Chowmahalla Palace, Old City Pt.2
Tucked down a narrow lane just behind Charminar and the Mecca Masjid stands the Chowmahalla Palace's homely white gate. This modest entry, however, should not deceive the treasure-seeker: just behind its mundane enclosure is a palace of ancient brilliance and timeless beauty.
Once the permanent residence of Hyderabad's Nizam (the local rulers who held control of the city and its state before annexation by the Indian Republic in 1948), the palace now serves mostly as an attraction for tourists and locals alike; in fact, perhaps even more locals than travelers! But one look at its inspiring interior and there is little doubt as to why.
The main entrance opens onto a long promenade flanked by a pearly white colonnade and matched by a lush courtyard of white flowers and sparkling copper fountain. In contrast to many other such monuments in India, this one is impressively well maintained and actually makes use of its pools and fountain (though if you try and get too close watch out for the guard's whistle!)
Cruising further down the concrete walkway one encounters the main entrance hall, decked out in numerous crystal chandeliers, an ivory throne, and shimmering black and white marble floor. Several displays are situated in further rooms that branch off of this one, from the royal weaponry, to a museum documenting the history of the Nizams throughout their reign, their wives, and the elaborate dresses donned by them. Just outside and perched on the colonnade the retired palanquins of ancient use now rest.
Still, besides witnessing the splendor of the Nizam and his possessions, there is also the simple pleasure of just roaming the grounds themselves--maybe even bringing a picnic to enjoy beneath a cool shady tree! Either way, the Chowmahalla Palace is a glorious and peaceful respite from the active city and a stunning reminder of Hyderabad's rich cultural past. [more]