Indian palaces Chowmahalla Palace


In one of these extravagant royal hotels in India, you may live like a Maharajah or Maharani. At least once in your lives, you must do it! luxurious silk curtains, European chandeliers, sumptuous Persian rugs, and chambers brimming with treasures. The royal hotels in India serve as a remembrance of an opulent time when Maharajahs were in charge. Even though India is a large, breathtaking country with many magnificent natural features, its palaces are a sight to behold.


Many were residences of India’s royal families while others were designed with a level of opulence that would please any royal visitor, with top-notch service, and a well-trained army of staff at one’s beck and call. Most palace hotels are in Rajasthan and the northern part of India but if you’re looking to travel around the south, you’ll also find places to visit in South India with equally impressive palace hotels. Escaping into a royal fantasy is something lovers of luxury escapes could easily slip into while travelling in India and a real treat. Here are 22 regal experiences.



palaces in india Udaipur City Palace
Udaipur City Palace is an iconic palace to visit in Rajasthan.

Tired of switching capitals to save the kingdom from the marauding Marathas and Mughals, the Mewar clan of Rajasthan finally chose to erect their capital in the natural sanctuary of the imposing Aravalli by the lakeshore of Pichola in Udaipur.

Udaipur City Palace was gradually built over 400 years of Mewar rule by a combined effort of 22 generations of Sisodia Rajputs.

This palace complex comprises 11 palaces, and the architectural style ranges from Medieval, European to Chinese. The palace construction began in 1559.

Although the surroundings offered them plenty of protection, that didn’t ease the Mewar’s minds.

They constructed the palace’s corridors in a zigzag way to confuse the enemy and evade a surprise attack for extra security.

The interior housed all their wealth and was decked out with spectacular intricate mirrors, marble, inlay works and a stained glass-covered balcony.

History hunters will find their fill in the grand gateways with marble arches, the beautiful hanging gardens of Amar Vilas, exhibits of miniature paintings in Badi Mahal and Bhim Vilas, Chinese and Dutch ornamental tiles in Chini Chitrashala, and the beautiful murals of Dilkhusha Mahal.

Don’t miss the mirror glass work of Manak Mahal, which is one of the most beautiful structures of City Palace.

Udaipur City Palace is in Old City, Udaipur, Rajasthan 313001.


Chowmahalla Palace chandelier room
The chandelier room in Chowmahalla Palace in India’s Hyderabad.

No Nizami trail of Hyderabad is complete without stepping a foot in the actual seat of power from where they flexed their strength and might.

Chowmahalla Palace, or ‘four palaces’, was inspired by the Shah of Iran’s Palace and took nearly a century to complete.

Initiated by Nizam Salabhat Jung in 1750, the majestic monument was completed in the 1880s during the fifth Nizam of Hyderabad, Afzal ad-Dawlah Asaf Jah V’s, rule.

As trends and tastes shifted through time, those trends are captured in the architectural influences seen in this palace complex.

Glimpses of Persian, Indo-Saracenic, European, and Rajasthani styles are evident in the palace facade.

The complex has many sections, including the northern and southern courtyards and an elaborately carved entrance fountain.

The old southern courtyard has four palaces – Afzal Mahal, Mahtab Mahal, Tahniyat Mahal, and Aftab Mahal. In contrast, the northern courtyard contains the Bara Imam or the administrative block and Shishe-Alat.

Apart from admiring the grandeur of yesteryear while exploring the exhibits of crockeries, costumes, coins, and armouries, the other stunning sights are the glamorous Durbar Hall with its picturesque pillars and nineteen spectacular Belgian chandeliers.

The Quran collection is phenomenal, so don’t miss the rare handwritten Quran on display and a Quran printed in metal and inscribed with gold.

The vintage car collection is complete with a Rolls Royce, and the Buggee display is also impressive.

Chowmahalla Palace is at 20-4-236, Motigalli, Khilwat, Hyderabad, Telangana.


