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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Taj Falaknuma Palace: A lavish welcome that sets the bar high

You’re greeted with a horse-drawn chariot and showered with rose petals…

By Shilpa Rameja
Director of Sales and Marketing at Taj Falaknuma Palace

You won’t experience a royal welcome anywhere else quite like the one you receive at Taj Falaknuma Palace. A horse-drawn chariot meets you at the gate and carries you through gardens scattered with peacocks roaming the lawns. When you reach the palace, you’re showered in rose petals as you walk up the marble stairs.

The construction of this magnificent building started in the 1880s and was completed around 10 years later. When we took over, it took the same amount of time to restore! The exterior’s off-white shades were one of a number of requests made by Princess Esra who wanted the colours to match those of the sky. This proved to be tricky because every day the sky changed. Finally though after a couple of trials they got it down to the subtle chameleonic colour you see today. That’s how the palace got its name, ‘falak-numa’ meaning ‘mirror of the sky’.

Inside there are 60 grand rooms with some stunning city views, 22 halls and a library with 5,900 books including some fine first editions. The palace is decorated with high Venetian chandeliers, frescoes and antique furniture all of which you can investigate on one of our daily heritage tours guided by a historian. You’ll find Nizam-style banqueting in our traditional dining room, equipped with the longest dining table in the world seating 101 guests. The acoustics are designed in a way that a person at one end of the table can hear another person at the opposite end as clearly as if they were sitting next to each other. The swimming pool and Jiva spa are of course modern additions.

Adda, our fine dining restaurant, was named one of Elite Traveller’s top-rated restaurants for six years running. My favourite dish on the menu is pathar ka gosht, consisting of marinated meat cooked on stone, fare that was historically enjoyed by the royals on their hunting trips.

We can organise these amazing private dinners but one of our favourite, more intimate spots is on the Jade Terrace just off a room where the Nizam used to enjoy his afternoon tea. It opens up to the most incredible views, especially mesmerizing at night when you can see the entire city lit up. We’ve been known to arrange a proposal dinner or two there. Not to mention the weddings we’ve orchestrated – they’re the weddings dreams are made of.

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Alfred & Shilpa Rameja

Friends and colleagues at Taj often refer to Shilpa as ‘the queen of palace hotels’, a nickname that refers to her ardent passion for luxurious palaces. She has 14 years of experience in the hotel industry with experience spanning Taj’s three most iconic palaces and previous work at the Oberoi hotel group. She is a dynamic young woman, highly ambitious and a single parent of a 13-year-old son. When enjoying her free time, Shilpa travels, catches up with friends and listens to music to unwind