A Palace Guide in India

 

India is home to many grand palaces – once the playground for Maharajas and monarchs throughout the country. The architectural style is a mix of European, Islamic and Rajput influences, and the results are breathtaking.

These residences – can be found in bustling cities, others buried in remote villages – yet they are set apart from your average hotels with opulent interiors, romantic settings, extravagant facades, and lawned gardens. Some of the palaces are still home to the royal family or converted into museums.

Quick Facts

  • The Rambagh Palace is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
  • The Umaid Bhawan Palace is the home of the royal family of Jodhpur and the largest private residence of the world.
  • The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is Mumbai’s most iconic landmark and India’s second-most-photographed monument.
  • The Taj Falaknuma Palace is the former residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad.
  • Taj Lake Palace is built on a man-made island surrounded by the Lake Pichola.

Palaces in India

India has a rich cultural heritage, history, and architecture. The glory of its rich past is still alive and remembered in the form of the beautiful palaces found across the country..The rulers of ancient times constructed the palaces for their existence and administration.

While some of the palaces from the ancient period have been destroyed or lies in ruins, some have been maintained and restored as museums or hotels, while others have remained as homes for the members of the former royal families.

The palaces of Indian royalty and their rooms were often planned big and decorative. The spacious designs are applied to the guest rooms, courtyards, and dining halls.

These spacious designs are then nicely decorated and facilitated so that it can boast both space and functionality. The rooms are filled with framed art and wall paintings, embellished furnishings and furniture.

The palaces are stunning where you will discover and glimpse into the opulent era, as well as the social and cultural facets of their life. You will see the amazing décor including floats of flowers in grand fountains, shimmering blue water of magnificent baths and private pools, Doric pillars, ornamental brackets, decorative staircases, and light streaming in through large windows.

Rajasthan, located in North India, is where you will find most of the forts and palaces that are major tourist destinations in this region, such as the Amber Palace, Hawa Mahal, and City Palace located in Jaipur, the Capital City.

Other palaces in the region are located in Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, and Nahargarh.

Best 10 Palaces to visit or stay in India

These are the recommended palaces for you to visit or stay in India. Most of these palaces are located in Jaipur.

Palace Location Type Features
City Palace Jaipur Museum Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, and Maharani Palace
Rambagn Palace Jaipur Heritage Hotel Mughal Gardens, Oriental Gardens, Courtyards
The Raj Palace Jaipur Heritage Hotel Suites that overlook the garden and majestic courtyard
Samode Palace Jaipur Luxury Hotel Spa room, swimming pools, and gymnasium
Umaid Bhawan Palace Jodhpur Luxury Hotel and Museum Throne chamber, a private meeting hall, a Durbar Hall to meet the public, a vaulted banquet hall, private dining halls, a ballroom, a library, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two marble squash courts, and long passages
City Palace Udaipur Tourist Spot and Museum Manek Chowk, Ganesh Deodhi, Pratap Gallery, Zenana Mahal, and many more
Taj Lake Palace Udaipur Lake Hotel Indian aroma-therapies and beauty services, a steam bath, a beauty salon, a mini gym, two Jacuzzis, and a swimming pool
Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai Heritage Hotel 24-hour fitness center, a large outdoor swimming pool, an award-winning salon, a shopping arcade including designer fashion, a well-stocked book shop, and a spa offering a range of Indian massages and treatments
Taj Falaknuma Palace Hyderabad Luxury Hotel Palace Library holds an extensive collection of English, Urdu, and Persian books as well as copies of the Quran - rare first editions, spa, extensive manicured gardens, and an outdoor pool
Mysore Palace Karnataka Tourist Spot The Durbar Hall, the Ambavilasa, the Royal Howdah which is an elephant seat made with 84kg of gold, and the Kalyana Mantapa

City Palace, Jaipur

The City Palace, now turned into a museum is a popular tourist spot with a complex of courtyards, gardens, and buildings, situated on a hilltop that offers a panoramic view.

This palace boasts an architectural combination of Mughal and Rajputana built in the 16th Century. One half of the palace, Chandra Mahal is still the resident of Jaipur Royal Family.

The main attraction in this palace is the Mubarak Mahal. Built as a reception hall in 1899, the building turned into a Textile Museum, housing some of the elaborately woven and brocaded fabrics used by the royal family.

