And finally, our last stop in India. I’m not sure whether Taj intended on saving the best ’til last, but Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad was certainly the most breathtaking stop on our journey.
With a name roughly translating to ‘mirror of the sky’, the building was started in 1884 by the then prime minister of Hyderabad, who designed the place to look like heaven. It was then passed on to the Nizam of Hyderabad, who loved the place so much he didn’t want to leave after staying there – I know the feeling!
The palace has been lovingly restored as a hotel since then, but only to resemble and retain it’s opulence and history. It’s all around you at Falaknuma. If you’re like me and enjoy poking your nose around National Trust properties, staying here is a dream! You’re able to wander the rooms and halls, filled full of the Nizam’s artefacts – his office, his library and more. It does an excellent job of transporting you back in time.
Once you’ve finished marvelling at the palace (they have one of two identical billiards tables – the other one residing at Buckingham Palace!) – of which I highly reccomend going on a tour – the hotel itself is a beautiful place to stay.
We arrived by horse and cart, followed by a flurry of pink petals falling from the sky as we made our way up the grand staircases (something they do for guests upon arrival and exit!). The first thing I was taken aback by was the view – Falaknuma sits above Hyderabad, with vistas of the entire city.
At Falaknuma we were treated to the famous Hyderabadi cuisine at their restaurant Adaa (think Biriyani!), as well as an extremely special dinner in the palaces dining hall, with a table to seat 101 guests. We were all pinching ourselves as we sat where the Nizam used to with his guests, tucking into curry (that still had me pouring yoghurt over the top despite it being ‘mild’ – even after a week I didn’t get used to the spice!)
It couldn’t be a better place to spend a few days when visiting Hyderabad – I’d never stayed anywhere surrounded by so much history.