Many of us have spent our childhood listening to tales about the mighty Rajas or Maharajas. These stories fascinated us, and we dreamt of visiting these Ancient Indian Palaces where they lived.
India has a long tradition of Zamindars, Maharajas, and Nawabs. Our history books are filled with images of palaces of India and how majestic they were.
Every Fort and Palace have a story befitting the royal household who claimed it to be their home. With time, these ancient palaces in India have been remodeled into hotels to raise the cost of the upkeeping.
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These palaces and hotels are a unique way of rediscovering the magic of the bygone era. Tourists from India and afar have shown a great interest in these palaces. It is their way of experiencing the lifestyle and grandeur of the royal families.
Here in this article, let us have a pick into some of the most famous ancient palaces of India.
Most Beautiful 15 Ancient Palaces in India
1. Umaid Bhawan Palace, Rajasthan (Jodhpur)
Standing atop the Chittar hills is the beautiful Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. It is one of the most ancient splendid palaces in India.
The palace was completed in 1983 and occupied an approx area of 26 acres. Its architecture is a unique blend of western art deco and classic revival styles.
The palace was the abode of Maharaja Gaj Singh. It boasts 347 rooms. All the rooms are decorated with stuffed animal figures, vintage clocks, and artifacts belonging to the maharajas.
A part of the Palace still houses the erstwhile Maharajas. The other half has been leased to the Taj Group of Hotels. Although the palace is open for sightseeing, the entry is restricted to the guests of the hotels only.
2. Mysore Palace, Karnataka
This Palace is situated in the heart of the city of Mysore. The Mysore palace is also referred to as the Amba Vilas Palace.
It was the work of the famous architect Henry Irving. The palace was fully functional from 1912.
The palace includes domes and turrets distinctive of the age. It even houses exquisite paintings all around the globe.
The palace grounds are home to several Hindu temples, courtyards, and durbar halls. The palace has witnessed its share of tragedies from being destroyed several times, including being ravished by fire.
3. Chowmahalla Palace, Hyderabad
The Palace occupies an area of 40 acres. The architectural style incorporates the best of Mughal and Persian design.
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The palace is bifurcated into several courtyards. It was once the imperial home of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.
4. Hazarduari Palace, West Bengal
This imposing royal Palace was constructed in the early part of the 19th century. The famous British architect Duncan Macleod supervised its construction for the mighty Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah of Bengal.
The palace is located on the banks of the Bhagirathi river in Murshidabad. The complex houses both Nizamat Imambarah and Wasaif Manzil.
The Palace has been turned into a museum. There are about 20 galleries. The gallery showcased the armory used by the Nawabs, rare paintings, and manuscripts. The museum’s highlight is the crystal chandelier, a gift from Queen Victoria from the Nawabs.
5. Lake Palace, Udaipur
This is one of the most famous palaces in India, constructed in the 18th century. At one point in time, it was known as Jag Niwas.
The Place is set in Lake Pichola, Udaipur, which was the summer retreat of the rulers of Mewar.
Now the palace has been taken over by the Taj Group of Hotels. The marvelous palace spans over 4 acres. It has 83 rooms, beautiful terraces, and courtyards overlooking Lake Pichola. The scenic beauty of the palace lures thousands of tourists every year.
6. Jaivilas Mahal, Madhya Pradesh
This palace lies in Gwalior. It was the former home of the Maharajas of Gwalior, Jayaji Rao Scindia.
The palace is a marble of in the European architectural style. The entire palace has been converted into a museum featuring the artifacts and other paraphernalia of the Scindia dynasty.
The palace gates are open for the general tourists from 10-4.30 pm every day.
7. Kuthiramalika Palace, Kerala
This little-known Palace is situated quite close to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the district of Thiruvananthapuram. It was constructed in the 19th century to house the royal family of Travancore.
The palace highlights the Keralite architectural style, sloping roofs, and indoor courtyards.
The palace has not been lived in since the death of Swathi Thirunal in 1846. Recently the palace has been conserved and has been transformed into a museum.
8. Coochbehar Palace, West Bengal
This majestic Palace was built in the 1880s to accommodate the state of Coochbehar. The palace bears a striking resemblance to Buckingham Palace, London.
A section of the eh palace is open for public viewing. It has a rare collection of paintings and photographs which are sure to fas innate to any tourist. The palace is open to outsiders every day, baring Fridays from 10-5 pm.
9. Ujjayanta Palace, Tripura
This magnificent Palace belongs to the royal family of Tripura. It was built between 1899 and 1901 by Maharaja Rudra Kishore Manykya.
