Falaknuma Palace, one of the finest palaces in Hyderabad
, is situated on a hill 2,000 ft high. It is located 5 km south of
. Built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, the fifth Paigah
Emir, it was purchased by Nizam VI in 1897. Since then it was used as a royal guesthouse and now it is the property of Nawab Mukarramjah Bahadur, the grandson of Nizam VII.
The designs of the palace were handled by an Italian architect and its foundation was laid on March 3, 1884. The construction followed a western architectural style with Louis XIV-style decor that co-existed with a rich Mughal ambience. It took 9 years to complete. The palace boasts of one of the most lavishly decorated interiors. This exquisite palace is made of Italian marble.
Falaknuma Palace has often been referred to as the 'Mirror of the Sky'. It has a large collection of rare treasures collected by the Nizam that include paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The Jade collection of the Palace is considered extremely rare. It includes the largest Venetian chandeliers. It is said that it took six months to clean a 138-arm Osler chandelier and the palace has 40 such chandeliers adorning its halls.
The palace is laid out in the form of a scorpion with two claws spread out as wings on the north. The middle part is occupied by the main building and the kitchen and harem quarters stretch to the south. Italian marble staircases and ornate fountains are also found here. Its glass-stained windows throw a spectrum of colors into the rooms. The palace has a library with a carved walnut roof, a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library has one of the finest collections of the holy Qurans in India.