Located in the busy Noorkhan bazaar, Aziz Bagh is a perfect blend of gothic and neoclassical style. It has a timeless appeal. It draws sighs of ecstasy every time one sets eyes on it. Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old houses to live in. This one has a soul which many modern structures lack. The antique look, the bygone ambience, the chipped paint, the history – new houses usually don’t have the character.

A double wall arcade opens into a picture-postcard setting. A long path leads to the main entrance. All along are potted plants, green lawns, leafy archways, traditional kabooter khanas.

You are in Aziz Bagh, a place like no other. To spend time here is to relieve an era gone by. As you step into the main house there is more to take your breath away. Impressive columned portico, marble floors, stained glass windows, period furniture, bamboo blinds. A quiet place, the serenity broken by occasional flight of the pigeons.

You are mistaken if you think this place is tucked away on a hill station. This Palladian villa is situated plonk at the busy Noorkhan Bazar behind the famed Salar Jung Museum. It is an oasis in this concrete jungle. Could one ask for more?

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Life is not a matter of milestones but of memories. And this place is full of them. At 97 the aging clan head, Hasnuddin Ahmed, is beautiful in dilapidation like the house. For the younger generation, it is a privilege to wake up in this house that existed before them and will perhaps exist after them too.

It was at the turn of the 20th century that Aziz Jung, the then collector under the seventh Nizam, built this house. A man of letters, he wrote on law, revenue and did pioneering work in agriculture. His villa is home to seven generations. His grandson, Hasnuddin Ahmed, an IAS officer of 1964 batch, now stays here. Along with him are his first cousins, his sons, sisters, their son-in-laws and their children.

“Forty close family members live here. At one time hundred persons used to stay”, says Fatima Ahmed, one of the four granddaughters of Hasnuddin Ahmed. What is surprising is that they all eat together, although the food is cooked separately. At a time when nuclear family is the order of the day, the Aziz Jung clan lives under one roof – sharing their moments of joy and sorrow.

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Spread over three acres, this mansion also boasts of 12 outhouses for servants. There are 10 servants living here for generations. Hasnuddin Ahmed takes care of their medical expenses and children’s education. If one of them plans to marry, the family contributes generously. “They are all part of the family”, says Anees Fatima, wife of Hasnuddin Ahmed. The 92 year old lady was once a municipal corporator representing the Noorkhan Bazar area.

Built in 1899, the main residence is a curious vernacular mix of Neoclassical and Gothic Revival styles. The pointed arch opening on the exterior flank an impressive Ionic -columned portico while fretted windows, some with stained glass, aesthetic movement furniture embellished with Minton tiles make up the interior. Portraits of distinguished family members adorn the high-ceilinged living room. In the centre of the hall stands a bookcase filled with leather-bound books in English, Persian and Urdu. The dining room displays a copper and brass Turkish coffeepot on a carved wood wall. Bamboo blinds provide shade to the veranda where Hasnuddin Ahmed usually relaxes on a rocking chair. But these days old age confines him to the bed most of time.

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“However, his mind and memory are sharp as ever”, says Raghu, an ardent admirer. Azia Bagh, a landmark in the Old City, bagged the Charminar INTACH Heritage award in 1977.

Interestingly, the US government issued two postal stamps – one on Hasnuddin Ahmed and one on Aziz Bagh. The interesting part is that this hoary structure has not been tampered with in the last 118 years. And what is more this undivided property still exists in the name of the patriarch, Aziz Jung. We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us. Sure. #KhabarLive

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A senior journalist having 25 years of experience in national and international publications and media houses across the globe in various positions. A multi-lingual personality with desk multi-tasking skills. He belongs to Hyderabad in India. Ahssanuddin's work is driven by his desire to create clarity, connection, and a shared sense of purpose through the power of the written word. His background as an writer informs his approach to writing. Years of analyzing text and building news means that adapting to a reporting voice, tone, and unique needs comes as second nature.