Monday, 1 April 2013

Umaid Bhawan Palace

The Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan is among the best kept palaces in India. Part of the palace is now run by the Taj Group of Hotels.

Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The red sandstone palace is located on Chittar Hill which is the highest location in the city giving it an imposing view. The palace is clearly visible from the Mehrangarh Fort and vice-versa.

Arms in sandstone

It is said that as the region was going through drought and famine the then ruler commissioned this project to provide employment to people. The construction of this palace started in 1929 and completed in 1943. The red sandstone building is designed by the renowned architect Henry Lanchester. Henry Lanchester was at that time an understudy of Edwin Lutyens who designed New Delhi. An interesting feature is that the chiseled sandstone of the palace have been put together in a system of interlocking without using any mortar.

Coat of Arms of The Royal Family at the Entrance

The palace is surrounded by well maintained lawns and gardens spread over 26 acres. On the premises is also a museum containing the vintage cars owned by the royal family. The vintage car area is in glass enclosures facing west. But the problem is that if you go there in the evening then the reflection and glare makes it a bit frustrating to view the details of the cars. The main museum inside the main building houses antique weapons, clocks, watches and crockery etc.

The Palace with Lawn

A visit to the palace also provides one opportunity to see the city from higher up. The view one gets of the floodlit palace from almost any part of the city below is magnificent.

View of Umaid Bhawan Palace at Night from Jodhpur City

The handing over of part of the palace to a hotel chain has its pluses and minuses. The palace renovation, which is an expensive preposition, is taken care of and also it ensures a steady income to the current Maharaja of Jodhpur. However, only a very small portion of this beautiful 347 room palace remains open for the tourist to look and admire.

Interested to know more about places of interest in Jodhpur? Do read my earlier posts -

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Guda Bishnoi
Umaid Heritage:Water Conservation with Beauty
Ratanada Palace

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