Dominating the landscape of Vadodara is Laxmi Vilas Palace, a mammoth 500-acre (202 ha) private residence of the Gaekwads.

It was built in the 1890s by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III and is a mishmash of Mughal, Rajput, Jain, Gujarati, and Venetian styles of architecture and interior design.

Laxmi Vilas Palace is four times larger than Buckingham Palace and has a golf course and a cricket ground within its compound.

Its sheer size forces visitors to access different buildings from different entrances. The expansive lawns have roaming peacocks making for a stately sight.

You can learn about the palace through a self-guided audio tour of the historic section of the property but not the residential area, as the royal family still lives in the palace, and their living quarters are off-limits.

  • Highlights include:
  • Sculptures created with meticulous detail.
  • The arms gallery or Pratap Shastragaar.
  • The 300 ft (91 m) clock tower.
  • Paintings by Raja Ravi Verma in the Gaddi Hall and the coronation room.

The spectacular Durbar Hall is an engineering feat worth admiring that stands 95 feet (29 m) long with no pillar support.

Laxmi Vilas Palace is at J N Marg, Moti Baug, Vadodara, Gujarat.


India palaces Mysore Palace
Mysore Palace is another Indian palace to tick off your to-see list.

If the proverbial phoenix that rose from its ashes had a palace counterpart in India, Amba Vilas Palace (popularly known as Mysore Palace) is it.

Destroyed by lighting, grazed to the ground by a freak fire accident, palace ground decimated by Tipu Sultan during his rule, and a curse of impotency by a Queen couldn’t stop this palace from rising back up many times over.

Along with it, the longest-serving Mysuru rulers of the Wadiyar dynasty also flourished. Believe it or not, it still serves as the official residence of this noble family.

It took five centuries worth of tweaking to create its present facade after the initial fort-like structure was completed in 1574.

The new palace, which draws heavily from Buckingham Palace in its sheer size and expanse, was completed in 1912.

The final architectural style is a blend of Islamic, Gothic, and Rajput.

Displays of wealth and prosperity are evident throughout the palace’s interiors.

The ornate ceilings and sculpted pillars of Durbar Hall, the stained glass windows, and the floral mandalas of Kalyanamantapa are impressive sights.

Paintings of Raja Ravi Verma, doors made of solid silver, Tipu Sultan’s sword, a jewel-studded throne believed to have belonged to the Pandavas, a ‘haathi-howdah’ or elephant carriage made with 84 kgs of gold, canons, and Czechoslovakian chandeliers are some of the highlights of a palace visit.

The palace steals the show during the festive time of Dussehra when it’s decked out with twinkling lights, creating an awe-inspiring sweeping spectacle.

Mysore Palace is at Sayyaji Rao Rd, Agrahara, Chamrajpura, Mysuru, Karnataka.


Jaipur City Palace India
Jaipur City Palace India is one of the most stunning former royal palaces in India.

Completed in 1732, Jaipur City Palace is the cradle of the Pink City of Jaipur.

It had a humble beginning as a hunting lodge for the royal family that was converted to this palatial extravaganza when Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II shifted his administrative capital from Amer to Jaipur to battle the drought in his kingdom.

The palace is a complex of courtyards, pavilions, buildings, temples, and gardens, each with its own wow factor.

The architecture is a fusion of Mughal, Rajput, and European styles.

Another unique feature is the architects employed the ancient Indian architectural science of vastushastra when designing the complex.

A precision of planning is evident in the complex’s grid-like layout, which is also reflected in the town planning of old Jaipur.

Its ornate exterior and eye-catching detail will captivate any visitor, starting at the richly decorated palace gates.

Marble pillars, painted plaster ceilings, jaali work on palace partitions, bejewelled thrones, intricate stone carving, murals, and chandeliers will captivate you for hours.

Chandra Mahal has been converted to a museum where you can catch a glimpse of the royal past.

The large pichhwai painting of Lord Krishna in Govind Ji’s temple is the epitome of regional folk art.

