Hyderabad, the city of Nizams, houses the legendary place of Chowmahalla Palace, which till date exudes the same intrinsic splendour that it would have had in the 19th century. The Chowmahalla Palace, meaning 'four palaces’ was basically envisioned by Nizam Salabhat Jung who started its work in 1750, but the completion of the gorgeous structure was achieved between 1857 and 1869.
The seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, the palace was the official residence of the Nizams, which originally stretched over an area of 45 acres, from the Laad Bazaar on the north to the Aspan Chowk Road on the south. However, today the property has shrunk to only 12-14 acres of land.
Architecturally the complex is said to be a replica of the Shah’s Palace in Teheran, Iran and consists of two courtyards (Southern and Northern) with graceful palaces, the majestic Khilwat (the Durbar Hall), fountains and gardens. The majestic Southern courtyard, oldest part of the complex and currently under restoration, embraces four palaces known as Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Mahal, where Aftab Mahal enjoys the fame of being the grandest with a European smokescreen of Corinthian columns and a fortification without pediment. The Northern courtyard on the other hand, offers its audience a glimpse of the Bara Imam which is a long hallway of rooms that once housed the administrative department, and the Shishe-Alat, which once served as guest rooms for officials accompanying visiting dignitaries.
Khilwat Mubarak, another attraction of the Chowmahalla Palace is often termed as the heart of the palace. Having Persian influence in architecture and Mughal domes and arches, the place is still respected for being the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the grand pillared Durbar Hall has the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat known for being used by the Nizams when they organized their durbar and other sanctimonious ceremonies. Recently, 19 spectacular Chandeliers of Belgian crystal were even reinstalled to recreate the lost magnificence of this regal hall. Some other masterpieces in this multifaceted structure include the Clock Tower, the Council Hall, and the Roshan Bangla, which have their independent significance.