Mirror to the sky: All about the Falaknuma Palace, playing regal host to Ivanka Trump

Falaknuma Palace
The Nizam’s suite, booked for Ivanka Trump, is the costliest suite in the palace. It is available to guests at a whopping Rs 5-8 lakh per night.
Taj Falaknuma Palace/Facebook
On her first visit to Hyderabad, First Daughter of the USA Ivanka Trump is being given a royal welcome by the Telangana and Indian governments.
As the highlight of her visit, the Taj Falaknuma Palace, the palace of the former rulers of Hyderabad, will play host to a grand dinner for Ivanka and the other delegates of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, 2017.
In choosing the venue for the official dinner hosted by Prime Minister Modi on Ivanka’s first evening in Hyderabad, there was no better choice in Hyderabad, as Falaknuma is the grandest of the many palaces dotting the city of Hyderabad.  
Read on to know more about the elegant palace:

It was Nawab Viqar-ul-Umra, the Nizam’s prime minister, who built the Falaknuma palace in 1893. Impressed by its magnificence, the sixth Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan bought it for himself.

Falaknuma (which means ‘Mirror of the Sky’ in Urdu) was where the sixth Nizam lived until his death in 1911.

Built over 32 acres, the scorpion-shaped, all-marble palace stands tall in its splendour and majesty atop a hill, at 2,000 ft above sea level and overlooks the old city of Hyderabad.

A majestic blend of Italian and Tudor architecture, it has 60 lavish rooms and halls including Durbar Hall, embellished with intricately carved wooden ceilings, parquet flooring, regal walnut wood furniture and handcrafted mirrors.

Under royal rule, the Falaknuma Palace saw a number of distinguished foreign dignitaries, including Czar Nicholas II (then the heir to the Russian throne), King George V and Queen Mary, as well as royalty from various parts of the world.

The last state guest the Falaknuma housed was in 1951, after which the palace was sparsely used. When Mukarram Jah, the titular Nizam, found it difficult to maintain and was in financial trouble, he leased it out to the Taj Group in 2000.

The Palace was painstakingly renovated for a period of ten years, under the guidance of Princess Esra Jah, the wife of Nizam Mukkaram Jah, to ensure that as much of the Palace’s original grandeur as possible was preserved.

Until the Taj Group took it over, the Falaknuma Palace was shut off to the public. It was opened again in 2010 after the renovations were completed.

One of the grandest elements of the palace is the 101 Dining Hall, where the official dinner for Ivanka will take place. The dining hall is claimed to have the longest dining table in the world. Reports say the table is 108 feet long, and simultaneously seat 101 guests. The hall was where the sixth Nizam, Mehboob Ali Khan, is said to have entertained his guests.

The interiors of the palace are a splendid interplay of Venetian chandeliers and intricate frescos, and have charming outdoor terraces, and a treasure of rare artefacts, including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books.

The palace library holds 5,900 books, and has a ceiling made of teak and rosewood. It is said to be a replica of the one at Windsor Castle, the royal residence in Berkshire.

The Nizam’s suite, which has been booked for Ivanka, is the costliest suite at the Falaknuma Palace, now available to guests at a whopping cost of Rs 5-8 lakh per night depending on the time of the year.

With IANS inputs

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