The last of the great palaces of India

Vivienne Tang
Umaid Bhawan Palace

The last of the great palaces of India, the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur in Rajasthan is the definition of heritage luxury. Perched right atop Chittar Hill, the highest point in Jodhpur, the Umaid Bhawan Palace currently holds the record for the world’s sixth largest private residence.

Built between 1928 and 1943, Umaid Bhawan Palace is a magnificent piece of Rajasthan’s heritage, and a symbol of new Jodhpur. Home of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family and currently the world’s sixth-largest private residence, the palace has one thing in common with the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra - the palm court marble used in its construction.

The stunning edifice is part palace, part hotel and part museum. The museum is open to all. It houses some truly unique artefacts and specimens, most of which are quite priceless. The sandstone monument consists of two distinct wings, one of which is entirely dedicated as the residence to the descendants of the Rathore Dynasty. They pursue their indulgent, lavish and imperial lifestyle away from prying eyes. The second is of course the hotel.
Umaid Bhawan Palace


The Taj Group of Hotels and Resorts with their admirable reputation and justly acknowledged legacy in hospitality took over the hotel operations of the palace in January 2005. In subsequent years the hotel has seen thousands of visitors, all of which have marvelled at the stunning architecture and mystical grandeur unique to the Umaid Bhawan Palace.


This is undoubtedly one of the most unique experiences this property has on offer. A drink in the Trophy Bar surrounded by ancient achievements and wildlife trophies is distinctively arranged in a tastefully themed sports setting. Relishing a wide range of finger foods, alcohols and Cuban cigars is an exquisite privilege enjoyed by the few fortunate enough to experience the Trophy Bar.
Umaid Bhawan Palace


There are 64 guest rooms including the Maharaja and Maharani suites. The pool which is a part of the spa is simply put, mystically magnificent. The heated indoor pool is decorated with murals painted by Norbin. This pool used to be the royal sanctuary of the women of the royal family. There is also an outdoor swimming pool which is just as good.

The Jiva spa has its own treatment suites. The masterfully curated treatments and signature experiences, which contain a combination of yoga, massage and Ayurveda, are bound to strike a chord or two within you, whether you’re a wellness lover or not.


You can ask for absolutely anything…anything! Each guest is treated like a personal guest of the Great Maharaja himself and there are butlers all over the palace, ever so happy to help you not lift a finger.

The dining experience can be individually tailored to be really unique, ending up to be something right out of a fairy tale, everything from the ambience to the food.

The palace can very rightly be put in a league of its own. Apart from housing the descendants of the erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur, the guests are made to feel every bit as royal. The architecture and rich history of the place is such that which very few hotels can only dream to boast of.

The museum is very unique, it’s akin to a thoughtful gift bundled along with your stay. The palace houses it with its ever so deceiving simplicity, making it ever so extraordinarily glorious. It houses plenty of curiosity-piquing artefacts and displays.


The location is pretty isolated. The hotel is quite far from the centre, this means more travel time but you can always find cheap taxis right outside the hotel.

Anti-mosquito sprays and creams are recommended. Although not notorious, there’s enough mosquitos to hurt the ambience of your stay.

The internet is choppy at best, connectivity is definitely a problem due to the distance from the city and you’d probably be better off carrying a local data-enabled SIM.
Umaid Bhawan Palace


The palace is furnished with heritage furniture and has a very antique ambience to it. Dress accordingly to match the scene.


During the winter months, from early November through February. The other months are highly unsuitable for tourists and see quite intense weather to say the least.

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