The state of Rajasthan is a repository of magnificent palaces and havelis that are rich in historical value and showcases some of the most spectacular styles of architecture.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
The prime attraction of Rajasthan, Hawa mahal, is also known as the Palace of winds. Build in the year 1799 by Raja Sawai Pratap Singh, the palace then served as the windows to the royal ladies for viewing processions and other activities happening on the streets. The Mahal stands on a 50 feet high podium and is know for its 953 small casements and can be visited on Jaipur tour packages.
The palace has five storeys and the facade has semi-octagonal overhanging windows with perforated screens, curvilinear roofs, domes and finials. Interestingly, as compared to the elaborate exteriors, the inside of the palace is very simple.
Timings - 9am to 4:30 pm
Entry Fee - Rs 5 per head
Camera Fee - Still Camera (Rs 10 for Indian and Rs 30 for Foreigners). Video Camera (Rs 20 for Indian and Rs 70 for Foreigners)
City Palace, Jaipur
This is an integral part of Jaipur, known for its exquisite design and magnificent appearance. The structure was built in the 19th century by Sawai Madho Singh and has many attractions. To begin with is the Atish Pol, which marks the entrance as well. Further from here comes the Mubarak Mahal, which is exquisite in marble and sandstone. It then served as a royal guest house, today it has been converted into the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum that houses costumes, miniature paintings, historical memorabilia etc. This is a popular palace one should not miss on their holidays in Rjasthan.
Moving north from here is the Sileh Khana that houses an armoury. The Diwan-e-Aam, hall of public audience is known for its painted walls, cut-glass chandeliers and massive marble pillars. The Pritam Niwas Chowk is an enclosed courtyard where once dance performances were held. Govingdi Temple and Chandra Mahal are other popular attractions located within the City Palace in Jaipur. Only a part of this palace is open for public view, as the former Maharaja and his family occupy a part of the palace.
Timings - 9:30 am till 4:45 pm.
Entry Fee - Rs 35 for Indians and Rs 180 for foreigners. Children Rs 20 fro Indian and Rs 75 for foreigners (inclusive of entry to Jaigarh)
Camera Fee - Still Camera (Rs 20 for Indian and Rs 50 for Foreigners). Video Camera (Rs 200).
Guide - English (Rs200) and Hindi (Rs 100) for 1 hour tour.
City Palace, Udaipur
Located amidst Lake Pichola, Udaipur City Palace is one of the most scenic palaces in India. Claims to be the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, City Palace is a enticing structure included in most of Udaipur tours. Built in the 16th century, the was built by Udai Singh. Some of the main attractions in the palace includes Tripolia Gate, famous for its seven arches to its left.
The City Palace Museum complex is a treat to the eyes with narrow passages and terraces patios. The museum includes paintings from Mewar, Kaanch ki Burj (a chamber with its walls laid in red and silver glass), Krishna Niwas ( a room filled with miniature Mewar Paintings). The museum is open on all days from 9:30 am till 4:30 pm and charge Rs 50 per adult and Rs 30 per child.
The Government Museum is located within the palace complex and showcases a vast collection of sculptures, miniature paintings and eclectic exhibits. The museum is opened from 10 in the morning till 5 in the closed and remains closed on Fridays. Entry fee - Rs 3 per head.
The Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace is another wonderful attraction not to be missed. Displaying a profligate of wealth, the crystal house is open on all days from 10 in the morning till 8 in the evening. The entry fee of Rs 325 for adults and Rs 165 for children, is a little too overwhelming.
Lalgarh Palace, Bikaner
Lalgarh Palace enjoy a celebrated status among the palaces in Rajasthan tours in North India. Named after Maharaja Lall Singh, the palace was built in the year 1902 by the then king, Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji. Built entirely of red sandstone, the palace is an example of Rajput architecture and known for its Jalis or pierces stone screens. Another important attraction inside the palace is the Maharaja Sadul Singh Museum that highlights impressive corridors and spectacular stone crafts.
