8 Most Impressive Palaces in India

Thursday, February 7, 2019

India has a long list of rulers, and each of them contributed to its magnificence. Their residences, the palaces, and forts they built show the richness of India, regarding its heritage. The palaces in India are a special treat for every eye.

Every kingdom had a different taste which styled their architectural products. Seeing the places in the present, we can only imagine how luxurious lifestyles the kings and queens enjoyed.

While these palaces are recognized as some of the most beautiful tourist spots, some of them still house the royal family. Here is the list of some of the most luxurious palaces in India, and I start with the capital.

#1: Red Fort – Delhi

The majestic Red Fort in Delhi was built by Shah Jahan, the 5th Mughal Emperor.
The majestic Red Fort in Delhi was built by Shah Jahan, the 5th Mughal Emperor.

The capital of India houses one of the architectural excellence of the Mughal Empire. The Lal Qila (Red Fort) which was the residence of the Mughals for nearly 200 years, is now a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Although parts of it got destroyed when the British took it in 1857, it’s still one of the well-preserved palaces in India. Surrounded by walls of red sandstone, the entire complex is made in the Islamic style. But there also is a mixture of Hindu, Persian and Timurid architecture. Apart from red stones, marbles are widely used in the monuments, and the architectural style has been copied in many structures in the north.

Read more: Visit Taj Mahal and Other Temples in India!

Situated in the heart of Delhi, the fort holds a light and sound show every evening to help you get a glimpse of its history. The easiest way to get to the Red Fort is to land at the Red Fort metro station. From there, you just exit the station from the 4th gate and you can see the Red Fort from your left side!

The entry fee to the Red Fort for Indian tourists and tourists from SAARC countries is 35 Indian Rupees while the fee for foreign tourists is 500 Indian Rupees.

#2: Amba Vilas Palace – Karnataka

Amba Vilas Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in India that is inspired by numerous architectural styles.
Amba Vilas Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces in India that is inspired by numerous architectural styles.

Built in 1912, Amba Vilas Palace (aka Mysore Palace) is one of the most beautiful palaces in India. It is the official residence of the royal family, the Wodeyars. Surrounded by gardens, the architecture of the palace takes inspiration from Hindu, Mughal, Rajput as well as Gothic styles.

There are 14 Hindu temples in the complex, and it also holds the famous Mysore Dasara festival. On this occasion, elephants and horses parade on the gardens, and the entire three-story architecture is decorated with lights.

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Amba Vilas Palace is situated in the center of Mysore and Mysore is connected well by roads and railways to nearby towns. The nearest airport is at Bengaluru (or Bangalore) and is a 3-hour drive away.

#3: Jai Vilas Palace – Madhya Pradesh

Jai Vilas Mahal is a true wonder of architecture, taking inspiration from Italian and Corinthian styles.
Jai Vilas Mahal is a true wonder of architecture, taking inspiration from Italian and Corinthian styles.

Built in the year 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, this palace is an architectural marvel. This magnificent architecture consisting of 400 rooms is situated in the heart of Gwalior and is a fusion of Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian style.

The entrance to the palace, the Durbar Hall is furnished with gilt and gold and topped up with huge chandeliers. Although a part of it is still the residence of the Scindias, 40 rooms of this majestic Jai Vilas Palace are now used for exhibitions as the Jayajirao Scindia museum.

The price for the entry ticket for the Jai Vilas Palace is 100 Rupees for Indian tourists and 600 Rupees for foreign tourists.

The Gwalior airport has regular flights from major cities of India, and if you want to travel by road, it’s at a distance of about 300 km from Delhi. 

#4: Golconda Fort – Telangana

It is said that one of the secrets of Golconda Fort is the underground tunnel that leads to one of the palaces on the bottom of the hill.
It is said that one of the secrets of Golconda Fort is the underground tunnel that leads to one of the palaces on the bottom of the hill.

Located on the western side of Hyderabad, this fort is built on a granite hill. It was made in the 12th century by the then king. The Bahmani Sultans then ruled the place, and the last to rule were the kings of Qutub Shahi dynasty. Aurangzeb, a Mughal emperor, then took it over in 1687 and left it in ruins.

The inner fort has the ruins, mosques and the Bala Hisar pavilion. The fort was so made that a sound at the entrance, Fateh Darwaza could be heard at this pavilion, a kilometer away. Yes, one kilometer. The outer fort, the boundary has a circumference of about 5 km, so magnificent this fort is.

