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
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.