The clothes occupied 124 almirahs – sixty-four in one ground row and sixty on the second row atop the first.

Hyderabad once had worlds largest wardrobe The Nizam who wore new clothes everydayImage Credit: The Deccan Heritage Trust
news History Sunday, October 09, 2016 - 12:58

By Narendra Luther

Mehboob Ali Khan was a vain, narcissistic young man fond of dressing well.

He was the first Nizam to start wearing the western dress. He never wore the same dress twice. 

The result was that he came to have the largest wardrobe in the world. 

The entire right wing of his palace, ‘Purani Haveli’ with a length of 240 feet (73.15 metres) was full of clothes, shoes and other accessories. 

 

(The Purani Haveli as it stands today. Image: Wikipedia Commons/RandhiReddy)

 

They took 124 almirahs – sixty-four in one ground row and sixty on the second row atop the first to accommodate them. In between the wardrobes in the lower row, there were some changing rooms.

Most of the clothes were given away to make room for new ones. Today only the bare almirahs remain. One top hat in a box, two pairs of riding boots, a pair of pumps and one pair of straw slippers were all that was left of that fabulous collection. 

When I visited it in 1991. I could see from the sole of the shoes that they could not have been worn more than once. The name of the London manufacturer was intact on the sole. 

The wardrobe and the hand-operated lift to reach it still exist. 

In the hall next to it is the Silver Jubilee Museum of the Seventh Nizam. Over a century has elapsed since the death of the once-only wearer of fabulous dresses – of both oriental and western style. 

However, the wardrobe and the hand-operated lift used to reach it still exist. While the lift is not in good shape, the wardrobe retains its original sheen and shape. 

 

(The wardrobe. Image - www.hehnmh.com)

 

The secret of that is that it was made of Burma teak. It is explained that Burma teak is impervious to termite attacks.

In the hall adjoining the wardrobe, a new museum has been opened based largely on the gifts the Seventh Nizam received on the silver jubilee of his rule celebrated in 1937 – a year later than due because of the death of King George V in 1936. It is called HEH the Nizam’s Museum.

This is a book excerpt from ‘Legendotes of Hyderabad’ by Narendra Luther, published by Niyogi Books. You can can buy the book on Amazon here.

 

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