10 Strikingly Beautiful Indian Palaces

Photo of Vrushali Prabhu
12 July 2017

Indian parenting includes a healthy dose of outdoor playing, home-cooked food and bedtime stories. Most have grown up listening to sagas of Shivaji Maharaj to Rana Pratap Singh. India was constituted of princely states and hence boast of large number of forts and palaces. Many have been preserved as museums, but there are quite a few where you can spend a night or two feeling royal. While most of the palaces are in Rajasthan thanks to the Mughal and Rajput kings, there are some off-beat and noteworthy palaces spanning from the south to the north.

Amar Mahal Place

Library, Monastery, Museum
Amar Mahal Palace
Amar Mahal Palace | © Nvvchar/WikimediaCommons
The Amar Mahal Palace can be found in Jammu, now converted into a museum. It was built in the nineteenth century for Raja Amar Singh, and is reminiscent of a French Chateau. It has many exhibits including a golden throne weighing 120 kilograms, Pahari and Kangra minature paintings, and a library of 25,000 antique books covering topics from religion to philosophy and political science to fiction including many rare art collections. Along with that, it also houses the paintings of some well-known Indian artists like M.F.Hussain, J.Swaminathan, G. R. Santosh, Bikash Battacharjee, Ram Kumar, Laxman Pai and epic paintings depicting scenes from mythology like Nala-Damyanti and Dashavtara.

Leh Palace

Leh Palace is a royal palace overlooking the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh. It was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. The palace provides incredible panoramic views of the Zangskar and Ladakh mountain ranges. Here you can find a rich collection of jewelry, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns, as well as Tibetan thangka or sooth paintings dated to about 450 years ago. These are intricate paintings and their pleasing and bright colors were rendered by crushed and powdered gems and stones.

Leh Palace, Namgyal Hill, Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, India +91 1982 252 297

Maharaja Palace Baroda

Building, Museum, School
The term ‘Maharaja’ is a name given to a number of palaces constructed by the Gaekwad Royal family, during their stay in Gujarat. The palace was built on the lines of large European country house and had amenities like elevators. The Darbar Hall was constructed with a Venetian mosaic and the stained glass windows are from Belgium. The courtyard outside the Darbar Hall has Italian fountains.The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble and terracotta by Fellici. The palace covers an area of 700 acres and houses numerous buildings, particularly the Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum. One can see animals like languor and peacocks strolling the grounds of the palace. The Museum building that was meant to be a school for the Maharaja’s children houses a large number of works of art belonging to the Royal family, especially works by Raja Ravi Varma.

New Palace Kolhapur

New Palace Kolhapur
New Palace Kolhapur | © Shakher59/Wikimedia Commons
The construction of the New Palace highlights the contrasting features of basalt and sandstone. The South façade is a two-story structure constructed in neo-Mughal style with temple like columns and brackets. This theme is then taken over by the trefoil arches capped with curving cornices and small domes. The ground floor of the New Palace accommodates the Shahaji Chhatrapati Museum, which has memorabilia of the Kolhapur rulers. It is dedicated to a fine collection of possessions of Chhatrapatis of Kolhapur like costumes, weapons, games, jewelry, embroidery and paraphernalia such as silver elephant saddles. There is also one of Aurangzeb’s swords at the Shahaji Chhatrapati Museum.

Gazner Palace

Gajner Palace, described as ‘an incomparable jewel in the Thar desert’ was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh Ji of Bikaner. The palace was used by Maharaja for grand shoots and lavish entertainment. Both international and Indian royalty, viceroys and other dignitaries have been entertained at this grand palace. It was built in red sandstone with intricately carved pillars, jharokhas and screens. It is surrounded by a beautiful wooded area, now a preserved sanctuary which provides shelter to chinkaras, blackbucks, blue bull (neel gai) and flocks of imperial sand grouse.

Ganjer Palace, Kolayat, Gajner, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India

Jai Vilas Mahal

Jai Vilas Mahal, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
Jai Vilas Mahal, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh | © Mohitkjain123/Wikimedia Commons
The Jai Vilas Mahal was established in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the Maharaja of Gwalior, and it is still the residence of his descendants the former royal Maratha Scindia dynasty. The palace has 400 rooms from which exclusively 40 rooms are transformed into the Jiwaji Rao Scindia Museum. Two Belgian chandeliers at Durbar Hall weighing 7 tons each are believed to be one of the largest in the world.

Bolgatty Palace

Bolgatty Palace was built by the Dutch in India, located on the island popularly known as Bolgatty Island in Kochi, Kerala. One of the oldest existing Dutch palaces outside Holland, this quaint mansion, built in 1744, was later extended and gardens were landscaped around it. The building was then the Governor’s palace for the commander of Dutch Malabar, and later in 1909 it was leased to the British. It served as the home of the British Governors, being the seat of the British Resident of Cochin during the British Raj. In 1947, when India attained independence, the palace became the property of the state and was later converted into a heritage hotel resort. Bolgatty Palace now has a swimming pool, 9-hole golf course, Ayurvedic centre and daily Kathakali performances. It is a holiday destination for Indian and international tourists. There is a temple dedicated to Shiva that is the first of its kind in Kerala.

Ujjayant Palace

Monastery, Museum
Ujjayata Palace
Ujjayata Palace | © Sharada Prasad CS/Flickr
The Ujjayanta Palace is a former royal palace of the Tripura (princely state) situated in Agartala, the capital of the Indian state of Tripura. The Palace stands on the banks of a small lake surrounded by the lush greenery of Mughal gardens in Agartala, sprawling over 28 hectares of parkland. The exotic palace has several Hindu temples dedicated to Lakshmi Narayan, Uma-Maheshwari, Kali and Jagannath. It houses the largest museum in northeast India covering an area of over 800 acres of land in the capital city. The museum showcases the lifestyle, arts, culture, tradition and utility crafts, beside the customs and practices of various communities residing in northeast India. The name ‘Ujjayanta Palace’ was given by Rabindranath Tagore.

Marble Palace

Building, Museum
Marble Palace, Kolkata | © Mjanich / WikiCommons
Marble Palace, Kolkata | © Mjanich / WikiCommons
Marble Palace is a palatial nineteenth-century mansion in North Kolkata. The house was built in 1835 by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy Bengali merchant with a passion for collecting works of art.The house is Neoclassical in style, while the plan with its open courtyards is largely traditional Bengali. Adjacent to the courtyard, there is a thakur-dalan, or place of worship for members of the family. The three-story building has tall fluted Corinthian pillars and ornamented verandas with fretwork and sloping roofs, built in the style of a Chinese pavilion. The premises also include a garden with lawns, a rock garden, a lake and a small zoo.

Kangla Palace,Imphal, Manipur

The Palace of Kangla is an old palace at Imphal in Manipur (Kangleipak). It is situated on the western side of the bank of the Imphal River. Kangla means ‘dry land’ in old Meetei. It was the traditional seat of the past Meetei rulers of Manipur. Kangla is not only the seat of political power, but it also a holy place for religious worship and ceremonies.

Kangla Fort | © Meghroddur/Flickr

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