The City Palace also has other worth visiting places like the Maharani Palace. It houses a collection of Rajasthani dresses, a fascinating armory of Mughal and Rajput weapons, swords of all shapes and sizes.

Address: Tulsi Marg, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002, India

Opening time: 9.30 am to 5 pm

Tickets: 500 and 900 rupees. Depending on the price, the tickets allow you into different sections of the Palace.

Rambagh Palace, Jaipur

The Rambagh Palace was once the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, and is known to be the “Jewel of Jaipur”. Now a luxurious Heritage Hotel run by the Taj Hotels and Resorts, it boasts beautifully manicured gardens and Indian architecture.

There are over 70 stunningly restored grand luxury rooms and suites which were the chambers of the former Maharaja.

The Rang Niwas Suite is famous for its French windows that open to the view of the Mughal Gardens of Rambagh Palace. The Pothikhana Suite is designed with antique teak walls that are prevalent during the British Raj. The Prince’s Suite was the former chamber of Prince Jagat Singh.

You can go to the hotel’s website to make bookings. The room rates range from 26,500 rupees going up to 150,000 rupees per night.

Address: Bhawani Singh Rd, Rambagh, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302005, India

Contact number: +91 141 238 5700

The Raj Palace, Jaipur

Raj Palace is located in the heart of the city center, and the oldest mansion in Jaipur. It was built in 1727 and originally called “The Chaumoo Haveli” after the last ruler, Thakur Raj Sinh.

In 1996, Princess Jayendra Kumari and a team of 800 workers began renovating the palace's arched corridors, residential quarters, and courtyards, turning the place into a luxurious hotel.

The palace is packed with antiques and artifacts dating back to the Raj, such as Oriental rugs, crystal chandeliers, and rich fabrics. It is also decorated with impressive arches, ornate wall decorations, pillars, and courtyards.

"Museum Suites" were created, where every suite has its own private museum hosting royal antiques such as clocks, weaponry, and jewelry. This gives the property the honor of being the first Museum Suite Palace Hotel of the world.

The Raj Palace offers facilities including a spa, Ayurvedic massages, Kerala massages, beauty and herbal treatments to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

You can go to the hotel’s website to make your bookings. The room prices range from 19,000 to 320,000 rupees per night.

Address: Jorawer Singh Gate, Amer Road. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Contact number: +91-22-6150 6363

Samode Palace, Jaipur

The Samode Palace was built near the Samode village on the outskirts of Shekhawat by the noblemen of the court of the royal family. The palace is made of sandstone at the foot of the Aravalli Range of hills./p>

The palace interiors are decorated in the ancient architectural style of Rajasthan with marble floors, intricately ornamented pillars, mosaic walls, luxurious carpets, and old wall paintings depicting hunting scenes and floral motifs.

The palace is built on three levels with a patio on each floor. There is an old ruined fort above the palace from where a panoramic view of the valley could be seen. Samode Fort was the former residence of the Maharaja.

You can visit the hotel’s website to make reservations. The price of the rooms ranges from 20,000 rupees to 50,000 rupees per night.

Address: Village Samode, Tehsil Chomu, Jaipur, Rajasthan 303806, India.

Contact number: +91 1423 240014

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The Umaid Bhawan Palace is the home to the royal family of Jodhpur and the largest private residence of the world.

Built between 1928-1943, the palace is a magnificent piece of Rajasthan’s heritage and a symbol of new Jodhpur. It is located on Chittar, the highest point in Jodhpur, with views of the historical Blue City, sand dunes, and the Mehrangarh Fort.

The property houses a family museum and is set amidst 26 acres of lush gardens and offers some breathtaking Art Deco-style rooms and suites.

You can book a room from the hotel’s website. The room prices range from 25,500 rupees to 400,000 rupees per night.

Address: Circuit House Rd, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan 342006, India

Contact number: +91 291 251 0101

City Palace, Udaipur

Not to be confused with the City Palace in Jaipur, the Udaipur City Palace is the most-visited tourist attraction of Udaipur and often distinguished as the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. The palace’s architecture is the combination of Rajasthani, European, Chinese, and Mughal.

