The Seven Most Impressive Palaces in India
Showcasing a wide range of architectural styles, Indiaâ€™s impressive palaces are gateways to the times when Rajas and Maharajas ruled over this land. Some of them have become luxury hotels, offering tourists an unforgettable experience of opulence and comfort. Here are the seven most impressive palaces in India:
7. Leh Palace
Built in the 17th century, by King Sengge Namgya, Leh Palace is a replica of Potala Palace, in Tibet. Constructed on the edge of Namgyal Hill, overlooking the Himalayan town of Leh, Leh Palace is considered one of the most captivating structures in India.
Abandoned in the 19th century, and damaged by Kashmiri cannons, Leh Palace is now in ruin. The Archeological Survey of India has begun its restoration, but tourists are allowed to visit, as long as they watch their step through the dark corridors and staircases of the palace.
6. Presidential Palace in Delhi
Rashtrapati Bhawan is the official residence of the President of India and the largest residence of any Head of State on Earth. The design of the palace belongs to Edwin Landseer Lutyens, a British architect who combined Indian elements with the British style.
Work on the Presidential Palace lasted 17 years and it was finally inaugurated in 1931. It numbers 355 rooms and a floor area of 200,000 square feet. Interestingly enough, no steel was used to build this great palace.
5. Lake Palace
Located on Lake Pichola, in Udaipur, Lake Palace is now a luxury hotel featuring 83 amazing rooms and suites. It was built during the 18th century, by Maharana Jagat Singh and used as a summer residence. During the famous Sepoy Mutiny, Maharana Swawoop Singh allowed many European families to use Lake Palace as refuge and destroyed all the townâ€™s boats, so the rebels couldnâ€™t reach it.
By the mid 19th century, Lake Palace had been damaged by time and the elements, and was completely deserted. Aware of its potential, Bhagwat Singh decided to convert the old Jag Niwas Palace into the first luxury hotel in Udaipur.
4. Jehangiri Mahal
One of the most important buildings inside the impressive Agra Fort, Jhangiri Mahal was the zenana palace (womenâ€™s palace) for the Rajput wives of Akbar. It is an intricately carved five-story structure that oozes grandeur and opulence.
Considered the most important structure built in the Akbar period, Jhangiri Mahal combines a series of features and styles and represents a daring approach in architecture.
3. Palace of Winds
Built in 1799, when women were not allowed to show their faces in public, the Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, was a place where ladies of the royal court could observe the city life of Jaipur, without being seen. The palace faÃ§ade features 953 tiny windows and the breeze (hawa) that passes through them keeps the rooms cool, even in the hot summer months.
The Palace of Winds was commissioned by Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh to resemble the Hindu god, Krishna. This multi-layered structure was built out of red and pink sandstone and carefully outlined with white quakee lime.
2. Jal Mahal
Located in the middle of the picturesque Mansagar Lake, Jal Mahal was built in the 18th century, as a palace for royal duck shooting parties. Although it has subsided into the mud of the lake it used to look over, Jal Mahal is still an extraordinary sight for tourists.
Mansagar Lake runs dry under the scorching summer sun, but during the winter, monsoons turn this place into a regular paradise. The lake becomes covered with water hyacinths and is invaded by various species of exotic birds.
1. Umaid Bhawan
Umaid Bhawan is built on the highest point in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, namely Chittar Hill. Numbering 347 rooms it is the main residence of the Jodhpur royal family and one of the worldâ€™s largest private residences.
The palace took 5,000 workers fifteen years to complete and it was built without a single drop of mortar or cement to connect the bricks. The pieces were joined together through a series of interlocking positive and negative bricks. Umaid Bhawan was designed to always keep the temperature around 23 degrees Celsius, regardless of the weather.
It is now divided into 3 areas: one is a luxury hotel, another serves as residence for the royal family of Jodhpur and the last is an open area where visitors can observe paintings, weapons and artifacts from Jodhpurâ€™s history.