The palace walls enclose two large lakes surrounded by manicured Mughal gardens. The design of the palace was the brainchild of Sir Alexander Martin, the founder of Martin & Burn Company.
The palace was later used as the Office of the State Legislative Assembly, Tripura. A section of the palace is now a museum that contains the artifacts of the royal family of Tripura.
10. Marble Palace, West Bengal
The Marble Palace situated in Kolkata was once the former mansion of Raja Rajendra Mallick. He was a wealthy merchant and connoisseur of art.
The palace is a treasure box of marvelous marble works and rare paintings. The entire mansion, including the walls and floors, is a marble. Hence the name Marble Palace.
This beautiful mansion is a testimony to the Neoclassical style.
11. Laxmi Vilas, Gujarat
This Palace is located in Vadodara, Gujarat. It is also referred to as the Maharaja Palace. It has also earned the name of being the largest palace in the world.
This palace was constructed during the reign of Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad in 1890.
The work done on the palace walls reflects the art of the painter Raja Ravi Varma. The palace grounds include a golf course for the pleasure of the Maharaja.
Other buildings inside the palace are the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, Motibhag Cricket Ground, and the Cricket Association office.
12. Leh Palace, Ladakh
This Palace is also referred to as the Lachen Palghar or the Leh Palace. The palace is an important tourist spot in Leh.
It was built in 1553 under the ring of King Senge Namgyal. The palace offers a mesmerizing view of the surrounding mountains. The palace is a beautiful masterpiece of the Tibetan style.
The palace houses a beautiful collection of Thangka, ANCIENT Chinese Paintings, ornaments, and crowns. With a minimum entry fee, you are permitted to enter the palace, which is open throughout the week.
13. Bangalore Palace, Karnataka
This beautiful palace retains its former glory. Currently, it is acclaimed as the major attraction of Bengaluru.
The palace spans 45,000 square feet and is an ideal blend of Tudor and Scottish architectural styles. The intricate wood carvings on the palace walls depict the beauty of craftsmanship.
Aside from being a principal tourist hub, the palace grounds are used for major cultural events and marriage ceremonies. The beauty of Windsor Castle greatly influenced King Chamarajendra Wadiyar, under whose reign the palace was built.
Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings adorned the walls of the palace. The palace gives you the chance to experience the elegance and splendor of the mighty rulers.
14. Neemrana Fort Palace, Rajasthan
This 15th-century old palace witnesses a massive influx of tourists every year. The majestic fort cum palace was constructed during the reign of Maharaja Prithviraj Chauhan III.
However, the ancient palace has been converted into a luxurious hotel. This breathtaking palace cum hotel set near the Delhi Jaipur highway is a perfect weekend getaway.
Nestled in the picturesque Aravali hills, this palace allows you to enjoy the regal grandeur of Maharajas.
15. Lalgarh Palace, Rajasthan
This Palace was constructed between 1902 and 1926. It was built during the rule of Maharaja Ganga Singhji of Bikaner.
The palace is located amid in Thar desert. Today the palace has been modeled into a premier hotel.
The design of the palace was the brainchild of Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob. The palace building is three stories high. The outer facade of the palace is made of red sandstone.
The palace complex also houses Shri Sadul Museum. This museum offers you glimpses of the royal past.
16. Mubarak Mandi Palace, Jammu & Kashmir
The Palace was the erstwhile residence of the Maharaja of Jammu. The palace housed the Dogra dynasty till 1925. After that, the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir, Hari Singh, shifted residence to the Hari Niwas Palace.
The palace features both Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. The pink hall of the palace displays rare paintings. It even showcases a golden bow and arrow of the late emperor Shah Jahan.
The palace overlooks the Tawi river. Although forlorn and relegated, the palace still commands respect with its domes and arches.
Best Wildlife Places to Visit in India under Rs. 5000
India has diverse wildlife sanctuaries, which have lured many tourists from India and afar. When speaking of some of the cheap places to visit, we have drawn up a list of several reserves for budget-conscious travelers.
Jim Corbett National Park
This is a world-renowned National Park based in Uttarakhand. It covers an area of about 1318 sq km. The Park offers sanctuary to thousands of wild animals, birds, and insects. It has the largest collection of tigers.
The forest reserve is divided into several segments, for instance, Dhikala, Bijrani, etc. Animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts should make this reserve a part of their travel itinerary, especially those on a low budget.
Location: Nainital District, Ramnagar, Uttarakhand.
