[Text below from KnowAP.com]
Aza Khana-e-Zehra, located at Dar-ul-Shifa in the old city of Hyderabad, overlooks the river Musi and is an example of the Osmanian style of architecture. Constructed in the 1930’s by Nizam VII Mir Osman Ali Khan as a house of mourning, this building is a high ceiling structure with a zenana gallery all around with wooden perforated screens. The structure is in regular use and in good condition.
Built by Mir Osman Ali Khan in memory of his mother, Amtul Zehra Begum, the magnificent structure had gone in for extensive repairs for the first time in its 67-year existence. The cardboard ceiling of the colonnaded hall had been replaced with a plaster of Paris false ceiling and the four huge chandeliers repaired and lit up. The old ceiling cracked since it was badly damaged and had fell at many places.
Also known as Madar-e-Deccan, Aza Khana-e-Zehra has since then been an important place for Shia worshippers. Its prized possession is four sacred battle standards known as ‘Alams’. The gold and diamond-studded standards are installed after the Muharram crescent is sighted and are offered the traditional ‘dhatti’ by the Nizam family members and other devotees.
It is one of the finest examples of Osmanian style of architecture. The renovation work cost of this house of mourning was borne entirely by Sahebzadi Rasheedunnisa Begum, the granddaughter of the Nizam, according to Syed Hamed Hussain Jaffery, President, AP Shiya Youth Conference.
The Nizam who was deeply attached to his mother Amtul Zehra Begum, also known as Badi Begum Saheba, would call on her every afternoon at the Purani Haveli; and was so particular about this visit that he would not miss the trip even if he was personally indisposed or if he had to attend any important function of the State.
After her death he wanted to build a magnificent ashur khana in memory of his departed mother and since he had personally liked the spot and the group of the eminent Shias too willingly consented, he arranged construction of the Aza Khana-e-Zehra there. He also announced that if people from the community wished to donate to the noble cause they could make donations of Rs. 1,000 each and people of all faiths, from the city, came forward with donations.
Built on several thousand square yards of land, the outer elevations are magnificent as are the interiors of the edifice. The pillars of the ashur khana divide it into three sections. Along the two walls there are two court yards and a very big courtyard extending from the main entrance up to the podium. Constructed at a suitable height on the sides of the large court yard there are beautiful balconies where there is a seating arrangement for large number of ladies, during Majlis gatherings.
The capacity of Aza Khana Zehra is 10,000. Verses from the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophet in praise of Ali and his progeny decorate the walls of the Aza Khana. Done by master calligraphists of that era these panels have been fixed on the walls with such expertise that it seems as if they have been engraved on the walls.
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