Purani Haveli, or the Old Quarters, may perhaps be the more modest of Hyderabad’s many palaces. Certainly, when compared to the imposing sprawl of Golconda Fort or the extravagant grandeur of the Chowmahalla Palace Complex, it is easy to see why there are fewer mentions made of it in the more mainstream tours in the city. That having been said, this is still a place that many tourists should consider seeing, especially as it still hosted quite a few of the city’s historic figures and events, besides remaining one of its most beautiful old structures.
The structure was actually built to be the abode of the prime minister of Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah, Mir Momin. A little over a century later, however, in the 1700’s, the place was purchased from one of Mir Momin’s descendants, Rukn-ud-Daula, by none other than the second Nizam. The Nizam acquired it with the intention of having his heir, Sikandar Jah, use it as his residence during his reign. When the third Nizam did ascend to the throne, however, he decided not to stay in Purani Haveli and opted to relocate to Chowmahalla instead, thus giving rise to its name, which was also sometimes interchanged with Khadeem ki Haveli (the Old Palace). The succeeding rulers gave it a little more attention, however, even adding to the overall edifice, until the sixth Nizam occupied it, keeping it as his official home.
To this day, the influence of the sixth Nizam or Nawab Mir Mahbub Ali Khan Siddiqi as well as that of his successor, Mir Osman Ali Khan (the 7th and last Nizam) can be felt as well as seen in the Purani Haveli. It holds a great many of the latter Nizam’s remaining effects too, not least because it also happens to be the building holding The Nizam’s Museum, dedicated to artefacts that he owned. One of the biggest attractions of the site is actually not his but his predecessor’s, though: the enormous wardrobe of Nizam VI, which any modern woman would drool over. Spanning the entire length of one of the structure’s wings, the two-level wardrobe actually extends a full 1,000 feet.
The Purani Haveli is quite a curious sight, especially due to its design. The actual palace has a façade that is strongly influenced by European styles and arch designs in the 1700’s, yet the courtyard remains quite distinctively Indian in influence. The result is a fine juxtaposition of cultural and architectural influences that actually works quite well. Inside it, one can find not only the museum of the Nizam (which houses such sights as handmade filigree elephant models that were presented to the Nizam, as well as the Nizam’s pure marble bed), but also educational and training facilities for various groups and agencies. The site is well worth a visit, and although it has not undergone the same heavy renovations other palaces in the area have, there is still enough of its old grandeur to render it very appealing to the majesty-seeking eye.