Published: 27 Jan, 2020 Nidhi Singh
India has a rich history which is marked by the rule of illustrious dynasties, empires and kingdoms. The palaces that are located in different parts of India today are reminders of that glorious past. Their aesthetics, proportions and artwork, everything about them is visually striking. While some of the palaces have been converted into grand heritage hotels, others have been converted into museums. Here we bring you a list of the best 30 royal palaces in India you must visit.
City Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
The City Palace in Udaipur is one of the most fascinating and historic royal palaces which boasts a rich architecture and cultural heritage. The City Palace located adjacent to Lake Pichola has a perfect fusion of Mughal and Rajputana architecture, and is counted among the city’s greatest heritage attractions. It sounds unbelievable but the grandiose complex contains 11 palaces within itself. The City Palace also has a famous temple, the Jagdish Temple.
Jai Vilas Palace, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
This 19th-century Jai Vilas Palace in Madhya Pradesh is one of the world famous royal palaces in India. It was once the residence of the royal Maratha Scindia dynasty. Today, this opulent palace is a museum which boasts a splendid collection of personal belongings of the Mughal Emperors. It also has various books belonging to various genres, with some of them dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
One of the key attractions here is the Durbar Hall which is decorated with a luxurious carpet. It is said to be one of the largest in the world. It features ornate interiors, embellished with gold and gilt decor. The museum is spread to 35 rooms featuring impressive collections of paintings, textiles, rare artefacts, furniture, sculptures, decorative art pieces, royal carriages, and portraits of the Scindia royal family.
Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara, Gujarat
Built in the year 1890, Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara is one of the grandest palaces in the state with an impressive Maratha and Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. It is one of the most stunning royal palaces across India, famous for its rich interior and elegant designs. Laxmi Vilas Palace is four times the size of Buckingham Palace in England. It is said that the cost for constructing this palace was at a total of 1,80,000 GBP (British Pound Sterling).
Prag Mahal, Bhuj, Gujarat
Prag Mahal is one of the royal palaces in India built in the 19th century. Its structure reflects various architectural influences. It has a blend of Romanesque architecture with a mixture of the Indo-Saracenic Revival style. It is also sometimes described as Italian Gothic style of architecture.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Umaid Bhawan Palace is a gem located in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, famously known as the royal state of India. This palace is the residential place of the royal family of Jodhpur, and is believed to be the world’s largest private residences with over 347 rooms. The royal palace is divided into three sections: luxury hotel, the royal family’s residence and a royal museum. Umaid Bhawan Palace is home to attractive galleries, and boasts an impressive collection of various classic automobiles.
Amba Vilas Palace, Mysore, Karnataka
Amba Vilas Palace was the seat of the Wodeyar Dynasty, whose structure reflects Hindu, Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic styles. Popularly known as Mysore Maharaja Palace, it is as stunning and gorgeous on the outside, as it is on the inside. One of the most fascinating things about the palace is that it has impressive illumination. Every evening, the entire complex glows with golden light presenting a regal ambience.
Jal Mahal, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Jal Mahal is Jaipur’s grandest palaces located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Built by Sawai Pratap Singh in the year 1799, it is an iconic landmark in Jaipur. Its stunning architecture is a combination of Rajput and Mughal styles. Although the palace consists of five stories, only the top is visible to the spectators. The remaining are submerged under water.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, Hawa Mahal is a famous attraction which finds a place in every Golden Triangle tour in India. It stands at the intersection of the main road called Badi Chaupad. Constructed of red and pink sandstone, it is widely popular because of its unique style of construction, and is often known as the signature building. An interesting fact about Hawa Mahal is that there are 953 windows, which are called ‘Jharokhas’.
Patwon Ki Haveli, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Patwon Ki Haveli is one of the first havelis built in Rajasthan, and is also known as “mansion of brocade merchants”. It was constructed in 1805 by Guman Chand Patwa, a prosperous trader of his time. The Patwon Ki Haveli is an embodiment of pure class, grandeur and magnificence. Besides its paintings and mirror works on the wall, it impresses onlookers with its gateways and arches. Each arch consists of an individual depiction. It is constructed from yellow sandstone.
Lake Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Lake Palace, also known as Jag Niwas, is another well-known attraction located on the island of Jag Niwas on Lake Pichola. This heritage palace hotel was constructed between 1743 to 1746, and is built completely in marble. Lake Palace, which is spread across 4 acres, is home to many fountains, gardens, and pillared terraces that surround its expansive courtyards.
Ujjayanta Palace, Agartala, Tripura
A former palace of the Kingdom of Tripura, Ujjayanta Palace is located in the capital city of Agartala. One of the most stunning palaces in India, it derives its beauty from its grand structure, tile floorings and lovely wooden ceilings. Today, it has been converted into a State Museum which showcases the art and culture of the Northeast. Ujjayanta Palace was built between 1899 and 1901, and covers an area of 250 acres.
Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, Telangana
This lovely palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad is a magnificent structure which was built in 1893 and is located in Hyderabad. The Taj Falaknuma Palace covers an area of around 2000 metres, and overlooks the city. This Palace, which was once the palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad, has now been converted into a luxurious five-star hotel under the Taj properties. And it is considered to be one of the best palace hotels of India.
Bangalore Palace, Bangalore, Karnataka
In order to have a royal holiday experience, one of the finest palaces to visit in India is the majestic Bangalore Palace. It is said that King Chamarajendra Wadiyar was inspired by the Windsor Castle in England to built this palace. This beautiful structure is enclosed by expansive gardens, which complement its beauty. Besides being an important tourist attraction, it also hosts several cultural events like concerts and marriages.
City Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan
City Place counted among the best royal palaces in Jaipur, thanks to its massive complex featuring courtyards, gardens and small palaces. Located in the middle of the Old City of Jaipur in North India, the City Palace dates back to the early 20th century. Originally built by Jai Singh II, it displays an amazing combination of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. Some of the top attractions to check out are Diwan-i-Am Art Gallery, Mubarak Mahal, Pitam Niwas Chowk and others.
Chettinad Palace, Sivaganga district, Tamil Nadu
Chettinad Palace is an example of the indigenous Chettinad style of architecture. Completed with Burma teak, stained glass, Italian marble, wrought iron, woodworks, and infused with a variety of color and ornate, the Chettinad Palace creates a stunning artwork. You can walk around the palace and explore the walls that are adorned with geometric patterns and colours.
Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad, Telangana
One of the best palaces in the state of Telangana is Chowmahalla Palace, which literally means Four Palaces. This palace was opened to the public in 2005, enabling the visitors to explore its magnificent architecture, expensive courtyards and several bungalows. While Khilwat Mubarak is the key attraction, other things to check out are the Durbar hall, imposing arches and Mughal domes.
Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Amber Fort located in Amer, a few minutes from Jaipur in Rajasthan, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Rajasthan. Its lighter shade of orange walls and intricately designed structure lend it a distinct elegance. Inside the fort, you can explore its courtyards, gardens, and the various palaces, each of which offer stunning views of the city and the calm Maotha Lake. The main attraction of the fort is the Sheesh Mahal or Mirror Palace. The entire complex is covered in mirrors, with the walls and ceilings carved with flowers and paintings that are made of glass.
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, Bangalore, Karnataka
Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace is an example of Indo-Islamic architecture and served as the summer residence of Tipu Sultan. The teak wood, large fluted pillars that helps support the structure, and the walls and ceilings decorated with floral patterns, are all examples of stunning art. The fort houses a museum that displays a portrait of the monarch and a wide collection of his clothes, a couple of swords and the missiles that were used during the wars with the British.
Ramnagar Fort and Palace, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
This 17th-century Ramnagar Fort and Palace is a fort possessing immense cultural heritage, and a prime tourist attraction in Varanasi. Located on the east bank of the holy River Ganges, it consists of a museum that displays various items belonging to royalty like vintage American automobiles, weapons, jewel-encrusted sedan chairs and astrological clocks. Vyas Temple is also very popular with tourists, as it offers stunning views of the sunset.
Neemrana Fort Palace, Neemrana, Rajasthan
Neemrana Fort Palace is counted among the must visit royal palaces of India, not just because it is perfect for an idyllic getaway, but also because of its rich history and grandeur. Surrounded by greenery, the fort palace, which has been converted into a luxury hotel is ideal for all sorts of guests. At Neemrana, you can enjoy the company of nature, while enjoying your stay with its health spas, pool, amphitheatre and lip smacking multi cuisine.
Monsoon Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
If you are travelling to Rajasthan’s romantic city, you must visit the stunning Monsoon Palace, perched on a hill in Udaipur. It overlooks the Fateh Sagar Lake and the city. Built in 1884, the Monsoon Palace, as the name suggests, was originally meant to be a 9 storied astronomical observatory which would record the arrival of monsoons by keeping track of the monsoon clouds.
Man Mandir Palace, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Man Mandir Palace in Gwalior Fort can’t be left out when creating a list of royal palaces in India. This 15th century masterpiece is a wonderful mixture of medieval and Hindu architecture. There are four storeys in the fort, with two storeys built underground. For centuries, Gwalior Fort passed on the hands of different rulers, namely, Rajputs, Mughals, Delhi Sultanate, Marathas,Scindias and the British.
Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner, Rajasthan
Located in Bikaner, Lalgarh Palace is built in a beautiful Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The palace, which was built for the Maharaja of Bikaner, Sir Ganga Singh, is now a heritage hotel. It has intricated stone carvings on its walls and ceilings, expansive verdant gardens and large courtyards with colourful bougainvillea flowers. This 19th century palace hotel offers world-class services and royal ambiance.
Jagmandir Palace, Kota, Rajasthan
Jagmandir Palace, located in the center of Kishore Sagar Lake, is one of the stunning heritage palaces to visit during a trip in Kota. What’s so interesting about this palace is the fact that it was built by one of the queens of Kota in 1740, and was used for pleasure and recreational purposes. You can also enjoy a boat ride on the Kishore Sagar Lake, and enjoy the illuminated view of the palace in the evening.
Mubarak Mandi Palace, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir
Once the royal residence of the Dogra dynasty of Jammu and Kashmir, Mubarak Mandi Palace in Jammu is a picturesque place of interest amongst the visitors. Its numerous courtyards, rooms, large halls and extensive collection of items that once belonged to the royal family, all make it a must visit tourist attraction in Jammu and Kashmir.
Padmanabhapuram Palace, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
Padmanabhapuram Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces of India and the finest in Kerala. It was once the seat of power of the kingdom of Travancore from 16th-18th century. Some of the things to look out for during your visit are dance halls, museums, Queen Mother Palace and inner courtyards. The most beautiful part of the palace is the council chamber, known as Manthrasala.
Bolgatty Palace, Ernakulam, Kerala
Bolgatty Palace, located in Kerala in South India, was built by the Dutch, and is a stunning sight to come across. It was built in 1774 by Dutch traders, and served as the Governor’s palace for the commander of Dutch Malabar, before being leased to the British in 1909. When India achieved independence, it was converted into a heritage hotel. With palatial rooms and world class amenities, it attracts honeymooners and those looking for a luxury travel getaway from city life.
Leh Palace, Leh, Ladakh
Leh Palace, which was once a royal palace, was built in the 17th century and overlooks the town of Leh. Consisting of nine storeys, it offers breathtaking views of Stok Kangri, and the surrounding mountain ranges. Some of the attractions in Leh Palace are Chinese paintings called thangka, ornaments, rich collection of jewellery and crowns. At the base of the palace stand wonderful structures like Namgyal Stupa, Chandazik Gompa and Chamba Lhakhang.
Jag Mandir Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Jag Mandir Palace is one of the magnificent palaces built on an island surrounded by Lake Pichola. It was built by three Maharanas, and was named after the last Maharana, Jagat Singh, in his honour. Consisting of three storeys, the main attractions in the Jag Mandir Palace are Zenana Mahal, Garden Courtyard, Gul Mahal and Bara Patharon ka Mahal. This palace also featured in a famous James Bond movie called Octopussy in 1983. It can be reached only via a boat ride.
Stok Palace, Leh, Ladakh
Stok Palace, built in 1820, once served as the royal residence of the Namgyal dynasty. It represents the finest aspects of local architecture. The palace is home to Stok Palace Museum, which has an interesting collection of relics and precious artefacts including regal costumes, jewellery, shields, arrows, quivers and guns. Paintings as old as 400 years are also displayed. One of the most interesting sights to see here is the queen’s ancient encrusted crown finished in turquoise-and-gold. The crown is also called Yub-Jhur. There is also a temple in the palace called Stok Kangri Temple where you can observe the daily prayers and rituals of the monks.
So, how many of these 30 Best Royal Palaces in India are you going to visit? How many of these do you find particularly interesting? Let us know in the comment box below.
Quick Answers to some of the Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What are the famous palaces to visit in North India?
Some of the famous palaces to visit in North India are Stok Palace and Leh Palace in Leh, City Palace in Udaipur, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Amber Fort in Jaipur and Patwon Ki Haveli in Jaisalmer.
Q. What are the famous palaces to visit in West India?
Some of the famous palaces to visit in West India are Prag Mahal in Bhuj and Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara.
Q. What are the famous palaces to visit in East India?
One of the famous palaces which you can visit in East India is Ujjayanta Palace in Agartala.
Q. What are the famous palaces to visit in South India?
Some of the famous palaces to visit in South India are Padmanabhapuram Palace in Kanyakumari, Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad, Chettinad Palace in Sivaganga, Bangalore Palace in Bangalore and Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad.
From the Lake District, Nainital, Nidhi Singh is a travel writer whose love for mountains can be seen in her write ups. Talk about solo travelling, indulging in adventure activities, binging on good food, planning budget trips or the Aurora Borealis and you will get all her attention. It is the wanderlust that keeps her going and if at all she could get one wish granted she would love to live a life less ordinary. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.