Known for its rich culture & deep-rooted history, India is a fascinating destination which attracts millions of tourists every year. The glory of its rich past is still alive and cherished in the form of beautiful royal palaces built by the erstwhile rulers, who once lived here. These opulent royal palaces offer a mesmerizing peek into the bygone era as well as the social and cultural facets of the regal life. Visit these lavish palaces, with many of them being converted into luxury hotels, as part of India Tour Packages to experiencing the fascinating heritage of the country and get a chance to live the luxurious lifestyles of royal families of the past.
Also known as Amba Vilas Palace, the breath-taking Mysore Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in India and among the most visited tourist places in Karnataka as part of Mysore Tour Packages. It is the official residence of the royal family of Mysore, the Wodeyars. Designed by Henry Irwin, the palace was built in 1912 with an amazing amalgamation of Hindu, Mughal, Gothic and Rajput architectural styles. This three-storied palace has two durbar halls, several courtyards, gardens, exquisite buildings, royal portrait gallery, twelve Hindu temples, and even an antique dolls pavilion. It is a sight to behold when it is decorated with thousands of lights during Dasara festivals, on Sundays and on public holidays. One can visit this palace from 10 AM to 5.30 PM on all days of the week.
Lakshmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara
Spread over 500 acres of land, Lakshmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara is the largest private residence in the world, which is 4 times the size of the majestic Buckingham Palace, London. It was built in 1890 by Maharaja Sayaji Rao the third at a total cost of 1, 80, 000 GBP, making it the costliest palace of its times. Designed by Major Charles Mant, the palace was built in Maratha and Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. It is the largest palaces in Gujarat and among the most spectacular royal palaces in India which can be visited as part of Gujarat Tour Packages. Known for its beautiful architecture and rich interiors, it still serves as the residence of the Gaekwads, the royal family of Vadodara. Within the palace complex lies several buildings, including banquet halls, palaces and a museum that features an eclectic collection of paintings and artifacts from across the world. There is also a golf course in the grounds, built by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1930. This palace remains open from 9.30 AM to 5 PM, closed on every Monday and on public holidays.
City Palace, Udaipur
Situated on the banks of Lake Pichola, the majestic City Palace of Udaipur is distinguished as one of the largest palace complex in India and among the best architectural marvels in Rajasthan. Initially, it was built by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 AD while the Palace complex was built over a period of nearly 400 years, with contributions from several rulers of the Mewar dynasty. A wonderful blend of Medieval European and Indian architectural styles, the complex has several towers, domes and arches, palaces courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms, and hanging gardens. The palace interior is decorated with intricate mirror work, murals, and ancient wall paintings of the Mewar kingdom. Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-E-Khas, Mubarak Mahal, City Palace Museum, Moti Mahal, etc. are the prominent places to visit inside the complex as part of Udaipur Tour Packages. The palace opens its doors from 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM daily for visitors.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
Built over an area of 26 acres with 347 rooms, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is one of the most fascinating royal palaces in Rajasthan and among the world’s largest private dwellings. It was built by Maharaja Umaid Singh in 1943 to provide employment to thousands of people during the time of famine. This grand and imposing yellow sandstone palace is known for its stunning mixture of Indo-Saracenic, Western Art Deco and Classical Revival styles of architecture. Owned by Maharaja Gaj Singh, the palace is the current residence of the royal family of Jodhpur. A part of the palace (about 64 rooms) is converted into the heritage hotel by Taj Hotels. One can also find a gallery inside the palace that showcases stuffed leopards, classic cars that were used by the Maharajas, a vast collection of clocks, photographs and memorabilia as part of Rajasthan Tour Packages. One can visit this palace from 9 AM to 5 PM on all days of the week.
