Hyderabad, India where the richest man on earth once lived
the richest man in the world
If his fortune were valued today, he’d be worth $208 billion dollars. Yes, His Exalted Highness, the last Nizam of Hyderabad was the richest man in the 1940s, his fortune estimated at that time at $2 billion. He ruled Hyderabad between 1911 and 1948 until the Indian Government finally took it over.
What a glorious history this princely region was, and what a wacky ruler. The wealth was just ridiculous, dripping, if you will. Just take a look at the 60-car garage full of Rolls Royce cars at the Chowmahalla palace complex where the Nizam used to hide his boulder sized diamonds.
Descended from the caliphate of Islam, the seventh nizam (the current nizam’s grandfather) made his fortune from the vast stores of minerals and diamonds in the region—and the tributes paid by people who requested an audience with him. One of the more compelling, and possibly apocryphal, stories was that the jewels—and hundreds of millions of rupees—were kept unattended and unlocked in the basements of the Chowmahalla palace. The cash was hidden in newspapers. When at last the storerooms were opened, it was discovered that rats had nibbled their way through $30 million or so.
Once the finest royal residence in the country, this palace in the old city was a derelict Xanadu for decades. Now Hyderabad’s elite come once again after the Taj hotel company has taken it over and turned it into the Taj Falaknuma Palace.
Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel
The more than decade-long Taj hotel renovation project was the dream of the nizam’s former wife, Turkish socialite Princess Esra. Apparently, while he hung out on his farm in Australia, she oversaw every detail.
One of the reasons why this city has become such a hot spot is the airport. For most Indians, Hyderabad Airport is the finest in the nation.Flights to Hyderabad, especially Bangalore to Hyderabad are super popular because of the ease of the airport and the fact that Hyderabad is becoming a major economic hub. The airport is easy to get in and out of, there are lots of check in desks, it’s very well lighted with high ceilings that give the airport a very large, cool, feel to it. It’s spotless and extremely well-maintained.
Google’s India headquarters is in what’s known as Cyberabad, just a short drive away. Microsoft, Oracle, Infosys, and Dell are also here, and Facebook chose the city for its first office in India. Communications guru Suhel Seth always comes to test-market his campaigns in hitec (Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consulting) City, Cyberabad’s official name.
It ‘s also got a Bollywood of its own, and a billionaire recluse who owns it. Yep, Ramoji Film City, the largest movie making facility in the world, a good hour from town. Tollywood is almost as huge a movie industry as Bollywood, yet the films and TV shows it cranks out each year are rarely shown outside the state. Owned by the reclusive billionaire, Ramoji Rao, who is South India’s Rupert Murdoch and controls the largest Telugu newspaper and all the screens—television and film.
At night, all the techies and the movie stars hit the Park, Hyderabad, a new hotel with a pool scene that’ll make you feel like you’re in Vegas.
The Park Hotel Pool
While there is no doubt that technology and film is where the Indians are making their money these days, and Hyderabad is thriving because of it, what makes this city so special is its past. H.E.H. the Nizam’s Museum, the home of the sixth nizam, who ruled from 1869 to 1911.
The royal ruler had multiple palaces, hundreds of acres, 200 wives, 14,000 legal dependents, and a kingdom half the size of France supported in part by the diamonds that came from the nearby Golconda reserve.
his turban jewelry
He donated a squad of fighter planes to the war effort during World War I, for which a grateful England gave him the title His Exalted Highness. But as he grew older, the nizam grew ever fearful that his treasures—emeralds and rubies and parrots made of enormous Golconda diamonds wold be stolen. And, of course, they were. Scheming financial advisers plundered most of the estate and then the Indian government took the rest.
The family has been locked in a legal battle ever since.
To get an idea of just how old, how mighty this state was, visit the Golconda Fort, you’ll go through a dusty warren of streets and arrive at the massive ramparts and stone walls. In the 17th century, the citadel was able to stave off the Moghul armies for months. The fort towers over a granite hill and is protected by massive gates with iron spikes to obstruct war elephants.
rare Golconda diamond
He probably once juggled with diamonds like these, what a life.
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