British Residency


This palatial Palladian residence, built in 1803–06 by James Achilles Kirkpatrick, the British Resident (official East India Company representative) in Hyderabad, features in William Dalrymple's brilliant love story White Mughals. Work is ongoing to restore the building to its former glory, a project that will take many years to accomplish. There's no official access but Detours can usually gain entry for those booking one of its fascinating White Mughal tours.

Kirkpatrick became enchanted by Hyderabad courtly culture, converted to Islam and married Khair-un-Nissa, a teenage relative of the Hyderabad prime minister. The Residency and its extensive gardens became the Osmania University College for Women, known as Koti Women's College, in 1949. Beyond the grand classical portico is the Durbar Hall, with Islamic geometric designs on its high ceiling above the chandeliers and classical columns, and an elaborate curving staircase behind. In the overgrown gardens to the southwest you'll find a British cemetery, the surviving entrance to the Residency's zenana (women's quarters) and a model of the Residency building made by Kirkpatrick for Khair-un-Nissa.

Dalrymple visited the building in the late 1990s, when it was near-derelict. But after the publication of White Mughals brought attention to the Residency, an anonymous donor gave £1 million towards restoring the structure. Work finally began in 2013, directed by the World Monuments Fund and State of Telangana. The first phase of renovation was completed in 2017; the plan is to eventually convert the structure into a cultural centre.

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