Rajasthan, aka the ‘Land of Kings’, showcases royal India at its best. Ancient forts and exquisite palaces are the perfect backdrops to the rural beauty of Rajasthan.
For hundreds of years, Rajasthani royalty would commission lavish palaces and strong fortresses, many of which are still standing proud today. Most of Rajasthan’s extravagant palaces have since been converted into opulent hotels, and are today the perfect complement to any luxury tour of Rajasthan.
Here are three of our favourite luxury hotels in Rajasthan by the Taj Group. They’re guaranteed to bring out your inner maharaja or maharani:
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
The Taj Group are responsible for many of India’s most extravagant hotels, and the Taj Lake Palace is undoubtedly the jewel in the crown. The Taj Lake Palace is located in Lake Pichola, Udaipur and appears to be elegantly floating on the shimmering waters. A traditional barge collects you from the riverbank and transports you across the waters to the decadent Lake Palace.
Rooms at the Taj Lake Palace are just as enchanting. Each room has a unique history to tell; perhaps the most captivating is the Chandra Prakash Suite, meaning ‘lustre of the moon’. The ornate carvings, sculpted marble columns and fine Rajasthani furniture impressed even the Maharaja who, during the 1930s, held court in this very room.
An experience not to be missed is a boat ride into the glowing sunset on a 150-year-old ceremonial barge; complete with candlelight and a traditionally dressed ore man; it’s an impossibly romantic scene. Indulge in a stroll around the grounds with your butler, armed with pate, bubbly and caviar.
The story goes that a young prince, Maharana Jagat Singh II, built this palace on a beautiful island in Lake Pichola, the heart of Udaipur, to revolt from his father during the 18th century. The island was then known as ‘Jag Niwas’. Construction began in 1743 and was completed in 1746.
The ancient dynasty of Rajasthan, previously known as ‘Mewar’, had an abundance of palaces. In addition to the Taj Lake Palace, there was (and still is) the opulent Udaipur City Palace, which was the official residential palace during winters. What started as a young prince’s rebellious gesture was converted into one of the most romantic hotels in the world by Maharana Bhagwat Singhji in 1963. The Lake Palace’s sumptuous reputation was firmly cemented when the James Bond film ‘Octopussy’ was shot here. The palace was the isolated lair of the film’s Bond girl.
Taj Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
The Taj Rambagh Palace is undoubtedly Jaipur’s most luxurious hotel and was once the residence of the royal family. This extravagant and authentic palace has gracefully stepped through many royal transitions. The Rambagh is a fine example of the elegant life of a Rajasthani maharaja. With exquisite rooms, marbled corridors and majestic gardens, the Rambagh certainly has a story to tell.
The Rambagh Palace is a living legend in Rajasthan and affectionately referred to as the ‘Jewel of Jaipur’. Initially constructed in 1835, the palace has served as a royal residence, royal guesthouse and a hunting lodge. Until 1957, the Rambagh was the home of Jaipur’s maharajas. It was then converted into a luxury hotel, which has since had the pleasure of welcoming Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Charles, Jacqueline Kennedy and many more stars.
The Taj Rambagh offers a selection of lavish rooms; including Palace Rooms, Historical Suites, Royal Suites, Grand Royal Suites and the Grand Presidential Suite. The latter of which boasts 1,800 square feet and on-call personal butler, with arched French windows opening out on to Mughal gardens, Nahargarh Fort and the Aravali mountain range.
Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur
The Umaid Bhawan Palace, again a Taj Group hotel, is the last of Rajasthan’s great palaces. Built between 1928 and 1943, for Maharaja Umaid Singh II, the castle was instigated as a means of employment for locals during a period of drought and famine. The Umaid Bhawan Palace was intended to replace Mehrangarh Fort as the pride of Jodhpur.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace is nestled high above the Blue City of Jodhpur, looming over the vivid sky-blue buildings below. The palace is also one of the largest private residences in the world, set amongst 26 acres of gardens.
The palace was constructed on a dazzling scale; a nod to the great Rajasthani palaces of the past. Also known as ‘Chittar Palace’ due to the local Chittar sandstone used to build it, the Umaid Bhawan Palace has served as the principal residence of the Jodhpur royal family since 1943.
The palace was designed by Edwardian architect Henry Lanchester and is a fusion of eastern and western influences.
There is a selection of rooms and suites to choose between at the Umaid Bhawan Palace; from Palace Rooms, Historical Suites and Royal Suites, to the Grand Royal Suite, the Maharaja Suite, and the Maharani Suite. The Maharaja Suite (‘king’s suite’) is adjacent to the Maharani Suite (‘queen’s suite’), separated by a crystal fountain. Inside, there are murals of leopards and tigers, along with faux leopard skin sofas and original artefacts.
Not to be missed is a ‘Champagne Museum Walk’ through the palaces very own museum. The Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum houses a grand selection of Victorian and Edwardian watches, porcelain, 19th and 20th-century weapons, royal miniature paintings and intricate cutlery from the Maharaja’s collection.
Are you feeling inspired and ready to get started? Please get in touch to begin planning your tailor-made Rajasthan tour. As a preferred partner of the Taj Group, we have fantastic discounts and complimentary extras to share with you. As a starting point, you might find our suggested Luxury Rajasthan Tour with Taj Hotels inspiring. Our Ultimate Luxury India Tour is fabulous, too.0