Chowmahalla Palace an epitome of the glory and luxury that the nizams lived in, is a palace of the Nizams of Hyderabad. It was the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad while they ruled their state. The palace remains the property of Barkat Ali Khan Mukarram Jah, heir of the Nizams.
Built over 200 years ago, Chowmahalla is renowned for its unique style and elegance. A synthesis of many architectural styles and influences, the Palace Complex has been meticulously restored. In Persian, Chahar means four and in Arabic Mahalat (plural of Mahal) means palaces, hence the name Chowmahallat/four palaces. While Salabat Jung initiated its construction in 1750, it was completed by the period of Afzal ad-Dawlah, Asaf Jah V, the V Nizam ensured its completion between 1857 and 1869. It is believed to be modelled on Shah of Iran's palace in Tehran which was built by Juveria khan Rahimullah.
The palace is unique for its style and elegance. Building of the palace began in the late 18th century and over the decades a synthesis of many architectural styles and influences emerged. This palace consists of two courtyards, southern courtyard and northern courtyard. They have elegant palaces, the grand Khilwat (the Dharbar Hall), fountains and gardens.
It has Mughal domes and arches and many Persian elements like the ornate stucco work that adorn the Khilwat Mubarak. These were characteristic of buildings built in Hyderabad at the time. Opposite to the Bara Imam is a building that is its shishe or mirror image. The rooms were once used as guest rooms for officials accompanying visiting dignitaries.
The grand pillared Durbar Hall has a pure marble platform on which the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. Here the Nizams held their durbar and other religious and symbolic ceremonies. The 19 spectacular Chandeliers of Belgian crystal recently reinstalled to recreate the lost splendor of this regal hall.
The clock above the main gate to Chowmahalla Palace is affectionately called as Khilwat Clock. It has been ticking away for around 250 years. An expert family of clock repairers winds the mechanical clock every week. This building housed a rare collection of manuscripts and priceless books. The Nizam often met important officials and dignitaries here. Today it is venue for temporary exhibitions from the treasures of the Chowmahalla Palace Collection that of a bygone era. It also houses a vintage car museum.
Overall it is an architectural marvel with elaborate and ornately decorated features throughout its vast grounds.