As far as wildlife is concerned, the Indian peninsula is a continent in itself where the sheer diversity of the wildlife astounds you with more than 350 species of mammals and 1200 avifauna species in the country.
The people want to do only one thing in the cities during the summers – they want to get away from it. They want a cool getaway in India itself where they can have some respite from the scorching heat of the plains.
The State of Rajasthan is known for its regal splendour that is reflected from its magnificent palaces. If taken in the singular, a Rajasthan Palace, is a place of immense beauty and architectural elegance, and is a symbol of the glorious past of this desert State.
Many of the Rajasthan Palaces have been converted into heritage hotels and nearly all of them are on the heritage list. These heritage palaces are the absolute word in grandeur, majesty, and elegance.
Amer Palace, Jaipur
This Rajasthan Palace is located within the precincts of the Amber Fort, situated 11 km from Jaipur. Formerly Amber was the capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs. The Amer Palace overlooking the scenic Maotha Lake, was constructed over a period of 2 centuries with Raja Man Singh I providing the start and ending with the endeavours of Sawai Jai Singh II
This heritage palace has a classical fusion of both Rajput and Mughal architecture. Built from white marble and red sandstone, the palace has an abundance of royal apartments, enclosed gardens, ornate halls, temples, pillared pavilions etc. The places of interest within the Amer Palace are ‘Sheesh Mahal’, ‘Jai Mandir’, ‘Sukh Niwas’, ‘Diwan-E-Aaam’, ‘Diwan-E-Khaas’, and the garden known as ‘Kesar Kyari’
City Palace, Jaipur
The City Palace, Jaipur is situated bang in the middle of Jaipur City. Sawai Jai Singh, was the ruler behind this massive complex that is the absolute word in imposing architecture, which is a hallmark of Rajasthan. As in many of the buildings of Rajasthan the architecture of City Palace is the confluence of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.
The royal family of Rajasthan still lives in a part of the palace and the rest is open for visitors. Once you enter the complex, you will first come across the Mubarak Mahal, which was used to welcome the guests to the City Palace. This is one of the Rajasthan heritage palaces that have been converted into a museum and the Mubarak Mahal, now houses, royal costumes, priceless, Pashmina shawls, and various other clothes that were worn by the former rules of Jaipur.
The Maharani Palace, a part of City Palace, has a display of unique Rajput weaponry and most of them are in a remarkable state of preservation. An important place to see is the marbled hall that is known as the Diwan-I-Khaas, or the hall of private audience, which has two gigantic silver vessels on display. The ceiling of this magnificent palace has exquisite chandeliers that still reflect the beauty of the times gone by.
Other objects of display in the City Palace, Jaipur are, miniature painting, rare manuscripts, object‘d’ art, elephant saddles, ornaments etc.
City Palace, Udaipur
The massive City Palace, Udaipur towers over the city of Udaipur in all its glory. It was Maharana Uday Singh, who started the construction of the City Palace, Udaipur, and over a period of time various rulers added their own structures to the complex and the surprising part is that this Rajasthan heritage palace has a deeply ingrained uniformity as a whole.
As in the case of most Rajasthan heritage palaces, even this magnificent palace has been converted into a museum, which has a fascinating collection of artefacts. Visitors are welcomed to this Rajasthan Palace by the Hathi Pol or the Elephant Gate. After that you arrive at the Bari Pol or the Big Gate, whose auspices lead you to the Tripolia, or the Triple gate.
You can see the Suraj Gokhanda, which was the balcony that was used to grant public audiences. Another interesting part of the City Palace, Udaipur is the Mor Chawk, or the peacock square, and the name is a result of the vivid wall decoration that takes the form of blue peacock mosaic. Other interesting parts of the palace include the Manak Mahal or ruby palace, Moti Mahal or the pearl palace, Chini Mahal or the palace of ornamental tiles.
You can also view the magnificence of Surya Chopar, Bari Mahal, Zenana Mahal, and Lakshmi Chowk.
Lake Palace, UdaipurThis Rajasthan palace is now a heritage hotel run by the Taj Group. Located in the middle of Lake Pichola on Jag Niwas Island, this lovely Rajasthan Palace was built by Maharaja Jagat Singh; its appearance is almost magical. The Lake Palace, Udaipur is a fine example of intricate craftsmanship, exotic themes, and scenic location and these are some of its endearing features.
The Lake Palace, Udaipur is arguably one of the finest Rajasthan heritage palaces in the world and its 4 acres of land support a regal courtyard, the summer resort, balconies, pillared terraces, fountains, and gardens.
The Bada Mahal, Ajjan Niwas, Phool Mahal, Dhola Mahal, and Kush Mahal are some of the places of interest in this opulent palace.
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
The Maharaja who built this palace, Umaid Singh Ji, was supremely fascinated with western lifestyles and hence recruited the services of Henry Vaughan a famous Edwardian architect, to construct the sprawling Umaid Bhawan Palace, which has 347 rooms.
As can be imagined, this is one of largest private residences in the world, and is one of India’s last great palaces. Its spectacular central rotunda or the cupola rises to a height of a hundred and five feet and is truly a spectacular sight altogether. Other sights in the Umaid Bhawan Palace are the throne room, which has murals depicting the Ramayana, a wood-panelled library, indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, billiards room, squash courts, and even a private museum.
This outstanding palace is made from a type of sandstone that does not weather. This is also one of the Rajasthan heritage palaces that have been converted into heritage hotels.
Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner
This architectural marvel made from red sandstone was built in honour of the Maharaja Lal Singh Ji by his son Ganga Singh Ji in the year 1902. The Lalgarh Palace is an Indian fantasy that is an eclectic mixture of European, Mughal, and Rajput architecture. Visitors will be absolutely mesmerized by the exquisite lattice and filigree work that are the symbols of skilled Rajput craftsmanship.
The Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner is also part museum and displays an amazing collection of hunting trophies, well-maintained paintings, amongst many others. Beautifully terraced lawns surrounded by bougainvillea bushes surround this Rajasthan palace, which has also been partly converted into a heritage hotel.
Rana Kumbha Palace
The Rana kumbha Palace is located inside the walls of the Chittorgarh Fort, and visitors to this fort will only be greeted by a ruined edifice that gives them a fair idea of the beauty of the palace in its hey days. The Rana Kumbha Palace is well-known for its historical interest and as the palace wherein Rani Padmini, and other women self immolated themselves, to protect their pride and honour.
Taragarh Palace, Bundi
Built in 1345, this fort is now in ruins but still a thing of great elegance. This is a Rajasthan heritage palace that has huge ramparts and huge reservoirs within its walls and is perched on a hilltop.