India’s rich history is best highlighted by the wide range of palaces scattered all over the country. Showcasing a wide range of architectural styles, India’s gorgeous palaces are gateways to the times when the Maharajas ruled over this land.
Some of them have been converted into Heritage and Luxury hotels now, offering an unmatchable experience to their guests.
Here are the ten most beautiful palaces of India…
1. Umaid Bhavan Palace, Jodhpur
The Umaid Bhawan Palace, located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, is one of the world’s largest private residences. Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, grandfather of the present owners of the palace, this monument has 347 rooms and serves as the principal residence of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family.
The Palace is divided into three functional parts
1. A luxury Taj Palace Hotel (in existence since 1972),
2. The residence of the owner’s royal family,
3. Museum focusing on the 20th century history of the Jodhpur Royal Family.
The opening hours of this museum are 9 am to 5 pm. There is also a gallery showcasing the most exotic automobiles owned by the royals.
- Visitors’ Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM
- Year of Completion: 1943
- Number of Rooms: 347
2. Amba Vilas Palace, Mysore
The Amba Vilas Palace, also known as Mysore palace, is a gorgeous palace in the city of Mysore in Karnataka. It is the official residence and seat of the Wodeyars — the Maharajas of Mysore, the former royal family of Mysore, who ruled the princely state of Mysore from 1350 to 1950.
The architectural style domes of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic and blends Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles. It is a three-stone structure with marble domes and a 145 ft five-story tower. The palace is surrounded by a large garden.
- Visitors’ Timings: 10 AM to 5:30 PM
- Year of Completion: 1912
- Palace Light Illumination: 7 PM to 7:45 PM
- Special Events: Mysore Dasara Festival, Vijaya Dashami
3. Jai Vilas Palace, Gwalior
The Jai Vilas Palace (or The Jai Vilas Mahal), located in Gwalior, was built in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior and is still the residence of his descendants the former royal Maratha Scindia dynasty.
The palace has an European architecture and was designed and built by Sir Michael Filose. Two Belgian chandeliers at Durbar Hall weighing 7 tonnes each are believed to be most gigantic in the world.
- Visitors’ Timings: 10 AM to 5 PM
- Year of Completion: 1874
- Number of Rooms: 400
- Attractions: Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum
4. Lakshmi Niwas Palace, Bikaner
Lakshmi Niwas Palace is a former residential palace of the king of the former Bikaner state, Maharaja Ganga Singh, in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
It was designed in 1896 in an Indo-Saracenic style by the British architect, Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, and built between 1898 and 1902. It is now a luxury heritage hotel.
5. Udaivilas Palace, Udaipur
The Udaivilas Palace is now a heritage hotel run by the Oberoi group. Located on the bank of Lake Pichola, The Oberoi, Udaivilas stands on the 200 year old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar.
Spread over a luxurious fifty acres, which includes a twenty-acre wildlife sanctuary with deer and wild boar, The Oberoi Udaivilas affords spectacular views across the verdant gardens and sparkling Lake Pichola.
6. Ranjit Vilas Palace, Wankaner
Wankaner Palace is a beautiful historical Indian palace built by the Maharaja of Wankaner H.H. Amarsinhji in the 20th century. The palace has lots of historical items like decorative doors, windows, antique chairs, mirrors and other such antique items.
Royal Oasis Wankaner is one of the finest heritage hotel of India. Actually, it was vacation palace of Maharaja of Wankaner during his rule in the state. Now, Royal Oasis converted into heritage hotel of Wankaner.
7. Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara
The Lakshmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara, an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic school, was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890.
At the time of construction it boasted the most modern amenities such as elevators and the interior is reminiscent of a large European country house. It remains the residence of the Royal Family, who continue to be held in high esteem by the residents of Baroda.
- Visitors’ Timings: 9:30 AM to 5 PM
- Year of Completion: 1890
- Total Area: 2.8 sq. km
- Entry Fee: Rs.150 per head
8. Fernhill Palace, Ooty
Fernhill Palace in Ooty was the erstwhile summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. The first Fernhills bungalow was built in 1844 as a private residence in the hill station Ooty in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The palace resembles a Swiss Chalet.
Its carved wooden bargeboards and ornamental cast iron give it that characteristic appearance. The palace grounds accentuate the alpine look of the place with its manicured gardens, firs and cedars. This is now a Heritage Hotel.
9. Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, Madurai
Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai’s Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles.
The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace, in which the king lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. In its heyday, Tirumalai Nayak Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South. This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple.
- Visitors’ Timings: 9:00 AM to 5 PM
- Year of Completion: 1636
- Sound & Light Show Timings: 6.45 PM to 7.35 PM
- Entry Fee: Rs.10 per head
10. Ujjayanta Palace, Agartala
The Ujjayanta Palace is a former royal palace of Tripura situated in Agartala. It also served as the meeting place of the Tripura Legislative Assembly until 2011 and is now a museum.
The Palace stands on the banks of a small lake surrounded by the lush greenery of Mughal gardens in Agartala, sprawling over 28 hectares of parkland, the exotic palace has several Hindu temples dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, Uma-Maheshwari, Kali and Jagannath.
The museum showcases the lifestyle, arts, culture, tradition and utility crafts, beside the customs and practices of various communities residing in northeast India.
- Visitors’ Timings: 9:00 AM to 5 PM
- Year of Completion: 1901
- Total area: 28 Hectares