Don’t miss the two 5.2 ft (1.6 m) sterling silver vessels recorded in the Guinness Book of Records made from 14,000 melted silver coins without any soldering involved.

Jaipur City Palace is at Tulsi Marg, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan.


Bangalore palace in India
Bangalore Palace is a unique architectural blend.

The appearance of turreted parapets, fortified towers, and battlements bang in the middle of the heritage heart of this erstwhile cantonment city is nothing short of a visual treat.

Bangalore Palace transports the visitors to an English countryside where this mix of Tudor and Scottish Gothic architecture might feel more at home.

Not surprisingly, the palace was inspired by the design of Windsor Castle.

Bangalore Palace belongs to the Wadiyar Dynasty, the rulers of the Kingdom of Mysore.

British Guardian of minor Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar bought the land in 1873 and the palace was ready by 1878.

The sprawling grounds are a vast 454 acres (183 ha), and the floor area of the palace is 45,000 sqft (4180 sqm).

The intricate interior is filled with pillars and arches, especially the Durbar Hall on the first floor and the colourful courtyard fountain on the ground floor will leave you amazed.

The palace is also home to priceless paintings from Raja Ravi Verma and some Greek and Dutch masterpieces from the mid-19th century. In addition, there is a display of 1000 photographs charting the evolution of Bengaluru as a city.

The palace grounds hosts concerts by international bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden.

The palace administration operates an amusement park on-site called Fun World and there are cafes and restaurants.

Bangalore Palace is at Vasanth Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka.



Umaid Bhawan palace in the distance
Umaid Bhawan palace dominates the skyline of the Blue City.

In the echelon of regal Rajasthani palace properties, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur is a relatively new construction that was built between 1928 and 1943.

What it lacks in history, it makes up in size and grandeur.

Umaid Bhawan is just as imposing as Mehrangarh Fort, the historical gem of the Blue City.

History has it that this palace owes its origin to a curse cast by a saint when a prolonged drought hit the desert city.

The Rathore Dynasty ruler Maharaja Umaid Singh started the palace construction to employ the famine-hit farmers.

At present, his descendent Gaj Singh owns the palace, which is one of the largest royal residences in the world.

The building sports Indo-Deco architecture in Beaux-Arts style.

The palace is in three sections: the private residence of the royal family of Jodhpur, the Taj Palace Hotel and a museum.

The legacy of the Taj is palpable as soon as you enter the hotel. There are 22 rooms and 42 suites with Makrana marble bathrooms with bathtubs and luxury bath amenities.

You can opt for activities such as a therapeutic session at their acclaimed Jiva Spa, heritage walks and evening folk performances. Outdoor activities fit for a royal stay include squash, golf, polo and horse riding.

Umaid Bhawan Palace is at Circuit House Rd, Cantt Area, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.


Palaces in India (Taj Lake Palace)
The impressive Taj Lake Palace is one of the top palaces in India that have been converted into a hotel.

Channel your inner 007 at this Indian palace that made its appearance in another bond film, ‘Octopussy’.

Maharana Jagat Singh built jag Niwas after a tiff with his father. The latter refused his son permission to use Jag Mandir (another gorgeous lake palace on Lake Pichola) as a pleasure palace for his ladies.

The son just went ahead anyway and, in three years, created a magnificent palace on the lake in 1746.

Eventually, Taj took it over and renamed it as Taj Lake Palace. This bejewelled heritage property has 65 luxurious rooms and 18 grand suites.

Live like a royal with a palace butler service, royal historic boat romantic dinner, and boat spa service for a phenomenal princely experience.

The highlight is the palace’s location on the lake, with a stunning view of the Aravalli and Machala Magra hills as a backdrop.

Feed your inner prince or princess by pampering yourself in the Grand Presidential Suite, a lavish one-bedroom suite with a living room, dining, bedroom, and bathroom.

Taj Lake Palace is at Pichola, Udaipur, Rajasthan.


