If you want to integrate the best of old and new into your holiday, you couldn’t do better than living like a nizam in an ancestral palace, with forays into the bustling, modern city that Hyderabad (India) has evolved into over a span of 400 years.

The Falaknuma (Mirror of the Heavens) Palace, built in 1894, was the residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Spread over a sprawling 34 acres, the palace is testimony to the opulent lifestyle of its owners, but now, you can partake of its magnificence and feel like a king for a day, or more (budget allowing).

The palace was refurbished by Princess Esra, the Turkish wife of the last Nizam, and acquired in 2000 by Taj Hotels. It now functions as a former royal residence open to the public, as well as a five-star hotel.

Within a stone’s throw of Hyderabad airport, Falaknuma sits 2000 feet above the city, so you can imagine the spectacular view from the 60 rooms and suites, and the many open spaces it houses. Afternoon tea on the Jade Terrace is a hot favorite with guests.

Before the era of the Sultan of Brunei, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, the Nizam of Hyderabad was rumored to be the world’s richest man, a rumor easy to believe once you step inside his home.

The jaw-droppingly beautiful interiors of the palace will leave you awestruck. The polished parquet floors, frescoed ceilings, the carved rosewood dining table that seats 101, the Venetian chandeliers, a billiard table that has an identical twin residing in Buckingham Palace, and of course, the grand staircase, are just some of the treasures nestling inside, which make a tour of it thoroughly worth doing.

Falaknuma was named one of the top destination wedding venues by TripAdvisor, a tip picked up by Salman Khan, who hosted his sister Arpita’s wedding there; and if a place gets the approval of Bhaijaan you can bet it’ll get the nod from millions around the world.

Image credits: indiatvnews.com