This weekend was also quite interesting.  I had a lunch at the farm with few friends and family, and an exquisite dinner in a palace.  I was invited to Farm Lunch by the team that run runs “Nirvana” on the eve of early celebrations of Sankranti.  This festive day in Nirvana was an opportunity to meet individuals devoted to understand this way of life, led by people in ancient India vis-a-vis economics, philosophy, culture, heritage and science. They had add arranged for display of traditional folk arts like Gangireddhulu, Haridasulu, Sodhemmalu, and various dance forms besides mouthwatering grandma millet feast based lunch buffer.

In the evening, me and my sister hosted our parents for long pending dinner at the most exquisite place in town ‘Taj Falaknuma Palace”.  Few pics are on this weekend blog. BTW, Taj Falalnuma was rated as Top 10 Palace Hotels in the World 2014 by Trip Adivsor and Voted as Top 20 Places in the World to visit in 2011 by The New York Times. So it’s definitely a place worth visiting, given that it is right in the town (though it will lighten the wallet a bit)

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Traditional OX Dance

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Decoration of the pond

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Farm House

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Village Transport

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Bommalla Koluvu

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Farm Produce

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Me & Radhika

Later in the event, Me and My sister hosted our parents at Taj Falaknuma place.  Scroll to end of the blog to see WikI Trivia on the palace.

Verdict on the visit:  Ambience is awesome.  Food is pretty decent. Service level is just about OK.  Views from palace is too cool.  Palace is pretty lavish and slick, though its built over 100 years ago.  Reminded me of visit to Louvre in Paris. Cheapest room to stay is about 45K, and most expensive is about 200K (both in INR). I guess it is surely cool place to stay, if someone else is paying 🙂

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Facade for Adda & Celeste Restaurants in the palace

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Entrance Promenade

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Young NRIs – Revanth, Aniketh, Rahul, and Aniketh

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Outer Periphery / Entrance to the Palace

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My Gang

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Dad and Mom

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With Sister’s Family

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Sampath & Padma with Rahul and Rohit

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Outside Jade Hall

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View from Front Balcony

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Tees Maar Khan

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Adda Restaurant in the place

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View from Adaa Restaurant’s Balcony

Interesting Trivia from Wiki:

Falaknuma Palace is one of the finest palaces to visit in Hyderabad . It is on a 32-acre (13 ha) area in Falaknuma, 5 km from Charminar. It was built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, prime minister of Hyderabad (which operated a like country at one time.  Falak-numa means “Like the Sky” or “Mirror of the Sky” in Urdu.

An English architect designed this palace. The foundation for the construction was laid by Sir Vicar on March 3, 1884. took nine years to complete the construction and furnish the palace. The palace was built in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings in the north. The middle part is occupied by the main building and the kitchen, Gol Bangla, Zenana Mehal, and harem quarters stretch to the south. The Nawab was an avid traveler, and his influences show in the architecture. The Falaknuma palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. Its stained glass windows throw a spectrum of colour into the rooms.

One of the highlights of the palace is the state reception room, where the ceiling is decorated with frescoes and gilded reliefs. The ballroom contains a two-ton manually operated organ said to be the only one of its kind in the world. The palace has 60 lavishly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls. It has some of the finest collections of the Nizam treasure. Falaknuma houses a large collection of rare treasures including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts and books. The jade collection at the palace is considered to be unique in the world.

The famed dining hall can seat 100 guests at its table. The chairs are made of carved rosewood with green leather upholstery. The tableware was made of gold and crystal to which fluted music was added. The length of the table is 108 feet, and breadth is 5.7 feet and height is 2.7 feet. The palace has a library with a carved walnut roof: a replica of the one at Windsor Castle. The library had one of the finest collections of the Quran in India. The ground floor of the palace housed the living quarters. A marbled staircase leads to the upper floor. It has carved balustrades, which supports marble figurines with candelabra at intervals. There is a billiards room. Burroughs and Watts from England designed two identical tables, one of which is in Buckingham Palace and the other in the Falaknuma palace.

On the walls of the landing are many oil paintings and photographs of notable personages. The Falaknuma Palace also has the largest collection of Venetian chandeliers, with 40 138-arm Osler chandeliers in the halls. The telephone and electrical system was introduced in 1883 by Osler and the palace has one of the largest electrical switchboards in India. The palace was the private property of the Nizam family, and not normally open to the public, until 2000.

Recent Ratings / Awards for the Palace

** Top 10 Palace Hotels in the World 2014 – TripAdvisor

** Voted among the Top five hotels in Asia by the Conde Nast Traveller – Reader’s Travel Awards 2014

** Trip Advisor Readers Choice Awards 2014 voted Taj Falaknuma Palace as among the list of Top hotels, Top Luxury hotels and also in the category of Top Romantic Hotels

** Bestowed with the Gold E award of Excellence and recognized as World’s Best Hotel (2014)

** voted as the Favourite Indian Heritage Hotel in India by Outlook Traveller Readers, 2013

** Winner of the Trip Advisor Traveler’s choice 2013 for  being one of  best hotel among the Top 25 hotels in India.

** Winner of the‘Grand Prize as the Best Hotel of the Year’ in Andrew Harper Grand Awards 2013

** Voted as the ‘Best Lifestyle Hotel/ Resort of the Year’  for the prestigious NDTV Good Times Life Style Awards 2013.

** Voted as the Asia’s Number 1 Hotel and Best of Best’ Top 5 hotels across the World in Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader’s Travel Awards – 2012, and as a runner’s up Best Overseas Holiday Hotel in Asia, and as among the Top 40 hotels in the World in Conde Nast Traveller’s Reader’s Travel Awards – 2012

** Voted as Top 20 Places in the World to visit in 2011 by The New York Times

** Best of Best Hotels 2011 by Robb Report

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