EXTERIOR VIEW OF UMAID BHAWAN PALACE
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Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur. Amongst the bougainvillea and peacocks

A trip to Rajasthan is nothing if one does not sleep in the maharaja’s rooms, whatever the cost

An entrance with royal trumpets — visitors of the museum flock to the barriers thinking that the maharaja himself is about to appear. The Bhawan Palace is the largest residence in Rajasthan and among the largest in the world.

Building began at the start of the last century and took nearly twenty years to complete — employing all of the residents in the area, between 2000 and 3000 people. The first stone was placed in 1929 and the king went to live there in 1943. The architecture and aesthetics feature the Decò motifs of those years, quite common and admired in India by the ruling class.

Today, most of the structure houses this hotel, as well as a museum, while in the western wing, towards the park, is the residence of the Maharaja of Jodhpur. Its overall size is well beyond European and American standards — the vastness of its space may call to mind the central vault of a cathedral. Out in the garden a staircase leads to a grassy lawn — the pool is on the right, among bushes of bougainvillea and peacocks strolling about.

There is an indoor pool which, however, lacks the decadence of the last century without achieving the modern style that one expects of a hotel seeking to live up to the standards of a major international resort. The same is true of the rooms, which may have a more cohesive design but which suffer from poor lighting despite the many windows.

Dinner on the patio remains an unforgettable experience and a highlight of any trip. As with the other palaces such as the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur: a trip to Rajasthan is nothing if one does not sleep in the maharaja’s rooms, whatever the cost.


Circuit House Rd, Cantt Area

Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

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