply

    Grandeur would be an understatement in this sense!! WOW. I love how the archways have cut puts that mimic the ancient architecture! Places like this hold so many untold stories and secrets of the past! You captured it beautifully!

  17. Vrithi Pushkar says: Reply

    I have been to Hyderabad a few time. I have never visited this beautiful palace. Looks like something I may actually enjoy. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  18. That is luxury at its best. The hallways are so well decorated and presented. Your photos have really captured the real ambiance of the place.

  19. Wow! I am impressed with the intricate work done on ceilings, doors, and arches. They are adding so much beauty to the chow mahalla palace. Those Chandeliers very well are the examples of the luxurious lives Nizams used to love. You have captured everything so nicely in your pictures. Loved this palace as well as your post.

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