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UNESCO Award for Chowmahalla Palace


Chowmahalla palace, the royal seat of the Asaf Jahi rulers, has bagged the coveted UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Merit award for cultural heritage conservation for 2010. Out of 43 countries, Hyderabad's Chowmahalla palace has been selected for the award. UNESCO director general will come down here in November to present the award to Mukarram Jah Bahadur, grandson of the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

The restoration of the Chowmahalla palace has come in for appreciation by UNESCO for rescuing 'an extraordinary complex from years of abandonment'. The project has restored a 'cultural oasis' in the heart of Hyderabad providing the public a glimpse into the lives of the Asaf Jah rulers, the citation said.

Restoration of the sprawling palace got underway with Princess Esra, former wife of Prince Mukarram Jah, initiating the conservation project in August 2000. A formidable multi disciplinary team of architects, urban designers, conservationists, art consultants, museum experts, historians, textile restores and scholars took part in reviving the historic complexes within the palace.

Vijaya Shanker Das, senior consul to the prince said, Mr. Jah will come to Hyderabad to personally receive the UNESCO award.

He said a glittering function was lined up for the opening of the majestic Falaknuma palace hotel in mid November. A virtual who-is-who from the Nizam's royal family and business world will grace the occasion. Mr. Jah will be present for the inauguration of the luxury resort.

The palace, which is leased out to the Taj Group of Hotels, will be opened next month itself for guests on trial basis but it will be formally inaugurated in November.

Under restoration for the last ten years, the Falaknuma palace hotel is expected to put Hyderabad on the international luxury resort map.

Mr. Das expressed satisfaction at the 'wonderful job' of restoration and said it would beat the other three palace hotels in the country. "It is simply the best", he told presspersons here on Monday.

Mr. Das refused to comment on the reported deal stuck by Mr. Mukkaram Jah for sale of the King Koti palace. The prince was sentimentally attached to all the palaces and as far as he knew there was no such deal, Mr. Das remarked.

He said the prince, who was now in Turkey, was planning to spend more time in Hyderabad. During his forthcoming visit it was proposed to throw open to the public the sacred relics kept at Chowmahalla palace. The large number of 'Alams' - some of which are studded with gold - are opened only once a year during Moharram.

To a question, Mr. Das said the prince was unhappy with the scant regard by the civic authorities in resolving the long pending drainage problem at the Chowmahalla palace.

Source: Hindu.com