Chowmahalla Palace Hyderabad India

It took me a few minutes to recover after entering the Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, India. I have a bit of a love affair with sparkly, glass objet d’art, and the fixtures inside this Heritage Site were enough to give anyone chandelier envy. Built by the Nizams, and completed by 1869, the Chowmahalla Palace was home to the Asaf Jahi dynasty and is a synthesis of many architectural styles and influences. Today, it houses one of the most over the top collections of Belgian crystal chandeliers I have ever laid eyes on!

Although the chandeliers are rarely turned on, the sunlight streaming through the expansive windows was more than enough to make them one of the most dramatic features of the palace.

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Coupled with the white marble floors, the room presents a stunning picture of royalty and the culture during that time.

Belgian crystal chandelier Chowmahalla Palace

Fairy tale scenery from Cinderella comes to mind. The Nizams were legendary for their patronage to the arts and science. The elegant rooms contain hundreds of exhibits, costumes and photographs, rare manuscripts and priceless books-all shedding light on a time of extravagance of a bygone era. In one of the outbuildings, visitors can be served pre-arranged high tea. It’s a rather odd experience: elegant, sophisticated, and dusty all at the same time, but very Indian in nature, and not to be missed.

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I got a bit dizzy taking this photo between the complex ceiling design and sparkle of the chandelier, it was hard to keep my balance looking up.

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Be still my heart…I’ve saved the best for last, clearly my piece de resistance was this beauty!

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Photo credits: Bottom-Chowmahalla Palace by Evstaquio Santimano, All other photos by Alison Abbott.

Visit the Palace 10am-5pm. Closed on Fridays. Cameras are allowed, fee must be paid.

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  1. Wow, those are stunning. I’m also drawn to looking at amazing light fixtures like crystal and these are spectacular within a glorious space!

  2. What a fabulous place! I adore India from exploring the magnificanet templs, forts and palaces to the hustleand bustle of the city streets.
    I had a chandelier (from B&Q ) when I bought my flat in the living room. It’s now in the attic but I wander if I could paint it a bit like the last one you’ve shown? Now there’s a thought!

    • I’m with you Kat. I wish I could get there once a year!There are a lot of paints on the market now that can be used on glass. I think your idea is great-send me a photo of your creation!

    • The palace is now a museum filled with ephemera, costumes, furniture and photos Paul.There is even a collection of old cars. I think they left the room bare to experience it like it must have been in the day. There is plenty to see in the other areas.

  3. This is the one place we didn’t have time to visit while we were in Hyderabad. It’s such a pity because it looks absolutely gorgeous! One of the local historians told us that they once found a cupboard filled with gold coins in an underground passage from the palace! Wow.

  4. I admit to having had ambivalent feelings about visiting India, but thanks to posts like this, I’m starting to lean towards making it a place I should go and see for myself—realizing, of course, that it is impossible to “see India”. Your beautiful photos are worth a 1000 words here.

    • Suzanne, There’s no middle ground with India, but how will you know unless you visit. It is my most favorite place on earth! I’m glad you liked the photos, it was hard to get a bad shot of all that sparkly beauty.