Taj Fateh Prakash Palace India drawing room
Taj Fateh Prakash Palace is a beautiful palace in Udaipur, India.

The reflection of the Aravalli mountain range on the glassy surface of Lake Pichola is an iconic sight from Taj Fateh Prakash Palace.

Dotted with palaces galore, Udaipur, the ‘City of Lakes’ has Havelis, mahals, mansions and palaces everywhere.

The Mewari past beckons from every building.

Constructed as an entertainment venue by Maharana Fateh Singh, this palace hosted many royal events.

A careful ear to the wall and one might still hear the past whispering of rustling chiffons and tinkling pearls.

Living in the luxe interior of the palace evokes a feeling of being in a museum.

The palace art, miniature paintings, jharokha or carved windows overlooking the lake, heirloom armoury adorning the walls are impressive.

The palace is painted in eye-soothing pastels reflecting the sandy dunes of the desert country.

Live like a Maharaja or Maharani in the Royal Suite and let the palace’s butler wait on you hand and foot.

Taj Fateh Prakash Palace is at Lake Pichola, The City Palace Complex, City Palace Rd, Udaipur, Rajasthan.


Neemrana Fort Palace is a massive 15th-century fort on the Delhi to Jaipur highway.

With its 77 rooms and suites built over 14 tiers, Neemrana Fort-Palace wraps itself around the Aravalli hill face, creating an exquisite canvas of yesteryear Rajput grandeur.

Constructed in 1464, the fort was abandoned in 1947, the year India won independence.

Raja Rajinder Singh couldn’t keep up with the maintenance, and the fort started crumbling. But fate intervened in 1986 when Indian citizen Aman Nath and French banker, Francis Wacziarg, bought and renovated the ruin.

Maintaining the heritage feel, the fort has steep steps and original ramparts.

Romance is in the air with a hanging garden, pools, spa, in-house camels and hidden nooks.

Neemrana Fort Palace is at 15th Century, Delhi-Jaipur Highway 122nd Milestone, Neemrana Fort Rd, Neemrana, Rajasthan.

Rambagh Palace oozes opulence, with rooms decked out in silk drapes, rich fabrics, lavish furnishings and objects d’art.

 If it’s your first time in India, visiting this palace is a great way to get a royal experience.

Even if you’re not staying there, head there for a meal or afternoon tea as it’s one of the most amazing places to visit in Jaipur.

Guests can play polo, feast under elaborate chandeliers and gaze indolently at lovely royal gardens.

Built in 1835, the palace was the home of the queen’s favourite handmaiden before becoming a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge.

1925 was the start of more glamorous times when handsome polo-playing Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II made it his home.

The Maharajah and his Maharani, Gayatri Devi, were feted by English high society.

The Maharani was named the most beautiful woman in the world by Vogue magazine in 1940.

Visiting Rambagh Palace is one of the things to do in Jaipur you shouldn’t miss.

The most distinctive of its 79 rooms and suites are the Peacock Suite and the Maharani Suite, which was redecorated by the Maharajah’s favourite designer, Hammond’s of London, as a gift to Maharani.

It has wood panels, intricate mirror-and-stone work and hand-painted Rajasthani art.

There is a sitting area, dining space, an oval mirrored bathroom and palatial French windows opening to views of the Oriental Garden.

Combine a stay at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur with a luxury train journey aboard the Maharajah Express for a holiday you’ll never forget.

Taj Rambagh Palace is at Bhawani Singh Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan.


taj falaknuma Indian palaces
Taj Falaknuma is an impressive Indian palace to stay at.

Hyderabad is an intriguing city to add to your Indian itinerary for many reasons.

In the 1940s, Hyderabad’s Nizam, Osman Ali Khan, was the richest man in the world. He was rated fifth highest on the Forbes All-Time Wealthiest List (Bill Gates ranked 20th) in 2008.

He owned an airline, postal service and flippantly used the 187-carat Jacob diamond as a paperweight.

