Hyderabad is a city with a history that reads like a love story and a past that sounds like a fairy tale. The rule of the Nizams fill pages and pages of this history with a legendary patronage of arts, architecture and science.
Testimony to this sensitivity are the many exquisite monuments of Hyderabad.One monument that in its intrinsic grandeur still exudes the power of yore is the Chowmahalla Palace. (Chow means four. And Mahal means Palace. Chow-Mahalla therefore means four palaces).
While Nizam Salabhat Jung is credited with initiating the construction of the palace complex in 1750, it was Nizam Afzar-ud-Dawla Bahadur who ensured that it was completed between 1857 and 1869.Extending from the Laad Bazaar on the north to the Aspan Chowk Road on the south, the palace originally covered 45 acres but regretably only 12 acres remain.
Southern Courtyard : A The oldest part of the complex currently under restoration, comprises of the four palaces Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal and Aftab Malala Of these the Aftab Mahal is the grandest of them all and is a two storied building with a European facade of Corinthian columns and a parapet without pediment.
Northern Courtyard : The northern courtyard has been painstakingly restored and is now open to the public.The highlights of this area are the Bara Imam – a long corridor of rooms on the east side that once housed the administrative wing. And the Shishe-Alat or quite literally, the shishe or mirror image which was once used as guest rooms for officials accompanying visiting dignitaries.