Timings - 10 am till 5 pm
Entrance Fee - Rs 10 for Indians and Rs 20 for Foreigners. The price includes the entry to museum as well.
Camera Fee - Still Camera (Rs 30). Video Camera (Rs 100).
Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
The magnificent Umaid Bhawan in Jodhpur is one of the most popular palace complexes in the country. Built entirely from sandstone, the construction of the palace was started in the 1920’s when the then Maharaja of Jodhpur ordered the construction of the palace in order to give some relief to the famine stricken people.
The palace was turned into a hotel in the year 1977 and today it is divided in three sections - the royal apartment where the royal family still resides, the hotel that is run by the Taj Group and a Museum. Though no one is allowed to enter the royal apartments, tourists can enter the hotel wing, but have to pay a cover charge of Rs 800, that is adjusted against the expense of eating and drinking inside the hotel.
The third section of Umaid Bhawan Palace of the palace has a Museum that showcases a rich display of royal artifacts belonging to the royal family. The collection of clock on display here should not be missed.
Timings - 9 am to 5 pm.
Entrance Fee - Rs 800 for Hotel. Museum Entry - Rs 20 for Indian and Rs 50 for foreigners. Cameras - Not Allowed.
City Palace, Alwar
The City Palace in Alwar was built by Raja Bakhtawar Singh in the year 1793 AD. This palace complex is accessed through a gateway with projecting balconies on either side. What once served as the royal home to the erstwhile kings, today has been converted into a district collectorate office. Some of the main attractions with the palace are the Krishna temples, located on all the four sides beyond the main gate. The tank, Sagar, and the Moosi Rani ki Chhatri are located just behind the temple. The best time to visit this palace is early morning when the sun shines brightly yon the facade creating a mesmerising view. The Museum located on the top of the palace is another attraction. Divided in three sections, the first hall includes royal robes and clay toys. The second hall displays paintings and large canvases of kings from various periods of history. Weapons, and armours are the main things to see in the third hall.
Timings - 10 am till 5 pm, Closed on Friday
Entry Fee - Rs 3 per head
Monsoon Palace, Udaipur
Earlier known as Sajjan Garh, the Monsoon Palace was built in the 19th century by Sajjan Singh. Constructed with the intention of serving as an astronomical center, the palace today lies deserted. Located on he Banswara Hill, tourists need to take a small scenic drive to reach the palace.
Timings - 10 am till 6 pm, open on all days
Entry Fee - Rs 80 per vehicle.
Jal Mahal, Jaipur
The Jal Mahal in Jaipur is one of the most beautiful palace in India. Located in the midst of Man Sagar Lake, the palace was constructed in the year 18th century during the rule of Madho Singh I. The palace was built as a leisure spot from where the royal men could enjoying duck hunting parties. This is a five storey palace of which four floors are submerged in the water.
Tourists are not allowed to go inside the palace and they can only see it from the roadside.
Deogarh Mahal, Udaipur
Built in the 17th cnetury, Deogarh Maha in Udaipur is an imposing structure located idyllically surrounded by Aravalli hills and panoramic lakes. The battlements, high domes, turrets, intricately carved jharokhas, massive gateways and a rich collection of miniature paintings are some of the attractions that draws tourists to the Deogarh Mahal in Udaipur.
The fort was made as a royal residence and a portion of it has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Besides the above mentioned palaces, there are many other palace complexes that today have been converted into heritage hotels and do not allow sight seeing. Some of these hotel-converted palace includes Udai Bila Palace, Narayan Niwas Palace, Balsammand Palace and Roop Niwas Palace. These palace hotels are illustrious for their excellent accommodation and world class facilties.
Rajasthan, one of the famous famous holiday destination in the world is dotted with magnificent palaces complexes. Plan a Palace Tours to Rajasthan and experience some of history’s best kept secrets.