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Princely Palace Becomes India’s New U.S. Consulate

September 2007
Princely Palace Becomes India’s New U.S. Consulate

Converted heritage hotels have been around for decades, but in a novel development that's making news, a palace in India is being converted into an American consulate. Starting next year, after renovations worth $7.6 million are completed, Paigah Palace in Hyderabad will serve as India's newest U.S. consulate until 2011. By then, a permanent building will be ready on a plot of land allotted by the Andhra government. As of now in India, only Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai have stand-alone U.S. consulates. In addition, the embassy in New Delhi provides consular services. The Paigah nobles of Hyderabad built their spacious palaces back in the 1880s. Known for its Indo-European architecture—which includes Corinthian columns and semicircular arches—the Paigah Palace has housed the main office of the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA) till now. The demand for American consular services in India has increased sharply. At the Chennai consulate, even with 1500 visa interviews scheduled every weekday, the yearly growth rate is about 20 percent.

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