Literally meaning the mirror of the sky, Falak-numa is a palace built by the Prime Minister of Hyderabad, Amir e Paigah Sir Vicar Ul Umra, and later financed by the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad. Located about 5km from the famous Charminar, on a hillock, the beautifully crafted palace overlooks a huge portion of the city. This royal guest house, had several important guests, the last one being India’s first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad. The plan resembles a scorpion, and apparently stung the good fortune of the Nizam!
The palace boasts among many things, the 101 seater-dining table, a 3000 book library, my favorite, spectacular views, and a grand staircase. The many treasures of falaknuma in the form of paintings, wood-work, furniture are all splendid just as they all were some hundred odd years ago.
Today the palace is opened as a hotel, restored to its glory by Taj and a personal interest from the Nizami princess Ezra herself, and is an absolute delight, at least for those who love to lose themselves in vintage architecture, every once in a while.
After lunch at Adaa that comprised mainly of dahi kebabs, ‘baingan’, a very Hyderabadi thing and the amazing dessert of ‘Lab Lazeez’, something you musn’t miss, the strawberry ‘curry’ entices even a non-sweet toothed soul, we headed for a quick tour of the Palace. The Palace, I remembered faintly when we toured the place as a kid, when it wasn’t restored then, but there was hardly a major difference. The Taj group apparently retained most of it, and all the historical interiors are for use.
The Nizam really had great taste, for the much famed jewelry ofcourse, but traces of that fabled taste is visible even in the make and furnishings of the palace. The entrance is the grandest aspect, that comes after a quick drive through winding paths. The entrance holds basically the durbar room, the dance hall, the Nizam’s quarters, drawing rooms, the famous dining hall, dens, library, ladies gossip room and all else. All of which is preserved excessively well. Beyond this portion is a garden flanked by hotel rooms, ending at the windy portico, capturing breezes and flanked by two restaurants, Adaa, offering Hyderabadi fanfare and Celeste, offering Italian.
Behind one side of the hotel rooms is the grand suite, with its own swimming pool and the spa.
A quick tour with a Taj executive had him giving us some tidbits of information. The palace when being restored was painted a shade of grey to mirror the Monsoon clouds. Visiting the palace in the monsoons with a cloudy upper sphere really displays the intention thoroughly. Falaknuma in beautiful weather looks more stunning than ever, as does all of Hyderabad!