Chowmahalla Palace or Chowmahallat, in Hyderabad, state capital of Andhra Pradesh, was a palace belonging to the Nizams of Hyderabad state. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizam.
In Urdu, Chow means four and Mahalat (plural of Mahel) means palaces, hence the name Chowmahallat/four palaces.
All ceremonial functions including the accession of the Nizams and receptions for the Governor-General were held at this palace.
The palace’s construction was mainly credited to Nizam Salabat Jang in 1790. However, it wasn’t until the rule of the fifth Nizam, Afzar-ud-Daulah, Asaf Jav V, that the complex was finally finished, the Nizam having ensured its completion between 1857 to 1869. It originally covered 45 acres, extending from the Laad Bazaar on the north to the Aspan Chowk Road on the south. However, today, only 12 acres remain.
The prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific Merit award for cultural heritage conservation was presented to Chowmahalla Palace on March 15 2010. UNESCO representative Takahiko Makino formally handed over the plaque and certificate to Princess Esra, former wife and GPA holder of Prince Mukarram Jah Bahadur.
While Salabat Jung initiated its construction in 1750, it was completed by the period of Afzal ad-Dawlah, Asaf Jah V, the V Nizam ensured its completion between 1857 and 1869.
It is believed to be modelled on Shah of Iran's palace in Tehran.
If something has the distinction of being the center of a rich, historically established city, then chances are high that that something is breathtaking and grand. Such is the case of the magnificent Chowmahalla Palace, the former seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and where the Nizams used to entertain their royal visitors and high-ranking guests. Built more than 200 years ago, in the 18th century, the Chowmahalla Palace has long been known for its unique style and elegance.
The palace is unique for its style and elegance. Building of the palace began in the late 18th century and over the decades a synthesis of many architectural styles and influences emerged.
This palace consists of two courtyards, southern courtyard and northern courtyard. They have elegant palaces, the grand Khilwat (the Durbar Hall), fountains and gardens.
The palace originally covered 45 acres , but only 14 acres remain today.
This is the oldest part of the palace, and has four palaces Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal.
It was built in the neo-classical style
This part has Bara Imam, A long corridor of rooms on the east side face the central fountain and pool that, once housed the administrative wing. and Shishe-Alat meaning mirror image.
It has Mughal domes and arches and many Persian elements like the ornate stucco work that adorn the Khilwat Mubarak. These were characteristic of buildings built in Hyderabad at the time.
Opposite to the Bara Imam is a building that is its shishe or mirror image. The rooms were once the used as guest rooms for officials accompanying visiting dignitaries.
A long corridor of rooms on the east side face the central fountain and pool that, once housed the administrative wing.
This is heart of Chowmahalla Palace. It is held in high esteem by the people of Hyderabad, as it was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty. The grand pillared Durbar Hall has a pure marble platform on which the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. Here the Nizams held their durbar and other religious and symbolic ceremonies. The 19 spectacular Chandeliers of Belgian crystal recently reinstalled to recreate the lost splendor of this regal hall.
The clock above the main gate to Chowmahalla Palace is affectionately called as Khilwat Clock. It has been ticking away for around 250 years. An expert family of clock repairers winds the mechanical clock every week.
This building housed a rare collection of manuscripts and priceless books. The Nizam often met important officials and dignitaries here.Today it is venue for temporary exhibitions from the treasures of the Chowmahalla Palace Collection that of a bygone era.
The sixth Nizam is believed to have lived here and the building was named after his mother Roshan Begum.
The present Nizam (Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, Pretender) and his family decided to restore the Chowmahalla Palace and open it to the public in January 2005. It took over 5 years to document and restore the palaces of the first courtyard to its former glory.
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