Umaid Bhawan Palace, located at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, is one of the world’s largest private residences. Named after Maharaja Umaid Singh, grandfather of the present owner Gaj Singh of the palace, this edifice has 347 rooms and serves as the principal residence of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family. A section of the palace is managed by Taj Group of Hotels. There is also a part of the palace which houses a museum and open to public at large.
Umaid Bhawan Palace was called Chittar Palace during its construction due to use of stones drawn from the Chittar hill where it is located. Ground for the foundations of the building was broken on 18 November 1929 by Maharaja Umaid Singh and the construction work was completed in 1943. The Palace was built to provide employment to thousands of people during the time of famine.
The entire palace complex built with sandstone and marble is set in an area of 26 acres of land including 15 acres of well tended gardens.
The palace, magnificent in its lavish proportions, consists of a throne chamber, an exclusive private meeting hall, a Durbar Hall to meet the public, a vaulted banquet hall, private dining halls, a ball room, a library, an indoor swimming pool and spa, a billiards room, four tennis courts, two unique marble squash courts,and long passages.
The interior central dome sits above the sky blue inner dome. The inner vaulted dome is a major attraction in the palace which rises more than a hundred feet in the interior part and is capped by an outer dome. The entry to the palace has decorations of the Coat of arms of the Rathore Royal family. The entry leads to the lobby which has polished black granite flooring. The lounge area has pink sandstone and marble floors.
Maharaja Gaj Singh, known as “bapji”, stays in a part of the palace. The architecture of the palace is described as an amalgam of lndo-Saracenic, Classical Revival and Western Art Deco styles. It is also said the Maharaja and his architect Lanchester had considered the features of Buddhist and Hindu edifices such as the Temple Mountain-Palaces of Burma and Cambodia, and in particular the Angkor Wat in preparing the layout and design of the palace.
Perched at a height above the desert city of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan is not only a favourite destination for travellers but one of the hottest spots for a palace wedding among celebrities. Umaid Bhawan Palace on a hilltop, overlooking this magnificent city, is an ideal location for organizing a fabulous wedding. Tripadvisor has named Jodhpur’s Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace the top winner worldwide in their 2016 edition of the travel site’s Travelers’ Choice Awards. Based on millions of reviews collected in a single year from TripAdvisor users worldwide; Umaid Bhawan scored a five out of five bubble rating among its 840 guests to emerge the winner this year — a first for an Indian hotel.