A heady blend of traditions, religion, scenery and breathtaking venues make organising a destination wedding in India perfectly viable. From the hilltop Neemrana Fort to the seaside cliffs of Raviz Kovalam and heritage palaces like Falaknuma, use our list of the most beautiful wedding venues in India to pick your perfect destination.
City Palace, Udaipur
Udaipur has a romantic setting that’s hard to match, backed by the distant Aravalli mountains, with fantastical palaces, temples and heritage hotels adding charm. Members of Hollywood royalty love this massive complex of opulent marble and granite forts and royal palaces that serve as wedding venues. Also hugely popular is Shiv Niwas Palace, the crescent-shaped flagship hotel, with its flagged turrets, expansive balconies and cupolas towering over Pichola Lake. On an island in the middle is Jagmandir Palace, where you can also tie the knot in serene splendour.
Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Built in 1835, the Rambagh Palace was once the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Now, all 47 manicured acres (19ha) offer guests of this five-star Taj-branded hotel a palatial experience, with history and flawless service. This former hunting lodge and royal residence keeps things high-end inside and out with antique-lined high-ceilinged rooms, hand-carved marble latticework, elaborate Mughal gardens, strutting peacocks and croquet lawns. Enjoy a regal Indian wedding at Maharani Mahal, the former palace ballroom embellished with an antique mirrored ceiling, silk panelling and huge crystal chandeliers leading onto a lawn and flower-filled gardens.
Palace Grounds, Bangalore
The Bangalore Palace was the home of the royal Wadiyar family, styled with a heavy nod to Windsor Castle in a Tudor Revival architectural style, complete with turrets, battlements and a ballroom. The vast grounds that surround the property have proved a popular venue for concerts, attracting big names such as the Black Eyed Peas and the Rolling Stones. They are also the perfect setting for an Indian wedding with a difference on the sprawling lawns leading away from the main house.
Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur
Positioned regally on Chittar Hill, the highest point in Rajasthan’s desert capital of Jodhpur, this heritage palace hotel comes with magnificent views of the historic Blue City, vast sand dunes and the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest in the country. Umaid Bhawan Palace embraces a family museum, the private residence of the Jodhpur royal family as well as the five-star Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel – a prime wedding venue in India. The sandstone palace is cocooned amid 26 acres (10ha) of lush lawns, with peacocks and a subterranean swimming pool.
Guests choose to tie the knot at this hotel for the beautiful courtyards and grand colonnaded, sandstone Rajasthani architecture and heritage. On the edge of the Thar Desert, it has tranquil grounds holding cooling fountains and romantic lantern-lit courtyards. Celebrate your wedding with halwai breakfasts (which feature traditional Rajasthani sweets and samosas), jazz brunches, desert gypsy galas and Silk Route sangeet (pre-nuptial) dinners. The hotel’s expert guides take guests camel riding, as well as exploring Rajasthan’s lost cities, forgotten fortresses and ancient temples by 4×4.
Jai Mahal Palace, Jaipur
Jai Mahal Palace welcomes guests with corridors that exude the scent of roses, jasmine and sandalwood – just part of the gorgeous interiors at this extravagant affair, from geometric marble floors to stencilled floral drawings on the ceiling. The hotel is perfect for weddings and honeymoons, given its romantic Indo-Saracenic architecture, set amidst 18 acres (7ha) of landscaped Mughal gardens; large fairytale weddings are a regular sight on the palace lawns.
Neemrana Fort, Rajasthan
Set in a 15th-century palace, this heritage resort spreads over the ancient Aravalli hills of the desert state. With multiple levels and palatial wings, it was meticulously restored in the 1990s – the inspiration for rooms came from Indian antiquity, among other historical sources. The Rajasthan desert creates a photogenic backdrop for couples pledging commitment among pretty rooftop gardens and romantic terraces set into the hillside. Or there are elaborate walkways, turquoise slices of swimming pools and hanging gardens. When when the party’s over, treat your guests to a hot-air balloon ride over the village.
ITC Grand Goa – a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa
Basking in a prime position near the Arabian Sea in southern Goa, this beachfront hotel is blessed with 45 acres (18ha) that take in tropical gardens ripe with banyan, palm and mango trees and laid with lagoons and waterways linked by cobbled pathways and pretty bridges. It was designed as a Portuguese-Indian palace, and its low-level pousada-style rooms are beautifully furnished with dark wood four-poster beds, floors and ceilings. Venues for weddings include the breeze-cooled lawns overlooking Bambolim Bay or the glamour of the grand ballroom.
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Welcome to the uber-luxurious former royal residence of the Nizam of Hyderabad, built in 1894 and now part of the Taj hotel group: a perfect pad for couples with its colonial-style architecture and mesmerising city views. The stately edifice wows guests with Venetian chandeliers, French tapestries and original art. Rooms feature pretty floral touches, authentic wood-beamed ceilings and oak flooring. You can get married in a choice of spaces, including the Rajasthani Gardens featuring intricate Rajput architecture, the gilt-edged Ballroom Durbar Hall or al fresco on the expansive lawns that look beautiful against the white palace backdrop.
The Raviz Kovalam
This clifftop contemporary five-star is cradled between sandy coves along the famed Kovalam coastline. Lush, jasmine-scented grounds are lined with palm trees ruffled by the breeze blowing in off the Arabian Sea. There are various scenic spots from which to watch romantic sunsets, including two terraced infinity pools. And where might you marry? The hotel has numerous spaces varying in size – perhaps you could try the soft sands of the hotel’s private beach, or the clifftop Maya banquet hall in the scenic gardens.
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