A walk in the clouds and Nizami grandeur at the Falaknuma Palace
Mirror of the Sky or the Faluknama sits grandly overlooking Hyderabad at 2000ft as a reflection of the beautiful moods of the sky. It belonged to the Paigah family and then later to the Nizam of Hyderabad. this palace was built by Nawab Sir Vikhar-ul-Umra - Prime Minister of Hyderabad and the uncle & brother-in-law of the sixth Nizam. It took nine years to build and furnish. Shaped like a scorpion,Sir Vikhars star sign , its two stings spread out as wings in the north. He used it as his private residence till he gave it to the 6 th Nizam of Hyderabad.
Built in a blend of Tudor and Italian architecture , it has 60 rooms and 22 halls on 32 acres.
The successor of the 6th Nizam, Mir Osman Ali did not spend much time at the palace but hosted many royal dignitaries like King Edward the Eighth, the Russian Czar Nicholas the second and India's first Prime Minister, Nehru.
Beautiful statues, paintings, books and artefacts from the Nizams collection are on display. The library at the palace will force you to pause to gaze at its rosewood and mahogany walls and walnut wood ceiling adorned with beautifully carved furniture holding 5900 old and rare books. Cataloguing these took 11 months. The oldest book appears to be the first edition of 'Account of the Life And Writings of William Roberts' by Dugal Stewart, a book first published in 1801.
The central reading table has arabesque designs with ‘VO’ monograms at the corners. Similar motifs are seen in the magnificent coffered ceiling above. It has a large collection of rare manuscripts and books from the Nizam’s repertoire.
* VO stand for Viqar Ul Umra who built the palace. The monogrammed ‘VO’ of H.E. Sir Viqar ul Oomra Bahadur is seen on the furniture, walls and ceiling of the palace.
The grandson of the 7th Nizam, Mukarram Jah struggled to maintain the palace and finally leased it to the Taj Group of Hotels. They took nearly 10 years to restore this palace to its glory.
Two identical billiards tables were designed by Burroughs and Watts from England. One of the tables is in the Buckingham Palace and the other in the palace's billiards room and has the worlds largest collection of Venetian Chandeliers.
A dining table of 108 ft, the longest in the world, built in 7 pieces, that can seat 101 guests adorns the beautiful dining room. Each room has a special feature, its floorings, ceilings all take a bit of time to marvel at. One can as a hotel guest sit in the famous jade room for tea and feel a bit like the Nizam himself.
It was the first palace in India to have an attached bathroom ,a single piece bathtub and a shower that sprays perfumes from separate nozzles.
Use of 3 D Art technique
The Balcony outside the Jade room from where one can see beautiful views as below
The main palace leads to a beautiful courtyard on the way to the restaurant 'Adaa' meaning "coquetry or a particular gesture", serving Hyderabadi cuisine. We had booked a tour of the Palace after our lunch. We especially chose the Indian restaurant Adaa to experience the delicacies of the royal kitchens of the Nizams.
Through the courtyard and to the beautiful restaurant Adaa
Masala Papad and sweet and savoury pickles
Bharwan Aloo Kairi ki Tikki
Soft Potato patties with chopped raw mango, stuffed with mango mourabba- raw mango chutney
Murgh Shikhanja Kebab
Fresh herb marinated chicken breast cooked in an iron press on an open char grill served with roasted pepper sauce... Shikhaja meaning a rack of chicken here.
Other Appetisers you can savour: Gosht or Lamb Marg - a lamb broth , Andhra Salmon Tikka ,Haleem , Zafrani Murgh tikka and Dahi ke kebab
Nellore Kodi Koora
Nellore region chicken curry flavoured with curry leaves and tamarind
One of the coastal areas of Andhra Pradhesh, Nellore has distinct flavours of tomato and tamarind.
Kali Daal and Dakhini Saag
Slow cooked Black lentils ,one of the best I have tasted ...and Puree of Spinach with Southern Indian tempering
Andhra Subz Pullao
Khubani ka Meetha , without the cream
Apricots made their way from Turkey. They Mughals left but the Apricots stayed and became the main ingredient to a very popular dessert which is cooked with sugar and cardamom. Usually, it is served with cream.
After a hearty and beautiful lunch and a wonderful tour of the palace, we gained memories of a royal treat ...amongst the blue skies and heavenly clouds.
Tip: Be sure to book before you go. Don't miss out on the palace tour
A special thank you to
1. Mr. Surinder Nagpal, at the Faluknama Palace
2. My foodie partner : my sister