India has many palaces which were built by some of the great ancient rulers. The design and the features of these palaces are marvelous and even the modern buildings built with modern technology cannot compete with the beauty and charm of these palaces. These palaces still stand as symbols which represent the culture and skills of our ancestors. Chowmahalla is one such palace which remains as a masterpiece.
Chowmahalla Palace, were the rulers of the Hyderabad state (Nizams) lived, was under the flag of Asaf Jahi dynasty. All the major ceremonies during the reign of the Nizams were conducted in this palace. At present the palace is owned by a member of the Nizams lineage named as Barkat Ali Khan Mukkaram Jah. The Chowmahalla Palace is located at Hyderabad which is the capital of Telangana state.
The construction of this big palace was started in the year 1750 under the control of Salabt Jung the Nizam of Hyderabad state. It has got two courtyards; they are the northern and southern courtyard. Chowmahalla palace has got fountains, darbar hall known as the Grand Khilwat, and gardens. The palace of Shah of Iran which is located at Tehran is the main inspiration behind the design of the Chowmahalla Palace. In the early days this palace was located on a 45 acre land but now it has only 14 acres under it.
As said earlier the palace has southern and northern courtyards, which have many special features. There are four palaces in the southern courtyard and they are named as Afsal Mahal, Aftab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal, and Mahtab Mahal. The southern courtyard is the oldest portion of the palace were neo-classical style of construction can be seen. Now about the northern corridor, the Bara Imam is located in the northern corridor. Long corridor of rooms can be seen in the Bara Imam and once the administrative wing of the Hyderabad was situated here. Shishe-Alat (which means mirror image) is situated on the opposite side of the Bara Imam. The rooms in Shishe-Alat were used as guest rooms. Arches and domes resembling the Mughal style and some Persian elements were used in the Khilwat Mubarak in order to make it more attractive.
Khilwat Mubarak is the most important portion of the palace because it was the seat of Asaf Jahi dynasty emperors. Another importance is that the durbar hall was used for conducting religious discussions and ceremonies, and the royal seat was located in this durbar hall which was floored by marbles. There are many chandeliers in the hall, which were brought from Belgium, give the hall an attractive look. The Khilwat Clock which is above the gate of the Chowmahalla Palace makes it unique from other palaces. It was installed in its present position 250 years ago and it still works without any complaint. Since it is a mechanical clock, winding is required to be done and the member of a family of clock repairers does this job every week.
Now let us have a look at the Council Hall, a place where the Nizams conducted important meetings with officials. This place has a great importance because of the availability of many rare books and manuscripts. But now this area is used to exhibit the precious collections of the palace for the public. Next is the Roshan Bangla. Roshan Bangla was named so in memory of Roshan Begum who was the mother of the sixth Nizam who lived his life at this place.
The family of the Nizams restored the palace and had opened it for the public in the year 2005. On March 15 2010, the Chowmahalla Palace had won the Asia Pacific Merit Award presented by UNESCO for the conservation of cultural heritage.
These are some of specialties of the Chawmahalla Palace which one of the best palaces in India. Anyone planning to visit Hyderabad should include this spot as a must watch place since it gives a lot of information about the past.