It is cliché to use expressions such as “Heaven on Earth” or “It’s not a hotel but an experience” when describing the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. All are true. For lack of knowledge of any Indian literature describing the place, I rely on an old French favorite poet of mine, Baudelaire, though it has nothing to do with India.Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.Des meubles luisants, Polis par les ans,
Décoreraient notre chambre;Les plus rares fleurs Mêlant leurs odeurs
Aux vagues senteurs de l’ambre,Les riches plafonds,
Les miroirs profonds,
La splendeur orientale,Tout y parlerait À l’âme en secret Sa douce langue natale. Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté.
Charles Baudelaire, L’invitation au voyage (exerpt)
There are thousands of beautiful pictures of the Palace that you can find online. The hospitality is such that we felt at home there, and most people don’t snap pictures of their homes. Don’t get me wrong, we do not live in anything comparable to this. No Christofle silverware at home, no European trained chef, no turn down service, no pool attendant with drinks, sunscreen and towels, no marble or library full of first editions. No Chotha the baby monkey either, the kittens probably wouldn’t like him! The photos I am posting here reflect the atmosphere of calm and serenity. We were guests of the Nizam, whom we expected would show up at any time, from behind a marble column, greeting us with a friendly: “Here you are, it’s so nice to see you again”. Well, not really!
Next time, maybe.