History of Old Paigah Palaces or Devdis
There are many other historically important, yet unheard palaces in the city called the Old Paigah Palaces, dotting the lane close to Chowmahalla. They are rarely heard about but are the jewels of Indo European architecture in the city.
The Old Paigah Palaces or Devdis as they are commonly called, are surrounded by new concrete structures raised by the residents of the locality in recent years, hiding them completely. Amused residents also find the idea of someone coming looking for the palaces amusing, mainly because they don't consider these palaces to be of any significance.
These are three palaces built by Khursheed Jha, Iqbal-ud-Daula and Asmanjah, Paigah nobles in Khilwat, a locality opposite Chowmahalla. The three palaces are located in a narrow street which was called Amir-e-Kabeer during the time of the Nizam. And they were second only to the palaces of the Nizam in their magnificence, when newly built.
The Old Paigah palaces were built in the 19th century and most of the Paigah nobles, who served the Nizam stayed here.
Since the then Nizam was living in Chowmahalla during that time, the Paigahs who were close to him, both politically and through marriage, stayed near him too. In that sense it was logical for these nobles to build palaces close to the Nizam's abode.
Baradari Nawab Khursheed Jah Bahadur Devdi
Another most beautiful Devdi is the Baradari Nawab Khursheed Jah Bahadur palace, whose huge columns reflect the European style of architecture. The symmetrical structure has eight columns at the front and a multi-colored floor pattern, with beautiful patterns on the top of the columns.
According to historians, this was built during the years 1880-90. Spread across several acres, the compound now houses Hussaini Alam Government Girls College and a playground named after the late leader Sultan Salauddin Owaisi.
According to locals, this palace is sometimes let out for shoots. Recently one of the film crews had painted these massive columns with cheap green color and after the shooting covered it with some white material that can be seen peeling out now.
The Devdi of Iqbal-ud-Daula also has European influences along with some aspects of Indian architecture. For instance, the Hindu shell and wheel (shankha-chakra) combination can be seen engraved at the top. The palace, which appears much older than the others, has been under neglect for the past several decades. It once housed a government school and after its evacuation, there came slum dwellers who occupied different portions of this palace.
Built in the same century is the Asman Jah palace by Sir Asman Jah Bahadur, the Law Minister under the Nizam. This palace has been hit hardest by the ravages of time .
The two storied entrance features Greek Corinthian pillars and a bright glowing sun as the emblem instead of a crescent and star. Only the facade is standing now, while the rest of the building is in ruins.
A visit to this place gives a mixed experience. You can see old, forgotten buildings telling a story of magnificent times but now lying down in the dumps. But all in all, it gives the impression of glory, dignity and love - though hidden by the dust of time.