India has witnessed great rulers and emperors. Be it Ashoka and Akbar of North or Tippu Sultan and Shivaji of South, India has had its share of brave heroes. What our kings left behind for us are palaces that leave you amazed.If you love and appreciate architecture, these are six palaces you definitely don’t want to miss:
City Palace, Udaipur
This list aptly starts with Udaipur – the land of palaces. The City Palace is not just one palace, but a series of palaces built over a period of 400 years. It is hard to decide which is better – the view within or the view outside. What awaits you inside is a perfect blend of Mughal and Rajasthan architecture, which is sso beautifully reflected on its numerous courtyards, corridors and gardens. The palace being built on hilltop gives you a spectacular view of the lake and the famous monuments the lake holds, like the Lake palace, Jag Mandir, Jagdish temple to name a few. Given the magnificence and brilliance of the palace, it is not so surprising that Octopussy (a James Bond movie) was filmed here.
Amba Vilas Palace, Mysore
Most commonly known as the Mysore Palace, the Amba Vilas Palace is next big tourist spot after Taj Mahal. It was built by the Wodeyars – the Royal family of Mysore. The architecture is of Indo-Sarascenic style. It has elements from the Hindu, Gothic, Muslim and Rajput style. The palace is built facing the Chamundi hills for a reason: the kings were profound devotees of Goddess Chamundi, which explains the presence of three temples inside the fort, build in her honor. This is excluding the 18 temples that are part of the main palace. You must visit this palace during the famous Dasara festival, where it lights up like a bride on her wedding day. There is performance from various artists, a parade of elephants and a city full of celebrations. A palace lit with 96000 lights awaits you in Mysore.
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur
A palace in red and pink, Hawa Mahal in Jaipur is unlike other palaces one usually finds in India. The whole idea of the palace was to allow the Royal women to watch the proceedings of the city without being seen. In the process, the king built a high raised wall with 953 windows which made it look like a honeycomb. The structure was built resembling the crown of the Hindu God Krishna. Each window of the palace has intricate design; the insides showcase a fusion of Rajput Hindu style and Islamic Mughal style architecture. When the sun peeps through the colored glasses of the chamber, it is a royal spectrum of colors putting on a brilliant show.
Laxmi Vilas Palace, Gujarat
This palace for sure is a star. One, it is four times bigger than Buckingham Palace itself, and two it is the largest private residence built till date. You could almost do a mini world architectural study within the palace itself. There iareVenetian Mosaic floors; the glass windows come from Belgium, not to mention the courtyard is from Italy. Don’t be surprised if peacocks greet you, or if you find original paintings of the renowned Raja Ravi Varma, or even bump into a miniature railway line. Now that is more like royalty and splendor at its best.
Cooch Behar Palace, West Bengal
The Cooch Behar Palace is built on the model of Buckingham Palace. It is also known as the Victor Jubilee Palace. What makes the palace so attractive is the classiness and magnificence it holds. Built in the Renaissance style of architecture, the palace has a tomb that goes up to 124 feet. The interior of this tomb is carved in different patterns and what holds the tomb is columns styled in the Corinthian order.
Mandir Palace, Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer is a city of architectural marvels with golden forts, stone carvings and remarkable sand dunes. A gem on this crown is the Mandir Palace that housed the royal family for over two centuries. The palace is full of architectural brilliance. It is elegant, beautiful,intricate and just so entrancing. Craftsmanship at its best, the interiors, balconies, pillars and walls leave you spell bound.
As much as we appreciate modern art and contemporary styles of design, our love for palaces and ancient architecture has not left us. And our palaces are living testimonies of the great past we cherished. Kings and Queens might be bygone, but we still treasure the royalty of our palaces.
This article was submitted by guest contributor, Rohit Agarwal. He is an avid traveler and, blogger at Transindiatravels.com. His passion for exploring has taken him to places all around the world. The accounts of his travel experiences act as a guide to other travel enthusiasts.