Chowmahalla Palace

Top choice in Hyderabad

This opulent 18th- and 19th-century palace compound, the main residence of several nizams, comprises several grandiose buildings and four garden courtyards. Most dazzling is the Khilwat Mubarak, a magnificent durbar (royal court) hall where nizams held ceremonies under 19 enormous chandeliers of Belgian crystal. Its side rooms today house historical exhibits, arts and crafts, and exhibits of nizams' personal possessions. In the southernmost courtyard is a priceless collection of carriages and vintage cars including a 1911 yellow Rolls-Royce and 1937 Buick convertible.

Highlights in the terrific collection include some exquisite hand-written Qurans, royal wedding outfits embellished with gold and silver thread, and photographs from the Nizam era.

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