Stunning palaces in India you won’t regret visiting

It’s no secret that India is studded with architectural gems of every possible kind – ancient temples and churches, magnificent mosques, imposing forts and opulent havelis. Besides this, the country is a treasure trove of stunning palaces built by kings and emperors who ruled the regions in different epochs. The royal glory of the era bygone is still alive in the form of these architectural marvels, attracting visitors from all over the world. In this blog post, I’ve collected the most stunning palaces in India I was fortunate to visit during my trips. Each of them has a story to tell which will encourage your inner historian to delve deeper into the royal families’ way of living.  

Please bear in mind that the list is incomplete, and I’m going to add new findings to this article as I keep expanding the geography of my travel throughout India. For example, I’m yet to make my way to the South and East, and in the North I’ve only scratched the surface where palaces are concerned. But this is the advantage of being a travel blogger in India – there is always so much to explore!

Udaipur City Palace (Rajasthan)

Udaipur City Palace
Udaipur City Palace is a good example of typical Rajasthani architecture with its jharokhas (overhanging enclosed balconies)
Udaipur City Palace photo
A chamber with stained glass windows
Udaipur City Palace
Elaborate mosaic mural
Udaipur City Palace photo
Every fragment of the exterior is an architectural delight
Udaipur City Palace photo
Udaipur City Palace – the view from lake Pichola

Udaipur City Palaces is impossible to omit when talking about the most stunning palaces in India, and it’s not by chance that it’s mentioned in the very beginning of my list. Facing the Pichola Lake, this majestic complex offers a great panoramic view over the city, unofficially known as Venice of the East. The opulent 16th-century structure represents a beautiful amalgamation of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles and is truly a photographer’s delight.

You may also like: Udaipur City Palace quick facts and photos

Umaid Bhavan Palace (Rajasthan)

Umaid Bhawan Palace
Image Source
View from Jaswant Thada
The view over the Umaid Bhavan Palace from Jaswant Thada, aka the Taj of Marwar
Umaid Bhawan
Inside the Umaid Bhawan Museum. This painting in the exhibition hall depicts a Rajput War. In the background one can see the Mehragharh Fort.

Constructed in the 1940s, the Umaid Bhavan Palace in the blue city of Jodhpur is known as one of the largest private residences in the world. At the moment the complex is divided into three parts, functioning as a museum, a luxurious hotel run by the Taj Hotels, and as a residence of Gaj Singh, the present day Maharaja of Jodhpur. The structure’s classy exterior is an interesting blend of Art Deco, Indo-Saracenic and Classical Revival styles.

Jaipur City Palace (Rajasthan)

Jaipur city palace
Jaipur city palace - stunning palaces in India
Jaipur city palace

Constructed in the 18th century during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, this gigantic complex features an array of palaces, temples, and pavilions. the intricate structure is a pleasure to look at, and it takes almost an entire day to explore the place.

Hawa Mahal (Rajasthan)

Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, is undoubtedly one of the most recognized monuments in the world. Constructed as a giant screen, this structure was used by the royal ladies of Jaipur to observe the street life and festival processions without being seen. With countless windows and overhanging balconies, the stunning red facade of the Hawa Mahal resembles a huge honeycomb, which makes it one of the most extraordinary palaces in India.

Suggested read: Magical Hues of the Hawa Mahal, or The Palace of Winds in Questions and Answers

Laxmi Vilas Palace (Gujarat)

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara, Gujarat
Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara, Gujarat
Laxmi Vilas Palace - beautiful palaces in India
Laxmi Vilas Palace

Ah, this one is my absolute favorite! Incredibly tasteful, unusual, unique, Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara was designed by
Major Charles Mant, who took his own life thinking there were errors in calculations and the structure was bound to collapse. However, the palace has been standing proudly since the end of the 19th century, attracting visitors from all over India and other countries by its breathtaking architecture. Four times larger than the Buckingham Palace, this marvel of a monument is a bold fusion of clashing styles with subtle allusions to a classic Hindu temple, mosque, Catholic church, and gurudwara, all mixed up together to create an unmatched architectural masterpiece.

Prag Mahal Palace (Gujarat)

the prag mahal in bhuj
Prag Mahal in Bhuj, the imposing facade
the prag mahal in bhuj, gujarat
The clock tower rises almost 14 meters in height
the prag mahal in bhuj interior
Climbing the magnificent staircase

The Prag Mahal is undoubtedly the centerpiece of Bhuj that defines the skyline of the city. Commissioned by the local ruler Rao Pragmalji II, it was designed by the talented architect Henry Saint Wilkins and built of the Italian Marble and Indian sandstone. The architectural style of this palace is heavily influenced by European tradition. Unfortunately, this noble 19th-century structure was severely damaged during the devastating earthquake in Bhuj in 2001, and even after restoration works one can still notice cracks in the walls.

Aga Khan Palace (Maharashtra)

Pune Aga Khan Palace
Aga Khan

The Aga Khan Palace in Pune is a place where Mahatma Gandhi spent two years of imprisonment along with his wife Kasturba Gandhi and his secretary Mahadev Desai.  Located away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Aga Khan Palace is a must visit place when in Pune. Not only it boasts both the architectural and historical value, but it also attracts by its quiet feel and peaceful, serene atmosphere.

Kolhapur New Palace (Maharashtra)

Kolhapur New Palace

Built in the end of the 19th century, the New Palace in Kolhapur is a breathtaking example of the royal residence in Maharashtra. This beautiful octagonal structure is still home to Chhatrapati Shivaji‘s direct descendants.

Presidential Palace (Delhi)

Presidential Palace Delhi

Known as the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Presidential Palace in Delhi is a huge 340-room structure which houses the president’s official residence along with numerous offices, guestrooms, conference and reception halls. The 130-hectare area of the estate includes other buildings, sprawling gardens, and open spaces.

These are just a few palaces in India to consider when planning your trip. Which one did you like the most?

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10 thoughts on “Stunning palaces in India you won’t regret visiting

  1. Absolutely stunning architecture – I’m heading to India this month and your photos are really getting me excited for the trip! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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