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View of one of the pillars from the first floor.

(Photo Courtesy: Kathakali Das Bhaumik)

In Pics: 140-Yr-Old Palace Lies in Ruins, in Hyderabad’s Old City

The palace, known as Khursheed Jah Baradari, can still be restored if it gets its due attention from the government.

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The usual tourist route while visiting Hyderabad borders around Salar Jung Museum, Charminar, Chowmahalla Palace, Golkonda Fort, Qutb Shahi Tombs, Makkah Masjid et al. (And of course no one forgets haleem and the biriyani.)

But Hyderabad, like any other ancient city, is a repository of long forgotten places or architecture which were once an epitome of historic significance, but now lie unnoticed and unseen.

Founded in 1591, the city is a haven of historical architecture – especially considering the legacy of its rulers. On my very first visit, I was keen on finding one such architectural specimen built between 1880-90 by the Paigha nobles somewhere in the Old City of Hyderabad.

Our very courteous and helpful local guide – who was also driving us in his auto-rickshaw – couldn't remember any place by the name of Khursheed Jah Baradari.

It took him some 15 minutes to find out by asking around.

Once he realised where it was, he said, “Now I remember the place. A foreign tourist asked me to drop him here a few years back and spent an entire day taking notes of the interiors of the palace. I had to keep him company since the neighbourhood kids were making a bee-line to see a white man roaming around inside this dilapidated building. But no one visits this place now. Everyone prefers to go to the nearby car museum instead.”

I had to assure him that I wouldn’t take that long and that sunset, in any case, was only an hour or two away.

The residence of Paigah noble Khursheed Jah Bahadur in Hussaini Alam is a two-storey mansion with exquisite European architecture. As you enter the mansion – which is also known as a devdi or a lord’s house – you get a sense of its long lost glory.

Khursheed Jah Bahadur, incidentally, is the maternal grandson of the third Nizam of Hyderabad.

Once adorned with chandeliers, expensive carpets, colourful floor patterns and a blossoming garden at the front with a fountain, it now stands forlorn.

There are eight giant pillars at the entrance. While the interiors are in a pitiful condition, the staircase leading to the first floor looks fragile at first glance.

But your apprehension fades away once you step inside.

The mystic glow that filters in through the stained glass windows almost eclipses the sight of bird feathers and shards of broken glass scattered all over the floor. Almost, that is.

As I stood there, in the midst of the debris, I could hear the cheering voices of kids playing cricket outside in the once royal garden of Paigah Khursheed Jah Bahadur.

The palace can still be restored if it gets its due attention from the government. For its architectural grandeur alone, it holds the potential to become one of the sought after heritage spots of Hyderabad.

(The writer is a Bengaluru-based blogger and is a former reporter, Times Of India.)

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