To get to see this historic site and its carved pillars and domes, you can take a flight from Delhi or nearby cities.

The entry fee to Golconda Fort is 15 Rupees for Indian tourists and 200 Rupees for foreign tourists.

#5: Umaid Bhawan Palace – Rajasthan

The magnificent architectural wonder that is Umaid Bhawan Palace is divided into three sections: the royal residence, a luxury hotel, and a museum.
The magnificent architectural wonder that is Umaid Bhawan Palace is divided into three sections: the royal residence, a luxury hotel, and a museum.

Another of the top palaces in India, the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur is one of the largest private residences in the world. This palace is owned by the royal family. It is divided into three parts – the official residence, a luxury hotel, and a museum.

The museum showcases the life of the Jodhpur’s royal family, their belongings and a special section dedicated to the automobiles owned by the family.

For the museum section, expect to pay 25 Rupees if you're an Indian visitor and 50 Rupees if you're a foreign visitor. 

The palace built on the outskirts of Jodhpur (at the top of Chittar Hill) is one of the recent additions to Indian beauty. Yes, it was made in 1943 by Maharaja Umaid Singh and hasn’t seen much of history yet.

Read more: A Travel Guide to Umaid Bhawan Palace

The Jodphur airport is connected to the national capital and nearby cities as well, so you can get to see this palace without much logistic complications.

#6: Lake Palace – Rajasthan

Taj Lake Palace stands out in the middle of Lake Pichola.
Taj Lake Palace stands out in the middle of Lake Pichola.

Spread across four acres, the Lake Palace is now a famous heritage hotel. This place, counted among the best palaces in India, is situated in the heart of Lake Pichola. The white marble used in the construction helps it stand out in the middle of the lake. But it’s not just another palace; it’s heaven between waters – planned gardens, beautiful fountains and terraces would tempt anyone to spend a day here, at least.

The royal family of Mewar used to reside here in summers. It also goes by the name of Jag Niwas because of Maharana Jagat Singh II, who built it in the years 1743 to 1746. Udaipur has regular flights from the major cities, and also Delhi. But you may need permission at times, to visit this luxury palace hotel.

There are no entry fees to the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur. You can check out the museum tour that costs 75 Rupees per person or the Crystal Gallery that costs 500 Rupees per person.

#7: Jaisalmer Fort – Rajasthan

Jaisalmer Fort overlooking the Golden City.
Jaisalmer Fort overlooking the Golden City.

One of the oldest forts in India and among the largest in the world, this magnificent fort in Jaisalmer is also called Sonar Qila (Golden Fort). Why? The entire construction is made up of yellow sandstone, and standing tall on the Trikut Hill amidst the Thar Desert; the fort gets a golden color during the sunset.

It is one of the heritage sites of UNESCO and what’s unique about it is that for a major part of its life, this fort was the city of Jaisalmer. Rawal Jaisal built the fort sometime around 1150 and the first settlement outside the fort, forming the city of Jaisalmer, was only in the 17th century. And one-fourth of the old town still lives here, inside the fort.

To witness this golden beauty, the palaces, the temple and the architecture inside this spacious complex you can get off at Jodhpur airport. Then take a train or a sandy road trip of about 300 km to reach Jaisalmer.

The entrance fee for the Jaisalmer Fort is 50 Rupees for Indian visitors and 250 Rupees for foreign visitors.

#8: Laxmi Vilas Palace – Gujarat

The amazing Lukshmi Vilas Palace was built in 1890.
The amazing Lukshmi Vilas Palace was built in 1890.

One of the most spectacular of the palaces, this estate is built by the Gaekwads, a Maratha dynasty. The architecture of this residence of Vadodara’s royal family is a blend of Maratha, Hindu and Mughal style.

A series of palaces and a museum form its complex, and the lush green gardens and a golf course add to its beauty. And because of its magnificence, this place is also used as a venue for concerts and many cultural events.

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Vadodara (or Baroda) has a good network of flights, railways, and roads to reach there quickly. The entrance fee to the Laxmi Vilas Palace is 225 Rupees for all visitors.


This list is just an intro, and there are many more impressive architectures scattered all over India. Each of them has something unique to offer to the visitors. So, when are you taking up a historical tour of India?

Abhijeet Kumar a freelance content writer for aSabbatical.com
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.