Jai Vilas Palace, Gwalior
Jai Vilas Palace or Jai Vilas Mahal is a nineteenth-century palace situated in the city of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. Built-in the year 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior, this palace is still the residence of his descendants. Spreading across 28.4 acres, this three-storied palace was designed by Sir Michael Filose with a blend of Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture. The Jai Vilas Palace has 400 rooms and a huge Durbar Hall that features gold furnishings, exquisite chandeliers, and huge posh carpets. The main highlight of the palace is a huge dining table with a silver train, a table trolley which rotates itself on the table in front of diners so that they can pick up food. A segment of the Jai Vilas Palace is now a museum that exhibits old weaponry, historic documents, and other artifacts. The palace remains open from 10 AM to 4.30 PM on all days except public holidays.
Inspired by Windsor Castle in London, the splendid Bangalore Palace was built in 1878 by the then Maharaja of Mysore Chamarajendra Wodeyar X as the private residence of the Wodeyars. Spread over an area of 454 acres, the palace represents Tudor style architecture. The palace has elegantly carved woodwork both inside and outside. The interiors have awesome floral motifs, cornices, and relief paintings on its ceilings along with paintings by the famous Raja Ravi Varma. Enclosed by beautiful gardens, it now serves as the venue for various concerts, exhibitions and cultural programs held in the city. One can visit and admire the beauty of its architecture as part of Bangalore tour packages. The palace is opened from 10 AM to 5.30 PM daily for visitors.
City Palace, Jaipur
One of the most treasured palaces in India, Jaipur City Palace was built in 1732 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Later on, successive rulers extended the complex with many palaces. Boasting of European, Rajput and Mughal architectural styles, this palace features an array of gardens, temples, and pavilions. Chandra Mahal, Maharani’s Palace, Mubarak Mahal, Shri Govind Dev temple, Diwan-i-Aam, and Diwan-E-Khas are the prominent structures inside the palace complex. At present, most of this palace is the residence of the descendants of the former rulers of Jaipur. Only the ground floor is allowed for visitors where the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum is located that displays carpets, manuscripts and other items that belonged to the royal family. Tourists are welcome to explore the opulence of the rulers of Jaipur from 9 AM to 5 PM on all days of the as part of Jaipur Packages.
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Once the residence of the Nizams of Hyderabad, Taj Falaknuma Palace is located atop 2000 feet high hill overlooking Hyderabad and is considered as one of the most beautiful palaces in India. Built by Nawab Vikar-ul-Umra, in 1893, the architecture of Falaknuma Palace is a rare blend of Italian and Tudor style. Covering over an area of 32 acres, this beautiful palace has 220 extravagantly decorated rooms and 22 spacious halls along with Japanese, Mughal and Rajasthani gardens. The interior boasts of large Venetian chandeliers, Roman pillars, rare furniture, grand marble staircases, priceless statues, and artworks. This palace has now been converted into a five-star luxury heritage hotel by Taj and invites guests to experience the grandeur of the Hyderabad Nizams as part of Hyderabad Tour Packages.
The Rajbari, Cooch Behar
Also known Victor Jubilee Palace, the grant and elegant Rajbari or Cooch Behar Palace was constructed under the reign of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan in 1887. It is modeled after the Buckingham Palace in London while the main entrance resembles St. Peter’s Church in Rome. Built-in Classical Western styles, this mammoth building is a double-storied structure that spans over an area of about 51309 sq. ft. The palace halls and rooms are filled with wonderful chandeliers, paintings, and photographs. Maintained by ASI, a section of the palace is now a museum that boasts an enviable collection of oil paintings, along with hoe, sandstone and laterite sculptures, terracotta figurines, etc.
Ujjayanta Palace, Agartala
The former royal palace of the Tripura, the Ujjayanta Palace is one of the most magnificent palaces of India. The palace was built between 1899 and 1901 by Maharaja Radha Kishore Manikya in the neoclassical style and was designed by Sir Alexander Martin of the Martin and Burn Company. Known for its magnificent tiled floors, and carved wooden ceilings, it houses a throne room, durbar hall, library, a reception hall, and several Hindu temples. The place housed the State Legislative Assembly of Tripura till 2011 and is now converted into state museum of Tripura that exhibits lifestyles, arts, and culture of communities of Northeast India.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.