Telangana Treasures: How We Lost Our Grand Palace

When it was merged with Andhra state in 1956, Telangana region had inherited various forms of valuable assets – from precious jewelry to large swathes of land – from erstwhile Hyderabad state.

It can be safely said that no other state in this country had that kind of assets. It should be reminded here that the Time Magazine had revealed that the Nizam of Hyderabad was the World’s Richest Man in 1937. The magazine even ran a Cover Story on the Nizam of Hyderabad.

The Andhra Pradesh government has shamelessly sold/liquidated a large portion of the assets inherited from erstwhile Hyderabad state and has shown criminal neglect towards other assets which are tangled in disputes.

Image: Nizam on the coverpage of Time Magazine

Unfortunately, many youngsters think only about the famous Hyderabadi Biryani take away when we say ‘Hyderabad House’. Not many people know that it is the name of the largest and the grandest of all the Palaces in Delhi. This is the name of the magnificent Palace of Nizam of Hyderabad located in the heart of national capital city.

Today, this majestic palace serves as a proud location for hosting banquets for eminent foreign dignitaries such as Barack Obama and Nicholas Sarkozy.

In 1919, the British had inducted Nizam into the Chamber of Princes. This rare gesture was extended only to the most important kings of Indian states. The Nizam of Hyderabad had to come to Delhi to attend the Chambers meetings and hence he needed a residence there.

This Palace was designed in 1926 by eminent architect Edwin Lutyens. It was constructed by Hyderabad Construction Company owned by Khan Bahadur Abdul Karim Babukhan.

Hyderabad House was built in the shape of a butterfly – a plan that the architect of this building Edward Lutyens had first used for Papillon Hall in Leicestershire in 1903.

It was the largest and most expensive palace at that time. This palace architecture is a fusion of the Mughal and European styles of architecture. Its construction cost is estimated at a whopping £200, 000. It has 36 rooms, four of which have now been converted into dining halls.

The main architectural attraction of Hyderabad House is a dome with an entrance hall beneath which symmetrical wings radiate at an angle of fifty-five degrees. Its round arches are flanked by rectangular openings to the height of the impost. These arches were inspired by the Pantheon in Rome.

After India got independence, the central government unilaterally took over Hyderabad House and promised that it would compensate the Andhra Pradesh government. For reasons best known to it, our state government did not object to this take over.

In exchange for the magnificent building spread over 8.77 acres, the AP state government was compensated with just 1.22 acres on Jaswant Singh road.

This issue stands as a naked example of how AP state government squandered away precious assets that should rightfully belong to Telangana and erstwhile Hyderabad state.



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