When to visit: November to February
Ranthambore National Park
This National Park is located in Rajasthan. The Park is noted for adventurous safaris. Previously it happened to be the hunting reserves of the royal family of Rajasthan. But the quick dwindling of the tiger population forced the government to turn it into a National reserve.
The Park is known for its tiger protection facility and the sheer variety of birds that it attracts. Apart from tigers, the reserve also offers shelter to Hyena, Jackel, Sambhar deer, and desert foxes.
Location-Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan
When to visit– April to June
Nagarahole National Park, Karnataka
This Park is also known as the Rajiv Gandhi National Park. It is a premier reserve to spot tigers. Flanked by the Western ghats on one side, the Park has lush green foliage with plenty of sandalwood and teak trees and several meandering strings winding down from the hills.
Jeep safari can be arranged to visit the popular tiger trails. Tourists also sail down the Kabini river in a coracle – a small boat. This offers the best view of the surrounding landscapes. You can even spot the aquatic crocodile and other marine life if you are lucky enough.
Location– Nagarhole Tiger reserve, Hunsur, Karnataka.
When to visit: October to February
Kaziranga National Park, Assam
Lying on the largest flat plain of the Brahmaputra valley, the Kaziranga National Park was started in 1905 to save the horn Rhinoceros from extinction. One horn Rhinoceros were hunted down by poachers for their prized horns.
Apart from its significant contribution to raising the population of the Rhinoceros, visitors can also spot tigers, elephants, and many migratory birds.
Location: Kanchanjuri, Assam
When to visit– November to March.
Keoladeo National Park
Rajasthan sandwiched between Jaipur and Agra lies the Keoladeo National Park. The Park is frequented by Ornithologists due to the immense variety of birds that have made it their home.
Initially, this Park was the hunting ground of the erstwhile maharajas. After that, it became a bird sanctuary and a National Park. The Park has managed to protect some rare and endangered species of migratory birds, for instance, waterfowl, spoonbills, and blackhead ibises.
Location: Bharatpur, Rajasthan
When to visit: October to February.
Best Historical Places to Visit in India
The bygone era is best reflected in the ancient fort and palaces that one’s was the domain of the mighty rulers. A history buff looking for some cheap places in North India should head to the following destinations
Taj Mahal has always held the attention of tourists from India and beyond. It is like a magnet that draws thousands of visitors to this ancient mausoleum.
This gigantic structure was built as a gesture of love by emperor Sahajahan for his beloved Mumtajmahal. Now a well-known UNESCO heritage site, the tomb is beautified by water channels and fountains, making it more spectacular.
When to visit: October to March
Fee: Indian Rs. 50 and foreigners Rs. 1100.
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Standing tall at 234 ft, the minaret displays the brilliance of Mughal architecture. Although ravaged by the forces of nature, this monument has received the world heritage site tag by UNESCO.
Situated at Mehrauli, the work on this monument began in 1192 A.D. Qutb-ud-din-aibak laid the monument’s foundation. Later on, other rulers took turns to add to it.
When to visit: all year round
Fee: Rs. 100 for foreigners and Rs. 30/- for Indians
This war memorial is a reminder of the brave soldiers, popularly referred to as India Gate. They died fighting in the 2nd world war and 3rd Anglo-Afgan War.
India Gate is a popular tourist spot in the heart of Delhi. The Amar Jawan Jyoti burns rightly under the archway as a constant reminder of the sacrifice of these immortal soldiers.
When to visit: February to April
It occupied a prominent position in India’s freedom struggle. This is a garden located in Amritsar. There is a memorial inside the garden erected by the Government of India in 1951.
The memorial is committed in the memory of the Indian citizens. They died at the hands of the British forces while trying to flee from the garden in 1919. The garden even houses several structures which depict the atrocities committed by the British. One of which is the wall which still the bullet marks embedded in it.
Timings: 6.30 am -6.30P.M
Red Fort, Delhi
The Red Fort symbolizes Mughal rule and authority. The fort was constructed in 1648 when Shahjahan insisted on shifting his capital from Delhi to Agra.
The fort takes its name from the red sandstone used to construct it. In 2007 UNESCO gave it the tag of a heritage site.
When to visit: October to February
Fee: Rs. 500 for foreigners, Rs. 20/- for Indians.
India reveled in the glory of former Rajas and Maharajas. Their opulent lifestyle and majestic palace baffled ordinary men.
The only way to satisfy your urge is by visiting these palaces. By doing so, not only will you be able to experience history at its best but also be able to admire the rich culture and heritage of the empire.