His private treasury had stockpiles of gold, silver, precious gems and enough pearls to fill an Olympic size swimming pool.

Falaknuma Palace was the Nizam’s most lavish home, and where royal visitors such as George V, Edward VIII and Tsar Nicholas II came to stay.

When India gained independence, the palace was shut up for about 30 years and re-opened in 2010 after a 10-year-long restoration, by the Taj Hotel group.

Its former opulence has been recaptured with chandeliers, grand marble staircases, statues, objets d’art and a Palace Library that is a replica of the one at Windsor Castle.

The Grand Presidential Suite is an ornate two-storey abode with a private swimming pool and Jacuzzi, custom-designed furnishings from Turkey and Cararra marble floors.

Taj Falaknuma Palace is at Engine Bowl, Falaknuma, Hyderabad.


Built as a hotel in 1903, by industrialist Jemsetji Tata, Taj Mahal Palace has been a favoured haunt for Maharajas and dignitaries from around the world.

The hotel was Mumbai’s first harbour landmark and had the first licensed bar in the city.

The hotel’s design combines Moorish, Indian and European styles.

It is decorated with a collection of treasures such as Bastar tribal art, Anglo-Indian inlaid furniture, Mughal-inspired Jali designs and Belgian chandeliers.

The Presidential Suite (President Obama stayed there in 2010) is a lavish 15-room residence with a dramatic domed living room that has a gold stencilled ceiling and enormous crystal chandelier.

It comes with a gym, a business centre, a 10-seat dining room and a staff of 13 including a personal chef and butler. Works from Indian artists M.F. Husain, Ram Kumar and Laxman Shreshtha adorn the walls.

It has a private spa with a steam room, sauna and two masseurs to administer treatments from the hotel’s Jiva spa menu.

This hotel is one of the iconic things to see in Mumbai.

Taj Mahal Palace is at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai.


Palaces India Devi Garh
Devi Garh is a cool fort hotel to stay in India.

The 18th-century Devi Garh fort palace – which sits above the village of Delwara – has been stunningly remodelled into a 39-suite boutique hotel.

The re-design is an intriguing combination of historic structure and sleek contemporary living revolving around five courtyards.

A warren of passageways and staircases lead to rooms and halls where classical Indian and 21st-century design elements accomplish an eye-catching fusion look.

Part of its charm lies in the palace’s countryside location, with peaceful views of the Aravalli hills and valley.

Also unique is the cultural immersion excursions to the village of Delwara, where time has stood still, at the foot of the fort.

Suites are visions of white, decorated with marble and semi-precious stones.

The Devi Garh Suite, which comes with its own swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and the Palace Suite combine to form the Devi Garh complex of two bedrooms.

It explores the concept of ‘Shiv’ and ‘Shakti’, male and female energies embodied in Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction and his consort Shakti.

Devi Garh is near Eklingji, Udaipur, District Rajsamand, Rajasthan.


Royal palaces in India Leela Palace Hotel
Leela Palace Hotel is a luxurious palace-style hotel to stay at in Udaipur.

A stately glide in a royal barge across Lake Udaipur allows guests to arrive with much fanfare at Leela Palace.

The lake was the Mewar royal family’s playground and you could be forgiven for thinking that the sprawling Leela Palace, with its majestic gold curving domes was where Udaipur’s rulers once lived.

Built to resemble a traditional Indian palace, Leela Palace opened in 2009 and has an enviable lakeside location with fairytale views of the historic City Palace (Udaipur’s main attraction and museum), the hilltop Monsoon Palace (or Sajjan Garh) and Jag Niwas, which now operates as Taj Lake Palace, on an island on the lake.

With stately gardens, plush décor and slick service, this is a palace a modern-day Maharajah might choose to build from scratch.

The Maharaja Suite has a living room, study, dining area, master bedroom with a huge walk-in wardrobe, a king-size bathtub with a Jacuzzi and comes with its own massage room, plunge pool and courtyards.


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