The City Palace is comprised of 11 wonderful palaces, which were all built by different rulers. These palaces are decorated with unique paintings, antique furniture, and exquisite glass mirror and ornamental tiles work.

One of the main attractions is the Zenana Mahal, also known as the women’s quarters. It is beautifully designed with colored windows, balconies, tiled walls and floors.

A part of the City Palace and the Zenana Mahal have been transformed into a museum. The museum displays exhibits of priceless royal family photographs and a collection of personal portraits of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar.

Address: Old City, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India

Opening time: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm

Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Taj Lake Palace was built between 1743 and 1746 on a man-made island surrounded by Lake Pichola. After serving as a summer resort by the descendants of Jagat Singh for many generations, it was then converted into a luxury hotel in the 1960s.

Today, there are 66 rooms and 17 suites. The 33 luxury rooms provide views of Pichola Lake or the palace’s lily pond. The Rang Mahal and the Royal Spa Suite provide views of the Jag Mandir Palace. The one-bed suite is set over two levels and features a treatment room and private jacuzzi.

There are Indian rejuvenation therapies including massages and well-known Indian treatments at the Signature Jive Spa. You can also enjoy Indian aromatherapies and beauty services. Some other facilities in the hotel include a steam bath, a beauty salon, a mini gym, two jacuzzis, and a swimming pool.

You can go to the hotel’s website to make your bookings. The room prices will start at a range of 21,000 rupees, going up to 400,000 rupees per night.

Address: Old City, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001, India

Contact number: +91 294 242 8800

Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is built in the Colaba region of Mumbai. It is Mumbai’s most famous landmark and India’s second-most-photographed monument. The hotel sits close to the Arabian Sea, providing sweeping oceanic views, with the Gateway of India as its famous neighbor.

The place is decorated with Maharaja-era dressed bellhops, imposing arches reminiscent of the genuine Taj Mahal, with a sense of warm color palettes and a combination of Moorish and Florentine décor.

The hotel is made up of two buildings which are the Taj Mahal Palace and the Tower. The palace wing has all the expensive hotel rooms and heritage suites, while the tower has more budget-priced options.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is also home to a luxury spa, a renowned cake shop, an art gallery, and an exceptional portfolio of restaurants, bars, and cafes.

You can go to the hotel’s website to make reservations. The prices of the rooms range from 17,000 rupees to 101,500 rupees per night.

Address: Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001, India

Contact number: +91 22 6665 3366

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

The Taj Falaknuma Palace is the former residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The palace was built in the shape of a scorpion with two stings spread out as wings in the north.

The palace holds considerable collections of the Nizam's artifacts including paintings, statues, furniture, manuscripts, books, an extensive jade collection, and Venetian chandeliers.

Today, the hotel has 60 plush rooms that are decorated with chandeliers, stained glass windows, antique furniture, marble staircases, statues, and murals. Each of the room also provides marvelous views of the palace courtyard and the 400-year-old city of Hyderabad.

You can also visit the Palace Library, where there is an extensive collection of English, Urdu, and Persian books as well as copies of the Quran, and rare first editions. There is also a spa, extensive manicured gardens, and an outdoor pool.

You can go to the hotel’s website to make your bookings. The room prices will start at a range of 32,500 rupees, going up to 600,000 per night.

Address: Engine Bowli, Fatima Nagar, Falaknuma, Hyderabad, Telangana 500053, India

Contact number: +91 40 6629 8585

Mysore Palace, Karnataka

The Maharaja's Palace, or commonly referred to as the Mysore Palace, was designed by British architect Henry Irwin and constructed between 1897 to 1912. The architecture of the palace is a combination of Hindu, Islamic, Rajput, and Gothic influences.

The palace has four arched gates leading to a large garden area which surrounds the palace. The main building is made of stone granite and pink marble domes. The palace area also holds 12 Hindu temples dating back from the 14th to the 20th centuries.

The main attraction of the palace is the Durbar Hall. This is the reception hall where the Maharaja used to address the public. The hall is fully decorated in pink, yellow, and turquoise with intricately painted columns all symmetrically spaced across the hall, and the walls are decorated with priced paintings from the era.

Address: Sayyaji Rao Rd, Agrahara, Chamrajpura, Mysuru, Karnataka 570001, India

Opening time: 10 am to 5.30 pm

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